Weatherford Democrat

December 11, 2007

Go green for the holidays

Helen Malani, Syndicated Columnist


If you’re among those dreaming of a white Christmas, you should consider going “green” instead. Greennest.com has all kinds of ideas that put our planet at the top of everyone’s gift list this year.

Lisa Beres is co-founder of the site, which is dedicated to greener living.

“Being green really means focusing on three things: resource conservation, energy efficiency and the health of your home,” she said, “so you want to factor in all of those things to really make sure you’re creating a green experience for yourself.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produce 25 percent more waste during the holiday season than at any other time of year. If that number doesn’t astonish you, think about all the extra waste created by greeting cards, wrapping paper, bows, home decorations, ornaments, boxes, shipping materials — even the disposable dishware we use for parties. So as you dutifully transform your home for this holiday season, consider some of these earth-friendly alternatives.



Tree time

Competing schools of thought will have you wondering whether sparing the life of a real tree in favor of a fake is actually a “greener” move. Most fake trees teem with polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which offgasses into your home, polluting your indoor air. The greenest advice is to go with a live tree that you can replant into the earth.



E-cards

Instead of snail-mailing traditional holiday cards that eventually end up in recipients’ trash, consider going electronic. With so many greeting-card sites available free of charge, you’re not only going to save paper and money, but you can also upload pictures, video and music.



Light it up

Nothing provides instant ambience like a room full of fragrant candles, but synthetic scents can be big air polluters. Pass on the paraffin and look instead for soy- or vegetable-based candles. And there’s no need to sacrifice a great smell: Those made with essential oils, like peppermint, smell terrific and are far better for your sniffer than those made from chemicals.



It’s a wrap

It’ll be pretty tough to justify old-school wrapping and bows with all the recycled and natural alternatives available today. A quick Google search for “recycled wrapping paper” turns up an abundance of results. And decorating gifts is even easier with some out-of-the-box thinking. Pine cones, flowers and cinnamon sticks make beautiful accents with zero environmental impact.

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Helen Malani is the chief shopping expert for Shop zilla.com, an E.W. Scripps Co. Got something to say about shopping? E-mail askhelen@ shopzilla.com.