While gift giving, family dinners, and decorating our homes are all part of the Christmas spirit, this time of the year can leave a widespread impact on the environment. Research has found that just three days of Christmas celebrations can produce as much as 650kg of carbon dioxide emissions per person. However, there are plenty of things we can each do as individuals and families to reduce and minimise our environmental impact this silly season. It only takes a few simple steps and little consideration to be on your way to a conscious Christmas. We have put together a list of 6 ideas.
Start a compost bin.
Food is an enormously important aspect of Christmas. We may spend hours preparing meals and dining with our friends and families. There are bound to be leftovers and bound to be food waste as well. When you start composting your food scraps, the waste will be broken down by microorganisms with the help of oxygen. All you need to do is turn your compost every couple of days to expose the waste products to oxygen. This method of decomposition is vastly better for the environment than throwing your food waste into the landfill, where it will not break down with oxygen and it will produce carbon dioxide.
Real or Fake Christmas Tree?
Fake Christmas trees are plastic and non-recyclable. The key for the fake Christmas trees is to re-use them each year.
Real Christmas trees are generally more sustainable, with a far less carbon footprint than fake tress because they are completely recyclable and biodegradable. However, they still end up in the landfill after their single use. To avoid this, break it down yourself at home and reuse it in your garden, or take the tree to your local recycling plant where they will be chipped, shredded, or mulched, becoming compost for next year’s trees, continuing the cycle.
The alternative to both options would be to purchase a potted Christmas tree that can be re-planted after Christmas festivities.
Recyclable and Reusable Gift Wrapping.
Choose to wrap your presents in 100% recyclable wrapping paper. Avoid shiny, metallic textures, and glitter on your wrapping paper and cards as these materials cannot be recycled. If you have gift bags from last year in your closet, pull them out and reuse them for gifts this year.
Traditionally, gifts were wrapped in fabric. So, you could try that for your family this year and collect the fabric for reuse next year.
Shop with reusable bags.
When shopping for gifts and groceries, don’t forget to bring your tote bags to carry your goods home in. You don’t want to be the person to pay for a paper bag when you have piles of tote bags at home!
Gift an Angel Delivery.
Angel Delivery Christmas hampers include prepared, packaged meals designed for families. They are a great gift for a distant friend or family member as they are delivered right to the door. However, they are also environmentally conscious given they are packaged sustainably and also food as a gift is consumed by the family rather than adding to the piles of plastic gifts around.
Switch to LED Fairy Lights
LED lights are a great way to reduce electricity use. They typically use 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs also produce far less heat and are therefore, safer to wrap around your tree. They are also more financially efficient in the long-term.
For outdoor lightning, try solar-powered Christmas lights so you don’t have to use so much electricity and energy.
Freudenrich, C., & Hall-Geisler, K. (2022). How Composting Works. Retrieved from: https://home.howstuffworks.com/composting.htm
Hitchen, D. (2018). 6 Ways to Have a Greener, More Sustainable Christmas Holiday. Retrieved from: https://www.anthesisgroup.com/6-ways-greener-sustainable-christmas/
Keate, N. (2020). The environmental impact of Christmas. Retrieved from: https://theboar.org/2020/12/environmental-impact-christmas/
Shadijanova, D. (2021). How bad is Christmas for the environment? Retrieved from: https://theface.com/society/christmas-environmental-impact-climate-change-global-warming