Easy and eco entertaining during the holidays

RecyclaXmasWith the holidays upon us, it’s likely that you are going to be doing some entertaining in the next few weeks, whether it’s a party for 75 or a cozy dinner for six.

Since this time of year is by far the most wasteful for Americans, if you can find any way to reduce waste at your lovely soiree, you’ll be doing Planet Earth a huge favor.

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Wrapping your gifts the easy and eco-friendly way

RecyclaXmasHave you started wrapping Christmas gifts yet? Recycla has not, because this is a task she finds tedious. But it’s one that cannot be put off, so one day soon, she’s going to just pull everything out and do it all in one fell swoop.

According to the EPA, Americans generate an additional one million tons of trash (a spike of 25% from 4 million to 5 million) during the holidays and wrapping paper is a big part of that increase. Luckily, there are lots of ways to wrap without generating more waste. Continue reading

Holiday greetings

RecyclaXmasNow that Thanksgiving is over, Recycla is thinking about Christmas cards. She usually sends around 125 and will sit down each evening after dinner to work on them. If she needs a little help with her mood, she listens to Christmas music.

Are you working on your Christmas cards? More than 1.5 billion were mailed in the U.S. during the 2013 holiday season. That’s a lot of paper and other resources being used for an ephemeral greeting. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your impact on Planet Earth.

Christmas Card DisplayThe most environmentally friendly way to send holiday cards is to send e-greetings. You can design your own or check out the dozens of websites that offer e-cards.

Recycla will admit that as much as she admires the idea of e-greetings, it’s just so exciting to find a mailbox full of colorful envelopes for weeks on end. She knows she needs to adjust her thinking, but she’s just not there yet.

For a number of years, she sent out those ubiquitous glossy photograph cards that everyone sends … and which, unfortunately, are not at all recyclable.

003e0431882c0e5211ca820b52d830a1This year, Recycla is thinking of designing a postcard with a mosaic of photos and her family’s greetings. She can share photos while cutting back on paper envelopes. Afterward, people can recycle the cards if they choose.

If you make your own cards, use recycled content paper or cardstock — fewer trees were cut down to make that paper — and don’t use scrapbooking embellishments that cannot be recycled.

If you buy cards, look for ones that are made of recycled paper or have some recycled content in them. Again, stay away from foils, glitters, and other non-paper materials that make it harder to recycle the cards.

After the holidays, try to reuse or recycle as many cards as you can. Recycla turns her old ones into gift tags for the next year. If you’re not feeling crafty, consider donating your old cards to a charity that will turn them into new cards. In the U.S., the top collector of old cards is St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. Doing so ensures that millions of cards don’t end up in landfills.

Photo credits: Yahoo Images.

Buy Nothing Day

RecyclaThis Friday stay home, go to the library, a movie, have coffee with an old friend, or deck your halls — but DO NOT SHOP!  It’s Buy Nothing Day, during which you are encouraged to keep your green in your wallet.

By not buying anything on the largest shopping day of the year, you help send the message that we have enough stuff. There’s no need to join the madness and chaos at the mall, so don’t.

How do you participate in this year’s Buy Nothing Day?  BUY NOTHING on November 28th.  It’s free, it’s easy, and you’ll feel so good! This is a holiday the Eco Women can get behind.

On a very related note, start Buy Nothing Day early and don’t shop on Thanksgiving either. Yes folks, there are stores that will be open tomorrow, which means their employees will be spending Thanksgiving not with their families, but instead with random strangers who couldn’t wait a little longer to go shopping. Don’t support that line of thought.

Tell the Eco Women:  Will you participate in Buy Nothing Day?

The realistic eco Thanksgiving

RecyclaJust before dawn this morning, Recycla had the shocking realization that Thanksgiving is next week. That means it’s time for everyone to do some meal planning.

In the past, the Eco Women have advocated that it’s most environmentally friendly to eat mostly local seasonal foods for your Turkey Day dinner. They still believe that, however, they understand that it’s not feasible for some people and other people don’t want to make changes to their family’s traditional meal. Continue reading

Repurposing–and a Contest

ecolassieEco Lassie is a huge fan of repurposing things.

So she’s always looking for new uses for an old item.
One of the neatest ideas she’s come across is courtesy of “Real Simple” magazine and has to do with balloons.

Have a teen who wants cash above all else? I know the teens on my list prefer to choose their own clothes and presents these days.

Simply roll cash bills and insert into a balloon with a handful of confetti. Then blow it up! A clear balloon would allow the items inside to be seen, but any balloon will do.
moneyballoon

Inflate and tie off with colorful ribbons. Instant gift and so cute!

Have a youngster who loves to make noise? Make a simple drum by cutting off the opening and stretching the remaining rubber piece over the top of an empty coffee can. Secure carefully with several rubber bands. The tighter the stretch the different tone you’ll get.
balloondrums

The cans can be painted and personalized, too. A great craft project for kids.

One other idea that is a keeper: to keep guests from having to plunge their hands into cold, icy water when you’re having a party, make a beverage cooler that rocks. Simply freeze water in balloons and use them to line a tub filled with your drinks. Your guests will thank you.
icecooler

Now for the best part: REAL SIMPLE is having a contest challenging readers to come up with new uses for ANY of the following household items:

wineglass * dustpan * wooden spoon * smartphone case * belt * soda-can tab top * balance/fitness ball *
melon baller * coffee cup sleeve * DVD case * cutting board * rolling pin * magnets * shoelaces * garment bag *
shot glass * coffee K-Cup * contact-lens case

Winners will have their ideas published in REAL SIMPLE and receive a $100 gift card.

You can enter more than once. Send your ideas to: newusescontest@realsimple.com by November 14, 2014

If you win, let Eco Women know!! Good luck~