With the holiday season looming closer, it’s all too easy to forget about your carbon footprint and choosing the greener options when it comes to travel. But making eco-friendly choices during the holiday season isn’t as challenging as you think.
Here are some eco-friendly, energy-saving tips you can use throughout the holiday season to keep your carbon footprint small and your spirits high.
Choose a sustainable airline
If you travel for the holidays, you’re not alone. Although the average American only lives 18 miles away from their parents, up to 107.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home between December 23 and January 1.
Unfortunately, depending on where you live (up to 45% of homes sold in Maui in 2016 were bought by out-of-state home buyers), travel can get expensive. Your first instinct might be to book the cheapest and most convenient flight.
Before you book, consider switching to an airline that’s more eco-friendly and sustainable. In 2015 alone, there were 24,142,000 general aviation flight hours logged. But some of those hours produced fewer carbon emissions than others.
Here are a few airlines that have been reducing their carbon emissions in recent years:
- Virgin Atlantic
- Air France/KLM
- Alaska Airlines
- United Airlines
DIY your holiday decorations
If you’re trying to be more sustainable this holiday season, DIY-ing your holiday decorations is a great way to do it. Holiday decorations can sometimes contain toxic chemicals and the plastic they use isn’t the most environmentally friendly.
By DIY-ing your holiday decorations, you can make decorating your house that much more special for you and your family. You don’t need to go over-the-top with your decorations, either. Simple snowflake garlands are a great way to bring out the holiday cheer in anyone.
Replace your holiday lights with LEDs and use a timer
The holiday season is a time for festive holiday lights, especially with the days getting shorter and nights getting longer. But although these lights can make your house feel cozy and warm, they can actually use up to 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year.
To reduce your energy use, consider replacing your traditional holiday lights with LED lights. You can use a timer, too, to reduce the amount of time the lights are on.
Avoid cranking up the heat
It’s important to stay warm as the weather outside gets frightful. But cranking up your heat can increase more than just your utility bills. It can also kick up your carbon footprint and your fire risk.
Every year, approximately 890 people die in winter home fires. Electrical issues with lights and dry air are some of the biggest culprits for these fires. And, with the global market demand increasing by 2% every year, gas space heaters are a problem too.
To keep your fire risk, utilities, and carbon footprint down, consider bundling up instead of cranking the heat and keeping a sharp eye on your holiday lights. Never let a space heater run unsupervised.
Carpool with friends or family
The holiday season can get hectic when it comes to buying gifts and food from many different stores. But you can cut down on how much gas you’re using by carpooling.
If you don’t have friends or family nearby, consider using public transportation to save gas and reduce carbon emissions when you don’t need to carry anything heavy home. Approximately 98% of public transportation buses can accommodate wheelchair-users, too, if you use one.
When you’re focused on finding the cheapest plane tickets to get to your parents’ house or finding the cutest wrapping paper for gifts, it’s all too easy to forget to make eco-friendly choices. But by following the tips above, you can make your carbon footprint this holiday season just a little bit smaller.