Tis the season for sharing special time with family and friends—the indulgent and festive holiday parties, the gift-giving shopping frenzy and the sweet school plays and musicals. It’s also a time to reflect on decisions you’ve made throughout 2014—both business and personal—and regroup as you look ahead toward another great year. But more often times than not there is more rushing than relaxing, and with so much on your plate it can be hard maintaining that level of dedication to the environment. Let’s close the year on a good note and think green, together, throughout the holiday season.
When it comes to wrapping those white elephant gifts at work, consider natural, renewable materials over the glossy and metallic gift-wrap. Cotton, hemp, silk and wood are all excellent options that add character and a personal touch. Sift through your Sunday paper and find stories that resonate with each recipient: comics for the office personality, a sports story for the sports enthusiast. Grab pages from old, worn-out or damaged books for the writer in your group and various advertisements from an old magazine for the marketer. You can even take it one step further by adding some vibrancy and depth to packages with patterns and colors from old magazines. Old greeting cards also work exceptionally well for gift tags. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
According to one U.S. Department of Energy study, if everyone replaced their conventional holiday light strings with LEDs, at least two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity could be saved in a month. So it goes without saying: at home and in the office, make it a point to use LED holiday lights. They’re more energy-efficient and will save you money on your electricity bill.
Having a holiday party can be stressful in itself, and you want your guests to be as comfortable as possible. And while temperatures may dip down this holiday season, there are still ways to be conscious of your carbon footprint. Lower your energy consumption by lowering the heat a few degrees at night, and forego plans to up the thermostat during holiday get-togethers. More people in the area means more body warmth! Serve food in large containers and, if you can, provide bulk water, coffee and drink dispensers instead of individually packaged products.
When the holiday seasons is over, Marketing and Operations manager Aimee Chellew suggests composting your pine garlands, dried up wreaths and other flower arrangements. “You can compost anything that has lived or grown recently, and it has a huge positive impact on the environment. Tis the season for giving, after all!”
What steps has your office taken to green the holiday season? We’d love to hear!