The holidays are full of cheer, joy, family, and trash. Yes, tons of trash. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about one million extra tons per week. This trash includes wrapping paper, food waste, packaging, decorations, and old “toys” that are dumped for new ones every year.
The holiday season is a great way for venues to take action and save the holidays by making them greener. Instead of using a real tree, use a fake one that can be stored and reused each year. Also, find decorations that can have multiple purposes and reused in different fashions for a new look from year to year. Facility managers can even encourage employees to bring in unused items from home that they can use to help decorate the facility.
When using holiday lights, remember to use LED and energy efficient lights. LED lights consume 80 percent to 90 percent less energy and last up to 100,000 hours versus 3,000 hours for incandescent. Also, if you set them on a timer, you can save energy when the facility is vacant. And remember to be gentle when the season is finally over so you can pack them away to be used over and over again.
Another way to be more green this holiday season is to send electronic cards to vendors, sponsors, co-workers, and all your important business contacts, instead of mailing cards that get tossed in the trash.
Finally, encourage holiday party clients to be more environmentally friendly by donating leftover food from parties, recycling wrapping paper, and reusing decorations.
For more tips on going green this holiday, visit: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/hi-winter.htm or http://money.cnn.com/2010/12/16/news/economy/holiday_trash/. So instead of a “Blue Christmas,” how about making it a Green one?!