Since it is Valentines Day I was remembering back to my youth when I was in elementary school. In elementary school parents buy cards for everyone in the class and attach candy to them. This is basically a requirement seeing as if you are the only one not giving a valentine you are at high risk of becoming the class outcast. I remember just as every child I loved getting all the candy, but once I looked at the card once it became unnecessary waste.
According to Hallmark 188 million Valentine’s day cards are exchanged in America every year which doesn’t include the packaged valentines that schoolchildren give. Although this paper waste is not as much as wrapping paper during Christmas it still has a huge negative impact on the environment.
For an alternative to buying valentines a great blog I found called ecocrazymom found a great way to create up-cycled homemade valentines from envelopes. Another idea is to make recycled valentines from cardboard and used printing paper. The information on this can be found on How to.
Some alternatives when sending cards to your loved ones are use cards that are plantable paper or seed paper. Some websites to check out for cards are botanical paperworks, Eco Party Time, and Green Field Paper Company.
So I hope that some of you consider this for next year and for all the holidays that use cards.
Will you use some of these resources? Do you have any ideas on how to create green valentines?
Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~ Kahlil Gibran
Now that Thanksgiving is over, I have started to decorate for Christmas. I love lights, and could never imagine a holiday without them. I know this is not very environmental, so I have researched ways to make it as environmental as possible. This year I have started my own collection of Christmas lights of my own. I decided that on short notice and low budget LED lights are my best option.
Holiday lights have become quite the tradition all over the United States. It goes along with the capitalistic/materialistic view of the holidays, which we have all been trapped into believing, me included. Lights are not only expensive to purchase, but all those lights on at all hours of the night take a toll on your electricity bill, as well as your environment.
LED, Your Gift for the Planet
- According to the Department of Energy, Holiday lights account for more than 6 terawatt-hours per year, the total electricity consumption of 500,000 homes. (The majority of lights being incandescent).
- Incandescent lights burn out quicker than LED lights which last as much as 10 times longer.
- LED lights have significantly less risk to cause a fire. LEDs also don’t contain mercury.
- When LED lights started they were often not as bright or attractive as incandescent lights, but with the increase of technology, they are almost identical in my opinion, that is if you find the right brands.
- LEDs use 80% less energy then incandescent lights.
If you have large incandescence replace them now with LED lights. But if you have mini-incandesent lights you should keep your old lights (if they are still safe to use), until they burn out. Then I recommend switching to LED lights. . If you throw out all your perfectly good christmas lights it creates a huge amount of waste and pollutes the environment.
When you are done with your lights don’t throw them away! Find a local recycling program.
Home Depot offers a trade in where you can get a discount on LED lights. (Although this program has passed for this year watch for it next year). Similar programs can be found with discounts on LED lights such as on Holiday LEDs
Solar LED lights have the least environmental impact of all the possible lights that you can use. Solar lights use the solar panel, (photovoltaic cell) which collects sun’s energy and converts it to electric current. The battery is used to store electricity until it is used. LED bulbs turn on when it is dark. Being a new technology they do have some differences in brightness and availability. There are mixed reviews depending on weather, so before buying them make sure your yard would be able to have adequate light.
- Easy to setup: don’t have to worry about outlets and cords
- Convenient: turn on automatically.
- Safety: No extension cords, lights stay cooler.
- Free Energy: solar powered
- Initial Price: is expensive, but less electrical bills.
- Sunlight dependent: Without adequate sunlight they won’t shine as long
- Weather: snow, rain, cold/cloudy can prevent adequate sunlight.
- Instead of putting up every strand of lights you own, do a smaller presentation of lights.
- Use LED lights instead of regular lights.
- Use mini-lights instead of full-sized lights.
- Turn lights off once you go to sleep.
- If you live in a place where solar lights are functional use them instead.
What lights will you be using this year? Do you think LED or LED solar is a better option for you?
Those Christmas lights, Light up the street, Down where the sea and city meet, May all your troubles soon be gone, Oh Christmas Lights Keep Shining on