Christmas is coming and it’s definitely the most exciting time of the year. Christmas lights, carols and all the mince pies you can eat are great ways to celebrate throughout the festive season. But this doesn’t just have an effect on the economy – it also has massive implications on the environment.
As many as 6 million Christmas trees, enough to spread from London all the way to the North Pole and back, will be burnt or taken to dump sites in the UK this year after Christmas ends. In addition to this, around a billion Christmas cards will be burnt after the festivities end, plus 125,000 tonnes of packaging.
Christmas is the time for giving, and by no means should you stop buying Christmas trees or sending Christmas cards. However, there are ways to give back a little to the environment at this time of year, and ensure that 2018 starts off on the right note.
For example, when it comes to gift giving (and buying), there are several ways you can avoid taking too much from the environment. Buying gifts from local companies is probably one of the easiest, as this massively reduces fuel emissions used in shipping gifts from around the world, and also helps boost smaller businesses. Giving gifts that don’t require batteries (especially when it comes to children’s toys) is another idea, or you could even get creative and make your own DIY gifts.
But as we’re told year after year, Christmas isn’t all about presents, and there are definitely other ways that you can have a more sustainable Christmas this year. Small things like using rather than buying new Christmas decorations makes a massive difference. Using LED lights instead of normal Christmas lights can use up to 95% less energy than standard outdoor Christmas lights, as well as saving money on electricity bills.
Although plastic Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are the more sustainable choice. Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC), and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping. While artificial trees theoretically last forever, research shows that they are typically discarded when repeated use makes them less attractive. Discarded artificial trees are then sent to landfills, where their plastic content makes them last forever.
Live trees, on the other hand, are a renewable resource grown on tree farms, that are replanted regularly. They contribute to air quality while growing, and almost ninety percent are recycled into mulch. Live trees are usually locally grown and sold, saving both transportation costs and added air pollution. Live trees also smell like Christmas!
So this year, while you’re enjoying the all the festivities and the Christmas spirit, choose to give back not just to your friends and family but the earth too – after all, ‘tis the season!