Dreaming of a green Christmas? Here are environmentally friendly ways to celebrate

Homes are decorated with Christmas lights in the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood of Torrance in this file photo. Small changes can make such traditions more environmentally friendly. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Is it better for the environment to cut down a live Christmas tree or to buy an artificial one?

What about gift ideas that are high on joy but low on carbon? Can wrapping paper be recycled?

Each holiday season, some of the environmental progress made over the previous 11 months to reduce waste and carbon emissions gets wiped out during one month of excessive eating, increased traveling and swapping gifts packaged in plastic. Americans’ waste production jumps 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, for example, adding an extra 1 million tons of waste to landfills each week.

Fortunately, there are more options than ever to help you trim the waste and the carbon this holiday season without scrapping your traditions or turning into Scrooge. But the holidays can be stressful enough without feeling the need to stop and research the environmental consequences of each decision. So we did the research, gathering data and talking to Southern California experts to get their favorite tips for making this holiday season more sustainable.

The great tree debate

Aside from getting crafty and building a Christmas “tree” out of recycled materials, such as a stack of books, the most environmentally friendly option is to buy a live, potted Christmas tree and bring it inside to use year after year. This avoids growing, watering and cutting a new tree each year, and driving to pick it up. If the tree gets too big, you can plant it in your yard or give it someone with space to do so, where it will help keep the air clean.

Potted trees do tend to be more expensive. Plus, a living tree needs a year-round home. That’s where the newest option — to rent a live Christmas tree — comes in.

Companies typically charge a flat fee to deliver and set …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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