12 Tips for 12/12/12 – Twelve Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Holiday

Make your holiday eco-friendly this year!

DNR is taking advantage of this once-in-a-century opportunity to bring you 12 Tips blogs for 12-12-12. We want to help you get prepared for the holidays and do it sustainably. Here are 12 tips for you to have an Eco-Friendly holiday:

1.       Shop responsibly
Remember to take re-usable shopping bags on your gift finding excursions, they’re not just for grocery stores. Single-use bags are a waste of trees (paper) or fossil fuels (plastic). They contribute to water pollution during production and landfill overload at disposal. Re-usable cloth or paper bags reduce these problems.

2.       Keep your pets safe and in a festive mood
Remember the year you had to rush the cats to the vet and vowed never to put tinsel on your tree again? Visit the Washington Department of Ecology to make sure you have a toxin-free holiday and view these special holiday safety tips for pets. Let’s keep everyone eco-friendly and healthy this holiday.

3.       Give a sustainable gift
It’s easy to go overboard during the holidays and give gifts with a ‘use once and throw it away’ sentiment. Instead of panicking and giving a gift that will end up in storage (or worse- the trash) make your gift thoughtful and of benefit to the environment. The California Ecology Center has some great tips.

4.       Consider alternatives to traditional presents
It really is the thought that counts with gift giving. Consider non-traditional gift ideas that are not only extremely thoughtful, but encourage the gift of time spent together with friends and family. For example, donations in the name of a friend of a gift certificate for your time (babysit or pet sit). Give the gift of classes or a special skill you have.

5.       Gift wrap
This is an opportunity for you to really get creative. Decorate old paper bags using glitter and paint with your kids, use the funnies from the newspaper, or recycle some old fabric you have to make unique, recycled gift wrap. You can also release wrinkles from saved paper with a warm iron. Find more great green gift wrapping ideas here.

6.       Have a natural, germ-free holiday
Use and give real soap as gifts this holiday season. Soap is safer than anti-bacterial products in the long run and germs can’t build up a resistance to it. Learn more about the benefits of real soap here.

7.       Give a monthly or yearly transit ticket
This is about as eco-friendly a gift the average city-dweller can get! The American Public Transportation Association reports the American national average savings of using public transportation Is almost $10,000 a year! That’s a pretty substantial gift!

8.       Lights
For some of us, the holidays just aren’t festive without the soft colorful twinkle of lights strung around the house, in every window, and all around the tree. Save yourself the electricity bill and save the environment some strife by switching to energy-efficient outdoor LED lights, which pull almost 90 percent less power and are several hundred times brighter than traditional lights.

9.       Build a rain garden
Give the gift of beautiful summer gardens that hold our winter rains in the ground instead of allowing them to carry garden chemicals down the street into the gutter and on to a stream, river, or bay. Put in the work for a friend or family member’s rain garden this holiday and they will be ready for planting flowers come spring!

10.   Keep that natural holiday smell
Learn how to keep your home smelling sweet naturally! Create a warm and festive atmosphere that won’t give your guests headaches or endanger the planet. Click here for some great natural air freshening tips.

11.   Redefine Boxing Day
The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day, because it was the day when the lords and ladies of the manor took boxes of food or gave money to their servants. You can start a new Boxing Day tradition by using this day to box up unwanted or duplicate items and donate them to one of the many charities that accept used items.

12.   Discover Pass!
Give the gift that encourages time outside and supports the agencies that protect and manage Washington’s natural resources. Give the Discover Pass. This tiny gift gives an entire year of vehicle access to DNR-managed state lands gives the opportunity to be enjoyed again and again all across the state.

 Have a fun and happy holiday from DNR!

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