So many people are looking for new ways to cut their carbon footprints and live more sustainably. As a company dedicated to having a low environmental impact, we thought it might be fun to ‘think outside the recycling bin’ and brainstorm some alternatives for greening up the post-holiday cleanup. Here are just a few to inspire your own creative thinking:
Holiday tree disposal. Most municipalities offer recycling programs for real holiday trees. As an alternative, consider repurposing your tree, providing winter nourishment and protection for plants and shrubs around your yard and winter ground cover for birds and small animals vulnerable to predators.
Greeting cards. If you’re not sentimental and likely to toss all those holiday cards, check out ways you might repurpose into holiday decorations, gift tags, ornaments, and other uses for next year. If crafts aren’t your thing, perhaps there is a preschool, church, or nursing home nearby that might appreciate the supplies.
Gift packaging and wrapping. With a little care, a good portion of gift boxes, bags, bows, ribbons, and packing materials can be stored and reused year after year. If you ship packages during the year, consider cushioning and protecting your items with crumpled or shredded used wrapping paper.
Food. Got lots of holiday leftovers you’d rather not eat all by yourself? Instead of contributing to the food waste stream, consider donating leftovers to your local police or fire department. Or, perhaps there’s an elderly couple, widow, or widower living nearby who might appreciate a visit along with some complete, home-cooked meals and desserts. Offer in reusable containers that you’ll need to retrieve, creating another opportunity to visit later. If it’s necessary to toss leftovers, consider composting what you can to naturally enrich your vegetable garden next spring, and keep notes on how much food you actually needed to prepare, so you won’t overdo it again next year.
Cleaning. If you want to become a greener cleaner, take a few minutes to separate myths from facts about green cleaning. True green cleaning is all about balancing effectiveness with efficiency. For example, use least possible amounts of effective cleaners, choose concentrates that use minimal packaging, or simply choose a home-cleaning company—such as Maidpro—that already does all these things. Bonus: When you no longer need to worry about green-cleaning your home, you gain time for other activities that can have a serious impact on your family’s overall carbon footprint.