In The Loop

Welcome to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority's Blog

Decorating Green for the Holidays

December 15, 2016 ·

Did you know, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, Americans throw away one million extra tons of garbage each week?

Many celebrate the holidays as a season of giving, and one of the most important gifts we can give is to make choices that help ensure a sustainable future for our community and environment. “Going Green” is easier than you think, and small changes can make a big difference.

Here are a few eco-friendly decorating tips to get you in the spirit of “going green” this holiday season:

Lighting.
A favorite holiday activity is the tour of beautiful lights adorning homes and businesses in our community. While lovely to look at, holiday lighting can increase energy consumption.

When decorating with lights, consider more efficient LED bulbs. Though more costly up front, they last longer and use less electricity. Over a 30-day period, lighting 500 traditional holiday lights will cost about $18, while the same number of LED lights costs only $0.19. As an added bonus, if one of the LED lights burns out the rest of the strand will stay lit.

Christmas Trees: Live or Fake?
For some, the Christmas tree is a focal point of holiday decorations. Artificial trees are a first choice for many because they can be displayed for several years, and seemingly reduce the number of trees being cut down.

Surprisingly though, live Christmas trees may actually be the most sustainable choice. Most are grown on tree farms where, in many cases, represent the only crop the soil can support. They also provide shelter for native animal and bird species.

Many artificial trees, however, are made with petroleum-based plastics and have a much larger carbon footprint than live trees. This is largely due to their manufacturing origin, which is often international countries like China.

Buying a live tree from a local tree farm or stand, also supports local businesses, and in turn, the community.

TIP: If you’re planning to go with a live tree, remember to recycle it when the season ends. You can mulch the tree or process it into firewood. Penn Waste will collect live trees from Lancaster Township residents January 9-12. For more information about tree recycling in Lancaster County click here.

Decorating “Green”.
While bright shiny tinsel and plastic snowflakes look very nice around the house, they contribute to a significant amount of annual holiday waste. Using organic material for holiday decorations is a great way to decorate in a sustainable manner. Many stores sell live wreaths, holiday arrangements or ornaments. Don’t forget! Organic decorations can be composted. Check out these tips for composting.

Looking for a holiday activity you can do with friends and family? Make your own decorations! Here are some fun green DIY holiday decoration ideas.

Tags: Green Tips · Waste Matters

0 responses