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Zero Waste: Holiday Lights

GreenMission Thanks for joining me for our second "Zero Waste Holidays" blog post. (Check out our inaugural post on holiday cards.) North Americans produce 25% more waste during the winter holidays, which equates to 25 million extra tons of garbage going to the landfill. The Whole Foods Market Green Mission Team has gathered our favorite tips to feature on this blog throughout the holidays to help us all reduce our load. 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 Lights Yes, we know that lights are festive, but you can find ways to save money and energy while turning on the twinkle.
  • Trade in your conventional strands of lights for energy efficient solar or LED lights - 90% more energy efficient and they last longer.
  • Don't risk falling asleep without turning out the lights - use an appliance timer to turn lights off at the end of the evening.
  • Place lights in strategic locations instead of all over everywhere. You can reduce by using just a few strands.
  • Turn your lights off just a little earlier than you did last year.
  • Recycle old strands of lights by removing and discarding old bulbs and recycling the strand as scrap metal.
  • Companies like HolidayLEDs.com will not only recycle your lights for you, they will also give you 15% off your order of anything on their website when you send them lights to recycle. I like their suggestion of coordinating with your friends and neighbors to collect old lights to send to them for recycling.
  • Check out Earth911.com to see if there is a holiday lights recycling facility near you.
Now, it's your turn. What are you doing to cut the energy cost on holiday lights this year?

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Raili says …

I just want to say that I have been reading your blog for a while now and I really enjoy it. I'm looking forward to more posts on "zero waste". One thing I am doing is not sending out holiday cards but opting for e-cards instead. I admit that the cards are nice to get but they end up in the trash immediately after christmas therefore qualifying as a huge waste.

sierra says …

The Cards are nice to get and there's a solution to the waste! Don't just throw them in the garbage, save them for next year. paste a piece of white, or colored, paper over the message from the previous year and resend! Reusing old calendars for card making also is waste free. To reduce waste over the holidays I use old calendars as wrapping paper. I try not to use any store bought wrapping paper but instead use old newspaper, fabric, or previous wrappings.

kenny maccarthy says …

I'll be sending emails too this year, rather than cards. I wonder why the whole lights and outside decorations started? Seems like just another way to sell us stuff.

screwdestiny says …

Wait, people get rid of their lights? Seems to me it'd be a little more eco-friendly to just use the same ones every year. I send e-cards, too, mostly because I'm to lazy to actually buy the cards, address them all, and send them out. Plus, that costs money. I do like getting cards to display, but it's not really that big of a deal.