While a White Christmas in Metro Atlanta is an extraordinarily rare thing (it’s only occurred twice in the last 136 years!), a GREEN Christmas is entirely possible. Make the pledge to host planet-friendly festivities this season using any of these 10 tips that help take the “waste” out of the holidays – brought to you by your friends at Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful…
1) Make the Switch from Paper to E-Cards: Saving on both paper and postage, the switch to e-cards from traditional paper cards is becoming increasingly popular. However, if you’re a sucker for tradition, try to go with holiday cards printed on recycled paper. The company Paper Culture uses only post-consumer waste and wood alternatives to create their cards.
2) Hang Fewer Lights and Make Sure the Ones You Do Hang are LED: While a little friendly competition with the neighbors is always fun, for the sake of keeping energy usage to a minimum, cut down on the number of lights you use to decorate your home this holiday season. If you haven’t already made the switch to energy efficient LED bulb string lights, now is the perfect time. And instead of just plugging them in and forgetting about them, use a timer set for a number of hours or dusk to dawn so you don’t have to worry about unplugging them each night.
3) Use Natural Materials in your Holiday Home Décor: Feeling crafty? Bring the outdoors inside to enhance your holiday home décor. Beyond the classic REAL Christmas tree and wreath for your front door, you can add things like pine cones, red winterberries, magnolia leaves, dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks, evergreen branches and more for virtually cost-free, earth-friendly, nature-themed holiday home.
4) Don’t Forget to Bring One for the Chipper: Once again, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful will play host to our popular Bring One for the Chipper event on Saturday, January 26. In the weeks leading up to the big day when we “treecycle” countless live Christmas trees from all over the county, citizens are asked to drop off their live trees between December 26 and January 20 at fire stations throughout Gwinnett. For more details, a list of drop-off stations and volunteer registration, visit the Bring One for the Chipper Event Page.
5) Give Environmentally-focused Gifts: Anything that relates to conservation, energy efficiency or environmental stewardship is a great gift in our book! If you need ideas, Energy Star has an entire gift guide of energy efficient items. This awesome article from Earth 911 outlines some great gift ideas for the outdoor enthusiast, animal lover and more in your life: http://bit.ly/2SuezM3. You could also go with “vintage” gifts that are found at an antique store or thrift shop, or unique gifts made from recycled or repurposed items.
6) Use Wrapping Paper made from Recycled Paper: Got some gifts to wrap? Companies like Wrappily and Green Field Paper make wrapping paper from 100% recycled paper. You can also use things from around the house like the kraft paper from a brown paper grocery bag, butcher paper or newspaper to wrap gifts in a unique and earth-friendly way.
7) Buy Produce and Grass-Fed Meats from a Local Farm for your Holiday Feast: When planning your holiday feast, consider buying many ingredients from local farmers. Supporting farms in Gwinnett County is a wonderful way to promote sustainability, buy local and eat healthier. Stokes Family Farm in Lawrenceville sells grass-fed beef and pastured Berkshire pork, while Rancho Alegre sells farm-fresh eggs and raw milk, and pecans, chestnuts and honey at Dacula Briar Patch.
8) Donate Time or Money to an Eco-Centric Nonprofit like Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful: Sorry if this seems like a shameless plug, but – as a nonprofit – we thrive on the help of volunteers and donors. Between cleanup events, recycling events and annual events like our Bring One for the Chipper, we regularly have volunteer opportunities. We also truly appreciate monetary contributions to support our educational programs and environmental efforts.
9) Give Your Family/Co-Workers/Employees the Gift of Their Own Stretch of Road: Trying to think of an unusual but thoughtful gift to give your family or co-workers/employees? Our Adopt-A-Road Program is an opportunity for all of you to have a lasting impact on your community. If it’s available, select a stretch of road near your home or office that you all pass by every day. Once a quarter, you’ll schedule a cleanup day where you and your group will get out on your stretch of road and pick up litter – wearing safety vests we provide. As thanks, there will be two signs placed on your road, featuring your family’s name or the name of your company.
10) Give Experiential Gifts: Rather than give meaningless knick-knacks that will just take up space and run the risk of getting tossed into a landfill one day, give the gift of meaningful EXPERIENCES. They don’t require wrapping paper and the memories of the experiences you give/share can last a lifetime. With so many AWESOME attractions right here in Atlanta, you could give season passes to Stone Mountain, Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, Six Flags, High Museum and more. Cooking classes, dancing lessons and art classes are a few other great experiences. And let’s not forget the occasional trip to an exotic locale! Happy memories are one of THE BEST forms of recycling!