Going green for the holidays doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, several area gardeners and business persons have offered a number of tips for celebrating the holidays in a simple, earth-friendly fashion.
The holidays, for many, start with putting up the Christmas tree. For those wishing to go the eco-friendly route, a live Christmas tree is optimal.
“I would buy a real tree, put the lights on a timer to shut off to save electricity and use the leftover branches to make a wreath,” said local Master Gardener Mary-Louise Hagler.
To decorate the tree, Judy Kirkland, the president of the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs and master gardener, suggests using homemade ornaments.
Gift-giving is one of the more basic ways to implement an eco-friendly holiday. For instance, Ken Badke, the owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, says many birdfeeders today are made of recycled milk bottles and other plastics, and have a lifetime guarantee.
Contributions to environmental or animal rights groups are also a great way to go green, says Donna Wear, a local organic gardener and a professor in the biology department at Augusta State University.
“Purchase a membership to a locally-grown food market or purchase a rain barrel for someone,” she suggests.
For children, Wear encourages the purchasing of a yearly subscription to an environmental magazine such as Ranger Rick.
Wear says those who are handy with tools can build a birdhouse or winter roosting pocket for birds.
When the holidays are over, the Christmas tree can be used in a number of earth-friendly ways.
“When it’s time for the Christmas tree to come down, remove all the ornaments and tinsel and put it outside for a great cover for the birds during the cold weather,” said Badke. “Save gas and stay home and enjoy the birds at your birdfeeders during the winter months.”
Christmas trees can also be dropped off at recycling locations throughout the county where they will, in turn, be chipped up to be used as mulch or used for fish habitats in local lakes.