Enjoy an eco-friendly holiday season

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TEMECULA – The color green is synonymous with the holiday season, as Christmas trees, mistletoe and holiday wreaths feature prominently throughout the month of December. But there are ways to make this holiday season even greener.

Going green around the house can save homeowners substantial amounts of money and benefit the planet in various ways. Yet come the holiday season, many people unintentionally eschew eco-friendly practices in an effort to make their homes as festive as possible. Fortunately, there are several ways to enjoy an eco-friendly holiday season.

Choose LED holiday lights. Holiday lighting displays help make the season even more special. But traditional incandescent holiday lights consume considerable amounts of energy and burn out much more quickly than more eco-friendly alternatives. According to Energy.gov, LED holiday lights consume less energy than incandescent holiday lights, and they’re also safer because LED lights burn cool, reducing the risk of combustion. In addition, LED lights are more resistant to breaking than incandescent bulbs, which should please homeowners who want to avoid broken or burned out bulbs that can ruin holiday lighting displays.

Get creative with wrapping paper. The United States Environmental Protection Agency notes that household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That increase translates to about 1 million extra tons of waste in the roughly five-week holiday season. Much of that waste is wrapping paper. Instead of purchasing holiday wrapping paper that will ultimately end up in landfills, consider wrapping gifts in reusable gift bags or in old newspapers that might be lying around the house. If you must use wrapping paper, choose recycled paper. In addition, save bows, ribbons and undamaged wrapping paper to use again next season.

Turn down the thermostat. Holiday music fans know that the weather outside can be frightful during the holiday season. But holiday hosts inviting friends and family over this year can turn down the thermostat to save energy and make conditions inside the home more comfortable. Extra bodies inside the house will warm the place up, allowing homeowners to turn down the thermostat during parties. If you’re traveling for the season, program the thermostat so it’s not heating an empty home.

Send e-cards. Holiday cards are a tradition in many families. But paper cards contribute heavily to those extra million tons of holiday-related waste noted by the EPA. In lieu of paper cards, send e-cards. E-cards can be emailed to friends and family, saving the cost of postage and the fuel required to deliver those cards. In addition, e-cards save families the hassle of signing each individual card.

The holiday season is not the most eco-friendly time of year, but celebrants can take steps to reduce their carbon footprints between Thanksgiving and new year’s day.

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