Going Green for the Holidays

By Earl Whipple

As we once again approach the holiday season and wonder how 2009 passed by so quickly, thoughts turn to celebrations with family and friends. Letters and yes, emails to Santa (check out emailsanta.com), have been written, sent, rewritten and sent yet again; I bet my young daughter and three nieces are perfecting additional revisions.

One of the pleasures of the holiday season is sharing gifts between loved ones. It is fun to watch and see the joy in anyone’s eyes when receiving that one special personal gift that meets or exceeds hopes and expectations. But at the same time, one of the biggest displeasures for me is seeing and knowing the amount of trash generated. You know what I mean – the endless amount of plastic, bubble wrap and cardboard packaging – not to mention the countless reams of paper and ribbon torn up in instant or over days of celebrations..

AstraZeneca is committed to helping people live longer, healthier lives and part of that responsibility is be a good steward of the environment. This led me to think – and ask colleagues – how can we create “greener” holiday celebrations? I want to share some of the more original answers I received which I will try using this year:

  • Cut up holiday cards from last year and reuse them as gift tags.
  • Wrap gifts in tissue paper and don’t use boxes.
  • Instead of bows, use flowers, greenery or holly berries to top your gifts.
  • Replace paper napkins on your holiday table with cloth napkins. You’ll have these to reuse year after year.
  • If you have the outdoor space, consider a live Christmas tree that can be planted after the holidays rather than a cut tree. Also, LED tree lighting now is a readily available and affordable alternative to conventional holiday lighting – and uses 90% less energy.
  • If you receive a new cellphone or computer take the extra step to responsibly recycle your old electronics. Most major electronics retailers now have bins for old cell phones and laptops.

How will you have a more “green” holiday this year? I’d love to hear your comments. As always, thanks for reading and have a Happy Holiday!

– Earl

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