Green Goes Simple: The Green Scoop
Give a Better Gift
By Cynthia Ramnarace for Green Goes Simple
When I was a child, my sister and I treated piles of torn Christmas wrapping paper as if they were freshly fallen leaves — running through them, jumping on them and then helping to throw them in the trash. (Yes, I’m old enough to remember the days before recycling bins.)
Now that I have my own kids, Christmas mornings are still known for their piles of spent paper. I know all this holiday waste isn’t good for the environment, and it always makes me feel a little eco-guilt. So this year I made a plan based on a simple question: How can I waste less stuff?
Try these easy ideas for minimizing your family’s holiday waste:
Instead of wrapping presents, I’m buying a few dozen blank canvas grocery bags. My daughter Mira, 6, will love using fabric paint to personalize each one!
Recycled Gift Tags
Gift cards are lovely, but they hit the recycling bin once the holiday is over. Not this year! I plan to cut out designs from last year’s cards to reuse as gift tags. As for the cards I send, I’m going to send greeting cards with imbedded seeds that can be planted in your garden and sprout flowers come spring. (Check out the cards from the Greenfield Paper Company
Green Gift Wrap
Giving Grandma a sweater? Why wrap the garment box? Instead, I’ll tape the sides shut and glue one of my kids’ many pieces of artwork to the center.
A few tree ornaments will inevitably break each year. In the past, I always bought new ones to replace them. But I love this idea from foodie and mom Damaris Santos-Palmer: Dry orange slices in the oven and then hang them from your tree. “They look like beautiful stained glass,” says Santos-Palmer. “After we’re finished with the season, we just put it in our compost bin. Done.”
What I love most about these ideas isn’t that they reduce holiday waste — although that’s great! It’s that my kids can help me accomplish them. I can’t wait to see those orange slices shining on my tree, breathe in their scent, and tell my kids: “Hey, we made that!”
Cynthia Ramnarace is a freelance writer in Queens, N.Y. She is a regular contributor to iVillage.com and AARP Bulletin. Her work also appears frequently in American Baby and Kiwi magazines.
Carebags can help, they are reusable bags for produce. I love them. Here’s why
- Machine washable
- Can clean produce while it’s still in bag
- Reusable – super eco-chic
- Perfect for snacks on the go
- Great for grains
For more information check out their site http://www.carebagsonline.com/
Great news! I was given a couple bags to test out and a handy pouch of three GotIt bags to giveaway(see photo).
If you want to be entered in the giveway please email firstname.lastname@example.org with Carebags in the subject line.
Friday, November 26th at midnight I will randomly pick a winner. Good Luck!
I have always been a fan of the outdoors but since becoming a mother it is different. I feel a connection to the earth that I didn’t feel before becoming a mom. I see things through a child’s eye again, like getting up close to a blade of grass or playing with a bug.
I keep thinking of the movie Wall-E and how that could be our future. From the garbage covered earth to the immobile humans relying on technology for their every need and want.
We can’t let that happen. Mother Nature deserves our respect and appreciation, she has given us everything.
I am far from perfect when it comes to being eco-friendly/green. I believe you don’t have to be perfect to make a difference. Small changes make a difference. Here are some easy changes to do
1. Use the reuseable bags, make it a habit to bring with you everywhere you go. I’ll admit it took some time for me to make this a habit.
2. Buy local whenever possible, I know this is easier for some then others depending on where you live.
3. Teach your children all about recycling and reuseing – one mans junk is another man’s treasure.
4. Know where you are going before you leave your house, this saves gas. Parents check out this great website/app for help in this area www.mommaps.com If your area isn’t covered contact Mom Maps and they will add it.
These aren’t huge changes but they help and they make a difference you can feel good about.