People nowadays want to have a more sustainable Christmas. As we all know, Christmas is by far one of the most celebrated holidays, and of course, we enjoy that time in the company of our family or friends. When we hear the word Christmas all it comes to our mind is happiness, family reunions, snow, lights, gifts, and all these other good things. But, have you ever thought about what impact does this wonderful holiday has on the environment?
It is the time where we produce a lot of trash and a lot of food is wasted. During Christmas days, our waste is increased by 30% compared to the rest of the year. For example, people in the USA make extra 25 million tons of garbage during Christmas. In the UK, more than half of the British people say that they spend more money than they should during Christmas time. On the other way, statistics show that in Australia, people receive over 20 million unwanted gifts. That’s crazy, right?
What can we do to have a more sustainable Christmas?
First of all, let’s start with presents. Of course, you want to find the perfect present for your loved ones, but what could be more perfect than an eco-friendly gift wrapped in a sustainable way? A reusable water bottle is a nice gift that will benefit them and the environment. Does the person you want to make a present love yoga? Buy them a cork yoga mat. Cork mats are made of oak tree bark, which grows back when harvested sustainably. Do you have kids? Buy them “green” toys that are made completely from recycled plastic.
After you choose your perfect gift, make sure to wrap them in a sustainable way. You can wrap your presents with newspapers, pages of old books, old shirts, scarves, old fabrics and a lot of other stuff. That way you can a have a sustainable Christmas.
Want to hear a “crazy” fact? If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. Want to hear something more “crazy”? The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper. I mean come on, it’s not that hard to do that.
What about the food?
In the UK, during the Christmas season, people eat 80 percent more food than during the rest of the year. The problem is that 230,000 tonnes of food go wasted, and we don’t call that a sustainable Christmas.
Why does this much food waste happen during Christmas?
- One of the things going to the shop without a list of what you actually need. A lot of people tend to over-buy by thinking there won’t be enough food for everyone. Consider how many people are coming over and their dietary habits, then make a list of what you actually need.
- Discounts, everyone loves them. A lot of people buy things when they see a promotion or a discount. It influences you to buy things that you do not necessarily need and you should be aware of that.
- Not enough space in the fridge is one of the problems. Organize your fridge before Christmas and make space for your purchases so your food doesn’t go bad.
- Allow your guests to decide how much food they want to have on their plate, and don’t serve standard portions for everyone as it causes a lot of edible food to go to waste.
- Don’t throw away your leftovers. Freeze your leftovers and eat it on another day.
Oh, we forgot about the Christmas tree
If you follow us on Instagram, then you may know which tree is better for the environment.
Having a sustainable Christmas, means having a more sustainable tree.
For many years, the chopping down of real Christmas trees was misrepresented as detrimental to the environment, but that’s not exactly right. They’re a sustainable crop like any other natural crop, and the Christmas Tree Promotion Board says, “Christmas tree farmers make sure planting and harvesting are balanced to protect the environment. In fact, for every real Christmas tree they harvest, they plant at least one new tree.” What’s more, they’re completely biodegradable and recyclable, which means they can be repurposed for mulch, instead of going to waste once December passes.
In contrast, artificial trees have three times the impact on climate change and resource depletion. They’re made from plastic and steel, require more energy to produce, are shipped over from China, and will eventually sit in a landfill. According to a life cycle assessment of the comparative environmental impacts of both real and fake Christmas trees, the WAP Sustainability Consulting company concluded that “one real Christmas tree generates fewer environmental impacts than one artificial tree.” However, a fake Christmas tree can have a smaller negative impact on the environment if the customer keeps it for five years or longer. But even still, once that tree is out of use, it can’t be naturally reused or recycled.