The holiday season is upon us, and Thanksgiving is less than a week away. While some of your friends might be gearing up for a Turkey Trot or flying to the Caribbean for a 4-day getaway, you might just be hosting a good old-fashioned family gathering. Here are some tips for making your Thanksgiving Day a little more environmentally responsible.
DECORATIONS: If you want to festoon your hallways with knickknacks, use the beauty of nature itself to do the work for you. Step outside and gather acorns, leaves and stones to use as table setters, and avoid buying plastic decorations that you don’t need. This also extends to things like cups and plates; there’s a certain joy in knowing that you’ve used the same cutlery over the years on Thanksgiving, and you won’t be creating a landfill in the process. Recycle. Reuse. Recycle. Reuse. That’s something we can all be thankful for.
TRAVEL: Thanksgiving, for all its non-denominational glory, is the busiest time of the year for traveling. People are taking trains, buses, cars, and maybe even unicycles all across the country to make it to the gathering on time. Make sure that if you are going to a different location for the holiday, be efficient on the roads. Carpool if you can, and minimize carbon emissions by driving at a steady pace and not constantly stopping and starting.
FOOD: What are you cooking this year? We know the turkey is in the picture, but what are your sides? Carrots, mashed potatoes, or caramelized brussel sprouts? Doesn’t matter – it’s all delicious. Try and buy organic, local foods: nearby farmers and markets will benefit and buying organic reduces the amount of toxic chemicals released into our environment.
Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and reflecting. Take time to give back to Mother Nature and reflect on how you can help her stay strong.
(Feel free to check out TODAY’s Thanksgiving coverage for recipes, stories and more here)
Halloween can often be the spookiest time of the year, what with folks dressed as goblins, ghouls, and zombies running around town all night long. But while parting with sumptuous candy might seem like a scary thought, being green on Halloween shouldn’t be. Here are some hard and fast tips for staying green this year before the full moon rises on October 31st…
- Reuse and recycle candy bags or buckets – If you choose to spend your night going door-to-door hunting for snacks instead of giving them out, make sure to use something you can find around the house. A paint bucket, a baseball cap, a pillow case… these are just a few examples of things you can collect candy in.
- Transportation – Go door-to-door with your friends and family by foot or by bicycle. Take the night off from driving around. It’s more fun to walk around on Halloween anyway.
- Prohibit plastic at parties – If you are throwing a costume party –you can use biodegradable dishes , glasses and cutlery. Have your guests write their name on their cups with a Sharpie, so they can keep track of which glass is theirs rather than using multiple at the party. Make your own decorations – don’t rush out to your local drugstore when you can festoon your home with eerie adornments all on your own. Goblins, witches, skeletons… all of these things can be created in your own personal arts and crafts work space. Imagination is cheap!
- Buy the local orange produce – Support local farmers and businesses and grab your future jack-o’-lantern from them. Maybe next year, you can grow one in your own garden if you’re really feeling green.
- Go full pumpkin – If you carve a pumpkin, use the insides for food! Don’t let it go to waste. You can find a whole host of ideas and recipes here.
- Create your own costume – Sure, you could go out and buy that Jackie Moon costume for 70 bucks. Probably wouldn’t be that hard to find a Michael Jackson “Thriller” jacket online. Heck, there are so many Harley Quinn costumes at Halloween pop-up they’re practically unavoidable. But why not be environmental and create your own mummy costume with toilet paper and some gauze? With some patience and creativity, mix and match items in your wardrobe until you get that Ace Ventura or Pepper Potts look you’ve always wanted. Characters live in your closet, and you can bring them to life without spending a single penny!
Green is Universal is proud to offer our community an outlet to find products to support more sustainable lifestyle choices at shop.greenisuniversal.com.
Here at Green is Universal, we believe that small changes can make a big difference – not just for yourself, but for the planet. One of the changes we can make is in the products that we choose for our homes, our families and ourselves.
We’ve designed the Green is Universal Shop to aggregate a wide range of products from brands and vendors on the web that support more sustainable and healthier lifestyle choices. You can choose from a wide variety of products in the follow categories:
– organic home decor & accessories
– eco exercise equipment
– recycled products
– organic beverages
– organic beauty products
– eco home cleaning products
– organic clothing
Go here to browse our categories and shop the diverse range of products. When you are ready to choose, you will be taken out of the Green is Universal Shop to make your purchase.
So what are you waiting for? Eco gift giving is a snap! And were you lucky enough to receive a gift card or money for the holidays? There isn’t a better way to spend it than on a sustainable gift!
Green Is Universal does not directly endorse any of the products listed on this website and is not responsible for the products’ quality or the business practices of the online stores.
Our friends at Sprig created these awesome Holiday eCards so you can send your Holiday wishes in true green style.
Whose eyes don’t light up at the sight of a stuffed stocking on Christmas morning? So this year, why not power that delight with green, eco-friendly gifts that are sure to bring smiles of glee. There are many small green items from small eco-business that need our support this holiday season. I’ll play Santa and suggest my Green stocking stuffer list for all ages:
Pharmacopia: Lavender Hand Cream (all natural and organic) with yummy shea butter. The 1.7 oz size fits perfectly in your purse, desk, backpack or car so you can re-apply throughout the day.
To-Go Ware: Organic Bamboo Utensil Set, a fork, knife, spoon and chop sticks wrapped in a holder that ties closed, travels easily, and is a genius way to avoid using plastic utensils when eating on the run.
Ecolips: Tis the season to protect your pucker…Ecolips provides a wide variety of certified organic lip balm. Try their new Pure & Simple line, a 99% organic lip balm that is completely edible in Grape, Coconut and Kiwi-Strawberry. Plus cool accessories such as an Eco Clip (a carabiner clip), an Eco Leash (a neoprene balm holder), an Eco Key Ring (a rubber overcap with key ring) and an Eco Lanyard (a lip balm necklace).
Green is Universal is proud to announce that this year’s broadcast of the Christmas in Rockefeller Center special will include a tree planting promotion in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant up to 1 million trees.
Throughout the month of December, viewers can text the word “TREE” to 46833. For every text message we receive, the Arbor Day Foundation, through the help of their sponsors, will plant a tree in our nation’s depleted forests – up to 1 million trees.
Don’t have a cell phone? Don’t want to text? No problem! Simply go to arborday.org/nbc to send an e-card to your friends. Every e-card sent will add to our total. Help us reach our 1 million tree goal and spread the message!
To learn more about the energy saving practices Tishman Speyer has put into place to “green” the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, read this blog.
As discussed in “Buycotting the Holidays“, this holiday you have the choice to support economically-challenged green small businesses as you prepare for the holidays. With predictions of a poor retail season, small companies who have devoted themselves to being
environmentally friendly are at great risk. Show them your green and buy your holiday
preparations here this season:
1. Solar Powered Light Emitting Diodes (LED) Holiday String Lights: Light your home this year with self-sustained, energy-conserving, environmentally-friendly Ecolites from Eco Geek Living, Inc.. The lights recharge during the daylight hours and automatically turn on at night while using as little as 1/50th the amount of energy traditional light bulbs.
span class=”mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-image” style=”display: inline;”>As a savvy auntie, I feel especially qualified to cover this topic. Never a mom but nine times an aunt and even more times a FONM (friend of a New Mom), I’ve shopped for babies, kids and teens more often than I can remember. I know how hard it is to find just the right thing – not too scratchy, not too babyish, “in-the-know” and trendy but not trying too hard…So I’ve decided that this holiday season, the right thing is the green thing. Bringing kids up to be eco-friendly is a gift they will appreciate forever as you introduce them to the more natural, more sustainable things in life. Here are a few great green gifts to start them on a greener path (all from small eco-companies who need our green during this tough retail season).
Babies and Kids personal care kits:
California Baby: Green moms love these safe, non-toxic, personal care baby soaps, creams, lotions and bubble baths. Baby gift sets can be completely customized and come with a non-toxic bath toy and product samples.
Burt’s Bees kits: Try the Baby Bee Getting Started Kit…all SLS and paraban-free creams and lotions made with soothing buttermilk and coconut oils.
By Debbie Levin
Did you know that Americans increase their garbage by 25% from
Thanksgiving to New Years? That’s a lot of garbage — more than 25
million tons of extra waste, according to the EPA. But the good news
is that there are some simple things we can all do to limit our impact
and reduce our overall consumption.
Here’s what you need to know to go greener this holiday season:
- Use Recycled Wrapping Paper – Wrapping paper and
shopping bags account for 4 million tons of trash annually in the U.S.
Most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable because it’s made out of materials
that are dyed and laminated, contains non-paper additives such as gold
and silver coloring, and usually is taped. You can get recycled
wrapping paper from companies such as Fish Lips and Earth Love’n Paper. Or get creative — make fabric gift bags, or visit eartheasy.com for other alternatives.
- Recycle Your Tree – Over 33 million Christmas
trees are purchased in North America every year and most of those end
up in a landfill or rotting somewhere. Find out where to recycle your
tree by visiting earth911.com. In the top right of the page, enter your location; the site will give you local recycling facilities.
- Buy Recyclable Christmas Cards – There are 2.65
billion holiday cards sold each year in the U.S. If they are shiny, or
contain glitter or other materials, they aren’t recyclable. So buy and
send cards that are made from recycled materials. And, after the
holiday, recycle the non-shiny cards you received. Another option:
Send out e-cards rather than real ones.
Ever wonder what to do with all those beautiful cards you received in holiday seasons past?
If you’re anything like me, you save them with the highest hopes of making something, like a beautiful decoupage box that you can give to an unsuspecting friend whose card is the center piece for your design. But in reality, they stay in a box that gathers dust until the next holiday season where you plop some more cards on the pile!
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children is here to help. Their Recycled Card Program accepts all occasion cards for a limited time through out the year.
The children participate in making the new cards by removing the fronts and attaching new backs. The result is a beautiful new card made by the children and volunteers that St. Jude can then in their online shop. And for a limited time, as a special thank you to their customers, all recycled card orders will be shipped free.
For more info, go to http://www.stjudesranch.org/help_card.php.