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3 Holiday Habits to Quit This Year
Posted 2011-11-04 by BLUEiQ Team

"Money is no object." This is the mindset many holiday shoppers take to show the ones they love that making them happy is all that matters. That's the irony of the holiday season. It's the season of giving-a time when we want to show our warmth, our generosity, our consideration for others-but in many ways, without realizing it, we display the opposite to the environment. There are a few habits you can quit this year so that your holiday cheer isn't mixed up with feelings of guilt as you watch your growing carbon footprint follow you through shopping malls.

Green Your Decorations
Everyone loves the one house on the block that goes all out during the holidays with dancing reindeer, a talking blow up snow man and a complete light show on the front lawn worthy of being on display at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. But there's a reason that sometimes all of the power goes out on the street hosting this festive house.

BLUEiQ Blog - White House holiday tree, Blue Room 2009
You may have heard of and even implemented lights with LEDs into your home. LED lights first came on the market in 2001 and today you see their soft glow in dens, kitchens, bathrooms, even yard lights regularly. As opposed to traditional lights that use incandescent filaments, lights with LEDs get their power from semiconducting material-the same as calculators and watches-and are 90% more efficient than ordinary lights.

One Department of Energy Study found that if every home decorating for the Holidays replaced their ordinary string of lights with LEDs, a minimum of two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity would be saved per month. That's enough energy to give power to 200,000 homes for an entire year. LEDs can last up to 200,000 hours and an added bonus-they release very little heat so you won't burn your fingers adjusting your holiday lights!

Make something old, new again
Consumers spent $36.4 billion on the 2010 holiday season. Good for the economy? Sure. Good for the environment? No way. And what is bad for the environment will eventually be bad for the economy as we're spending more and more money on solving our ecological crisis.

What's more, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textile per person, per year, representing 4% of the municipal solid waste, only so we may clear room in our closets for more clothes.

Meanwhile cotton crop accounts for one quarter of all pesticide use in the United States. And we're not even getting those clothes locally. US citizens buy 1 billion garments made in China each year, that's an average of 4 items per person. The U.S. National Labor Committee reports that Chinese workers can make as little as 12 cents per hour as increasing global competition calls for even lower production costs.

Buying used clothes doesn't have to mean buying worn out and out of fashion clothes. Many thrift stores and consignment stores are highly selective about the items they take in. Some take in exclusively designer and brand name items, dry cleaning each item before putting it out on the racks. Shopping at a thrift store comes with the added bonus that most if not all of your money will go directly to a charity. For antique-lovers, thrift and consignment store aren't just second tier, last resort stops. They are vintage jackpots for gorgeous pieces of furniture, old records, even renowned pieces of art.

Rethink your tree
BLUEiQ Blog - White House holiday tree, Blue Room 2009

Even in the homes of religions in which a tree isn't traditional, you'll still find this festive holiday staple.

Most of these trees only grace our homes for one month, but take 7 to 10 years to grow. You may be using recycled paper and bringing your own bags to the grocery store, but you're undoing all that hard work if you're getting a Christmas tree that's been stripped from a wild forest, only to dump it a few weeks later in a landfill.

An eco-conscious choice would be to use a live potted tree that can be re-used and re-planted over the years. If you must buy one, buy from a seasonal tree lot. These trees are grown on farms rather than taken down from wild forests. No matter what you do, don't dump your tree! There are so many uses for a ground up tree such as mulch for a garden or on trails and erosion barriers on beaches.


tags: holiday habits; eco conscious holiday


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