Released November 20, 2009
LOGAN, Utah – We seldom hear of holidays and conservation in the same breath, but as energy costs rise, it is more important than ever to cut where we can. Even small changes can have significant results. Consider these tips for conserving during the holidays.
Conserve resources, both financial and environmental, by reusing.
- Turn old holiday gift wrap into gift cards or colorful paper chains.
- Make creative gift wrap. Use old calendars, wallpaper, magazines, catalogs or newspapers. Use brown paper grocery bags to mail packages.
- Make the wrapping functional. Use a dishtowel, napkin or place mat or select a reusable bag or tote as part of the gift.
- Make gifts from items you already have. Make scrapbook pages from recycled paper, camp quilts from old jeans or a crocheted tote from plastic grocery bags.
- Buy recycled gift wrap, reuse gift bags and recycle paper and cardboard packaging. Plastic packing peanuts can be recycled through the Plastic Loosefill Council’s Peanut Hotline at 1-800-828-2214.
- Reuse packing shred or make your own. Run used gift wrap through a paper shredder to produce colorful, inexpensive filler for gifts.
Donate to charity. A receipt for tax deductions can help you as you help someone else.
- For the family member who has everything, donate to a favorite charity, adopt an angel in their name or contribute to preserve an endangered species.
- Consider buying a farm animal, seeds or water for people in developing nations.
Make careful lighting decisions. Holiday lighting can increase energy use significantly.
- Strings of 25 large outdoor bulbs can cost two to three times as much in electricity as 100 miniature lights.
- When replacing indoor and outdoor lighting, select energy-efficiency lights. New LED string lights use only a fraction of the energy required by standard mini-lights. Though more expensive, they last up to 100,000 hours or 20 years. These lights produce very little heat and eliminate much of the fire hazard of other holiday lights. However, it is important to plug lights in before leaving the store. Many LED lights are not as bright as traditional holiday lights. A compromise might be to buy minis instead of C-7 or C-9 lights.
- Place holiday lights on a timer and limit lights to six hours per day.
- Do not leave holiday lights up all year. The summer months cause wires to break down, increasing replacement costs and the possibility of fire.
Stay in harmony with nature.
- Consider a living tree that can be used for the holidays, then planted outdoors when weather permits.
- Support local tree recycling programs to provide compost or mulch for future trees.
- Trim with nature. The time spent stringing popcorn, cranberries or other items from nature can provide wonderful memories.
- Decorate an outside tree for birds and animals. Pinecones covered with peanut butter and bird seed, carrot peels and bread crust help the animals and also teach children about nature.
- When the usefulness of an artificial tree has expired, make sure to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly manner.
- Supporting local crafts people keeps money within the community and supports small businesses. Shopping locally also helps conserve gas, auto emissions and time. Plan shopping trips to include as many errands as possible. Car pool or use mass transportation when available.
- Start by simplifying your life. Remember what the holidays are really about. Re-check your gift and holiday card lists and see if there are things that can be eliminated.
- Return gifts that are the wrong size, color or style. Many closets are filled with items that are never worn.
- Have a re-gifting party. Friends or family can bring gifts they have never used and trade them for something they like or that would work for someone on their gift list.
- When buying appliances or electronic gifts, buy those that are Energy Star rated for the most efficiency. Energy Star-rated appliances can cut bills by 30 percent.
- Consider sending e-cards or email the family holiday letter.
- Give yourself a holiday gift. Staying within your holiday budget will make the New Year bright.
Contact: Julene Reese, 435-797-0810, email@example.com