I have an ultimate guide on how to be more eco (74 Ways You Can Go Green) but have yet to create a Christmas one for you guys. We all know Christmas is a time of increased waste. All that wrapping paper, excess of plastic packaging on all those gifts, the many coffee cups bought simply because of the Christmas imagery printed on them and so on. I wanted to share just nine tips to help you have a more eco friendly holiday this year.
In the UK an estimated 6 million Christmas trees are sent to landfill every year, equalling approximately 9,000 tonnes of extra waste. Each tree sent to landfill has a carbon footprint of around 16kg and costs your local council approximately £2 in fees, ok that may not seem like a lot of money in the grand scheme of things – but is that £2 really necessary every year?
If you someone who doesn’t buy a real tree every year but uses an artificial tree, if it becomes an unwanted item rather than throwing it away you can sell it, so that someone else can reuse your unwanted tree- therefore reducing waste. Don’t go thinking that purchasing a plastic Christmas tree is the way forward, they are made from a combination of unrecyclable materials that can be potentially hazardous to your health. The majority of artificial trees are shipped from China, adding to their large carbon footprint, making them not eco-friendly. The Soil Association has a list of organic, eco friendly Christmas tree growers in the UK, helping you to make a greener choice when it comes to your Christmas spruce.
Money Escaping through the Chimney
Santa Claus may believe its the best way to deliver presents on Christmas Eve, however an unblocked chimney can cause a lot of heat to go straight up the chimney, making you use twice the amount of heating just to warm up during the winter months. If you have an unblocked chimney it is best to block it and avoid the money escaping through your chimney this Christmas.
I have an article dedicated to eco-friendly gifts that you could get your loved ones this holiday season. Saving the planet whilst making your friends and family happy. You can read that article here.
Wasted paper from gift wrapping at Christmas every year would be enough to wrap up the Channel island of Guernsey. If we all recycled just half of the 8,000 tonnes produced we’d save 25,000 trees. Try wrapping your presents in brown, recycled paper or better yet fabric (which can be reused). Less Waste and More Eco.
We in the UK alone produce 4.2 million tonnes of food waste a year, which is completely avoidable. We do not need to buy excess amounts of food at this time of year – all that food just gets thrown away the next day, and that is literally your money being put into landfill. Plan how many you will be cooking for, and what you are going to cook that way you only buy what you need & avoid the waste. Another tip is if on Christmas Day there are leftovers simply use them and create another meal on Boxing Day (December 26th).
Buying your Christmas cards from the store is expensive, and takes up a huge amount of natural resources for something that usually gets tossed a month later. Why not ditch the paper cards and wish your friends and family a ‘Happy Holidays’ online.
So I know that being zero waste at Christmas may not be achievable, recycling is the next best thing. With all that added paper, and plastic accumulating over the holiday period having recycling a main focus, where each family member knows is vital. Create labels for your recycling bins so that your family and friends know exactly what materials to put in what bins. We must do our best to keep changing our habits, and serve as an example to friends and family.
Candles at Christmas is a must, it makes the holiday period more cosy. But did you know that some candles are made from petroleum residue and are no good for your health or for the environment. Opt for a more eco friendly candle. They are ones made from soy, beeswax (not vegan friendly though) or natural vegetable-based wax.
If you have Christmas lights on your house or Christmas tree, consider reducing the amount that you have, or using a more energy efficient alternative. Solar LED lights are fantastic, affordable and readily available! LED lights use 95% less energy and costs less to run. Over a 30-day period, lighting 500 traditional holiday lights will cost you about $18.00 while the same number of LED lights costs only $0.19 – or look for solar lights and you won’t spend a cent more.