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Green your home for the holidays with these easy tips

Green your home for the holidays with these easy tips

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time we dedicate some of our time and effort to improving something about our lives, our homes and our relationships.

We’ve collected a few ideas to help you be green, create an earth-friendly home environment and start a New Year with a positive mindset.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. These are the magic words of the season. When doing Christmas shopping, cooking, cleaning and decorating your home, save a thought for Mother Nature. As with most holiday feasts, we tend to overdo it when it comes to Christmas meals and end up throwing loads of food away, from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 96 percent of the food we throw to waste ends up in landfills. In 2011, we landfilled more than 36 million tons of food waste. Once in landfills, food breaks down to produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

As an alternative, focus on reducing wasted food. Do an inventory of your fridge and pantry and cook what you already have at home before rushing in to the grocery store to buy stuff. Then, realistically plan your festive menu and be sure to buy only what you need and will use, preferably organic produce from a local farmers market. By buying less food, you’ll be lowering your carbon footprint while saving some money too. Also, consider donating any safe, untouched food that your family won’t be able to eat through the holidays. There are others, less fortunate, who will cherish your gesture and send happy thoughts your way in return, all in the Christmas spirit.

It is often hard to remember to be green when you are in the midst of a holiday cleaning spree but the benefits are worth the trouble. Create a healthier environment for you family to live in by using non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products or natural alternatives. White vinegar for example can be effectively used to remove stains, eliminate foul smells and sanitize at the same time. Avoid products with labels that read corrosive, irritant, flammable, or combustible.

Also, instead of using plug-in room deodorizers, make your own air fresheners using essential oils. Lavender, orange or lemon are equally pleasant and will add a delightful aroma to your quarters while reducing your exposure to unwanted chemicals. Or, when you need to quickly deodorize a room, simply cut an orange in half, remove the pulp, fill it with salt and place it on the mantel. It’s as easy as that! And cheap, too.

You can also switch to compact fluorescents (CFLs), while you’re at it. CFLs are a bit more expensive, yet they can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescent light bulbs. An Energy Star certified light bulb saves about $6 a year in electricity costs and can save $40 to $135 over its lifetime.

Additionally, to make sure your belongings are protected, consider acquiring renters insurance. The ResidentShield renters insurance plan gives you peace of mind knowing that your assets, your new TV, iPad, furniture or jewelry, are covered in case of unfortunate incidents such as fire, lightning, theft, smoke, and more.