Holiday Guide Web Extras - Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Wads of wrapping paper quickly trashed, lots of excess packaging in holiday gifts and lights blazing day and night — the holidays sure could stand to be a bit more environmentally friendly. We turned to Rebecca Reynolds, owner of Rocky River’s Planet Green, for some advice on how to have a more sustainable holiday this year.

Cards: Choose recycled-content or plantable holiday cards — available at Planet Green or online at botanicalpaperworks.com — which grow wildflowers when planted. Cut designs out of the cards you receive to reuse as gift tags.

Gifts: “I have a moratorium on buying anything new in my house,” says Reynolds. Instead, she suggests giving a family vacation or an art class or making a charitable donation or carbon-offset credit (available at terrapass.com) in the recipient’s name. If you do buy new, Reynolds recommends locally made gifts such as hand-crafted toys sold with minimal packaging.

Decorations: “We have tinsel for our tree that we take off and reuse each year,” says Reynolds. “It’s about getting away from things being throw-away.” The most sustainable tree option is a live, balled Christmas tree that you plant in your yard, combined with fresh garland — composted when the season’s over, of course — and minimal use of energy-hogging holiday lighting.
Food: Educate yourself about what’s locally grown and seasonal, says Reynolds, “then base your menu around that, versus trying to find exotic things that have been shipped over 12,000 miles.” After local farmers markets shut down for the season, she suggests finding local farmers who deliver at greencitybluelake. com.

Travel: Save on fuel consumption and costs by renting a hybrid vehicle for your trip to Grandma’s house. Reynolds suggests CityWheels at mycitywheels.com.
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