7 tips for a greener, healthier holiday season

By Emily Cumbie-Drake | Dec. 20, 2012

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Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives shares suggestions, from unplugging electronics before leaving town for the holidays to meaningful New Year's resolutions.

More than just the Christmas tree and mistletoe can be green this holiday season.  Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives offers tips on how to sustainably wrap up 2012 and enter the new year greener than ever. 

  1. Before you leave town for the holidays, unplug electronics—like computers, fax machines, scanners, coffee pots and microwaves—both at home and the office.

  2. Buy local, seasonal produce for your holiday meals.  Plan your food purchases to limit food waste, and compost any leftover food that isn't eaten, given to guests, or donated.  

  3. Give the gift of your time and talent to family and friends, instead of spending money on material gifts. Offer to make dinner, walk the dog, or provide a service like photography or financial planning. Or, consider giving to a charitable organization.

  4. Wrap creatively. Reuse boxes and packing materials; create your own filler with used calendar pages, newspaper or magazines; and make your own gift wrapping paper from old newspapers, maps, children's artwork or cloth.

  5. Recycle your live Christmas tree to be turned into mulch for local parks and playgrounds through programs such as Bring One for the Chipper with the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation. 

  6. Take time to relax, exercise and enjoy the season.  A simpler and more sustainable holiday can lead to less stress and a happier season for all.

  7. Looking for a meaningful New Year's resolution?  Make a commitment to living more sustainably in 2013 by taking (or renewing) the Sustainability Pledge.