Sadly, in recent years, Christmas has shifted away from its (already controversial roots) into a consumerism centered holiday. So what can you do, if you want to have a green, eco-friendly celebration, but still cherish the warm Christmas spirit? Here’s what you should do:
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Find the right tree
The Christmas tree is at the heart of any celebration, so it’s understandable that many people don’t want to skip it. But with over 1.000.000 trees being cut (and not planted afterwards), is a living tree really a green option? No, not really. I’ve already discussed how you can green your Christmas tree or how to get other, creative alternatives, here’s the gist of it:
Real trees: most of them come from tree farms, not virgin forests, so cutting them down is not really as bad as it seems at a first sight, but I wouldn’t really consider them a renewable, sustainable resource. Furthermore, fossil fuels are used to harvest and transport them. The best thing to do would be to replant the tree, or at the very least recycle it for compost or even wood.
Fake trees: not really as green of an alternative as you think. They use petroleum and PVC in their fabrication process and contain small quantities of lead. However, if you buy one and use it for years and years, you use less and less resources. If you go for a fake tree – stick to it !
Potted Trees: Quite possibly the perfect idea, keep in mind that most potted trees can survive for only approximately 14 days indoors, and they need an outdoor environment, so you have to either plant them outside, or at lease place them on your balcony after your Celebrations are over.
Use LED Christmas lights
Energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) can be anywhere from 20% to 90% more efficient than traditional lights, and they also last longer and are more sturdy. Also, when the lights are on and you don’t really need the light, turn it off! It will add a nice groove to the room and also save a lot of energy.
Eco-upgrade your gifts!
Several million postcards are sent each year for Christmas – amounting at about 300.000 trees cut solely for this purpose. Why not craft your own, more personal and creative cards, from recycled paper or fresh cardboard? Not only will you help the environment, but you will also be sending out much more personal and warm thoughts.
Also, when shopping, be sure to use a more eco-friendly bag, like canvas, or something reusable, instead of plastic. This goes for the entire year, but even more for the Christmas period. You can also wrap your presents in recycled paper – which looks and feels just the same.
When purchasing gifts, check how eco-friendly they are – what they are made from, whether they have an extended life, etc. Also…
It takes much more resources to buy things from far away. Patronizing local products not only reduces carbon emissions, but it also supports your local economy.
Soy or Beeswax candles only!
The ultra cheap candles are petroleum based, and they constantly pollute the environment (i.e. your house) when they are lit. Go for more natural alternatives – beeswax or soy candles are fairly cheap, and they’re much healthier and eco-friendly.
Buy organic, healthy, and only what you can finish!
I know, Christmas is the time when you just forget about the diets and go crazy with food. But every year, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted on Christmas ! That’s an incredible 1.300.000.000.000 kilograms! Each and every one of us can contribute, and only buy what you know you can finish; also, there’s nothing wrong with eating yesterday’s leftovers – especially when they’re delicious.
Have a merry green Christmas, and an eco-friendly New Year!