The best approach to all things is to reduce what you consume and give this season.
By The Rye Garden Club Conservation Committee
The best approach to all things is to reduce what you consume and give this season. Think about what you purchase. Is it necessary?
Plan your shopping to avoid making repeated trips back and forth to the same spots and wasting gas. Bring your reusable bags with you and decline the shop’s bags.
3: GO NATURAL
Natural Christmas trees, wreaths, and decorative greens are better than fake. Even if you use your artificial tree year after year, the resources required to produce and transport it are more harmful than the growth and transport of natural trees. Also, studies show many artificial trees are made of toxic materials.
4: LIGHT LIGHTLY
Yes, it is the season of light, but all those blow-up decorations and lights use energy and fossil fuels. Try to go easy on the lights and you will give yourself the gift of a more manageable energy bill in January. When you do buy lights, get LED Christmas lights that last much longer than traditional lights and use less power.
5: WRAP WISELY
Many gifts wrap themselves. A new shirt can be rolled and tied with a ribbon. Or wrap gifts in color comics, maps, kids’ artwork, magazine pages, fabric remnants, and scarves. If you love wrapping paper, buy rolls made of recycled paper and reuse gift bags and wrapping you receive.
6: GIVE GIFTS THAT GIVE TO THE PLANET
Many non-profit organizations can help you give gifts to others that will help the planet. A few to look into are rainforest-alliance.org — for symbolic adoption of a portion of a rain forest, and nwf.org or awf.org — for symbolic adoption of an endangered animal.
7: GIVE EXPERIENCES
Giving an experience requires minimal wrapping, makes the holidays last longer, and educes the amount of stuff one has to deal with after Christmas. Give tickets, a gift certificate to a class or experience, or make a coupon for a special experience together.
8: GIVE SUSTAINABLE
Try to avoid the battery-powered gadget made in China. Give gifts manufactured sustainably whenever possible. Inquire about the origin of products. Many local shops carry items made sustainably and there are numerous online sources such as thedailygreen.com and uncommongoods.com.
9: EAT SUSTAINABLE
Buy local and buy organic for your holiday feasts. Know the origin and farming practices of your food. There is a reason why squash and potatoes are traditionally a part of holiday fare: they are harvested this time of year and are at their freshest. Choose such foods as these, rather than those out of season and imported from faraway places.
10: SHOP LOCAL
Support local business, save on gas, and reduce air pollution by shopping locally. You will also be supporting fair trade, independent artisans, and cottage industry by shopping at many of Rye’s local shops and fairs.
Pass on the items that you receive newer versions of this Christmas. Your old iPhone can be recycled or given to a delighted nephew. Decorative items and toys can be donated to the local thrift shop. Donationtown.org, PickUpPlease.org, and PurpleHeartPickup.org will come to your door and pick up books, toys, clothes, furniture, and household appliances for charitable causes.
At the end of it all, make sure you recycle as much as you can! Put your tree and garlands out for curbside pick-up and composting. Reuse boxes and wrapping and recycle the rest. The UPS store on Purchase Street will accept those messy packing peanuts.
It’s Christmas after all.