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Thinking Green for the Holidays

On campus at UMass Chan Medical School, we strive for progress towards a more sustainable community. Over the years, it’s become clear that many of the students, faculty and staff here bring a passion for environmental stewardship to all their daily activities, whether at home or on campus. To foster that global view, and in the spirit of the holiday season now approaching, the UMass Chan Growing Green team offers these suggestions to consider: 

When traveling for the holidays

  • Turn down the thermostat to a safe level to prevent freeze-ups, yet conserve energy.
  • Unplug appliances whenever possible, as many still draw power even when not in use.
  • Make sure all the windows are closed, and pull the drapes or shades to limit heat loss.
  • If you want to leave a light on, use a timer to conserve electricity. 

Thinking about gifts

  • Purchase ENERGY STAR rated products.
  • Buy local products and services wherever possible.
  • Use reusable shopping bags whenever possible.
  • Be aware of the sustainability practices (or lack thereof) of companies that produce and sell products, before buying.
  • Consider reusable and creative packaging for holiday gifts rather than disposal wrap.

Sustainable decorations

  • If you use holiday lights, choose LED lights, which use 75 percent less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than traditional lighting strings. 
  • If you have a natural Christmas tree, be sure to recycle it. You can usually find a location to do so (and to recycle other products) by contacting your community’s municipal offices or by checking this website: .

Celebrate with the environment in mind

  • Consider reusable containers and dinnerware when planning holiday gatherings and urge all who attend to recycle as appropriate.
  • Serve locally grown and organic food at festivities.