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Tips for Greener Holidays: Cards

The holidays are a time of joy and celebration, of getting together with family and friends and sharing the gifts of the season. The holidays are also a time when North Americans produce 25% more waste than any other time of the year, which equates to 25 million extra tons of garbage going to the landfill. Ho! Ho! Holy crap! This season, we’re sharing a few favorite tips from the Whole Foods Market Green Mission Team to help us all reduce our holiday waste. (Check out our posts on greening your Christmas trees and lights.) We know our customers are some of the greenest folks around, so please share your tips with us too. Hopefully we’ll help each other discover new and creative ways to live lighter on the planet this holiday season. Holiday Cards Did you know that over 2 ½ billion (BILLION!) holiday cards are sold annually in the U.S.? That’s enough to fill a 10-story building with a footprint the size of a football field. And what happens to most of those cards? Yep, you guessed it, into the landfill. Some ideas on what to do instead:
  • Send e-cards or e-mails instead of paper cards. If you feel this makes you look cheap, lazy or (gasp) uncreative -- add a line about your efforts to curb waste this holiday season. Who can argue with that?
  • If you do send paper cards, make sure they’re printed on post-consumer recycled paper and choose non-metallic cards so they can be recycled (cards embossed with foil and envelopes with a foil insert are not recyclable).
  • Make your own greeting cards from your household paper items normally slated for the recycling bin – bring back the art of collage!
  • Reuse the greeting cards you receive as gift tags. You’re probably not planning to re-read every single card you receive this holiday. Grab some scissors and get crafty.
  • Remove the fronts of your cards and send to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children Recycled Card program.
How do you “green up” your holiday greeting cards? Let us know!

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Dani says …

How about sending an email to reconnect with friends and/or family that you may not have talked with in some time. Another idea is to pick up the phone and just talk to let them know you are thinking of that particular person or family. I used to send cards and I decided to not contribute to purchasing cards new or recycled. Another idea is to send a coupon or make a purchase online and forward the redeemable purchase to the intended sender via email. A friend just did this for me and when I arrived at the retail store, the store owner looked up my coupon on her computer and I did not have to print anything and use a valuable resource - paper! Dani

Lyndsey Young says …

A green and unique alternative to shop bought Christmas cards is to find old (not precious) photographs of friends and family, then 'customise' them with santa hats, reindeer noses, angel wings etc and then write a festive message on the back. Not only are you sending your friends and loved-ones a creative eco-card, they're a wonderfully nostalgic reminder of happy times you've spent together in times gone past.

Nicole says …

We reduce holiday waste by forgoing the energy-using holiday decorations. We live in the city and step out our door to enjoy the holiday cheer spread across the town.

Grace says …

I make my own . . with plantable paper that is embedded with wildflower seeds. The entire card can be planted in the spring to grow a wildflower garden. (the envelopes can be mulched for a top dressing!)

Alexandra says …

Perhaps we should purchase holiday cards made in the USA, from environmentally responsible material such as post-consumer recycled paper. www.dolphinblue.com recently began offering seed paper holiday cards, which are very eco-friendly incomparison to their virgin counterparts.

Marisa says …

I love this! So great of you to point this out and to help us get green. I'm big on being environmentally friendly and I appreciate the tips. (I like the intro too, quite funny.)

Anna Petrocco says …

Looking for a new and eco-friendly alternative to holiday cards this year? Send TisBest charity gift cards to friends and family to share the season of giving. All gift cards are made with 100% recycled plastic and can be customized with your own personal image. Upload a photo from a recent trip or a photo with Santa, choose the denomination and hit send! A cool, new, eco-friendly alternative to holiday cards. To order cards or find more info, go to www.tisbest.org.

Monet says …

I cut off the front of Christmas cards I like and then hang them around the house as decorations or place them on the tree to decorate the tree. The festive pictures add a nice touch to the house and the tree! They are easy to do and free!!

Solid State Drives says …

*This really answered my problem, thank you!

Phil says …

I reaaaaallly don't like the idea of sending an email card to your loved one and saying your being green! I recommend just making your own card using recyclable paper. Use several different colors of paper to jazz it up. The idea of taking old photos and then decorating then with little hats for example is brilliant!