Christmas is a great time of year to let your hair down, have fun and generally enjoy a little excess. However, it’s also the period in which most waste occurs and taking a little time to find alternative ways of celebrating the festive season can significantly limit the impact that this has on the environment without reducing your enjoyment.
Cards & Packaging
One of the greatest causes of waste at any time of year, packaging is a particular problem at Christmas time. Christmas cards also use a great deal of resources to produce and many are simply thrown away when the holidays are over. The simplest way to help reduce the waste involved is to re-use carrier bags, opt for recycled cards, use recycled wrapping paper for gifts and tie with ribbon or string so that it can be easily re-used or recycled afterwards.
Bottles and Cans
More drinks are consumed over the Christmas season than at any other time in the year and the amount of waste bottles, cans and containers produced as a consequence is quite staggering. Virtually all glass and metal drink containers can be easily recycled so make a point of collecting these together for a trip to your local bottle bank or recycling centre once the festivities are over. Even the aluminium foil used for cooking the turkey can be re-used or recycled.
Although a real tree is organic by its very nature many of these are simply disposed of carelessly which is a real waste. Many local authorities have facilities for collecting used trees and converting these to mulch, so make use of this where possible.
Alternatively you can opt to buy a tree complete with roots that you can simply re-plant after use. Not only is this the most environmentally friendly option, it will save buying another tree next year at least.
The abundance and variety of Christmas lights used in homes and in town centres are what make this time of year such a visual spectacle. However, the amount of energy these lights use can be substantial. Wherever possible try to use lights which use LED’s rather than traditional bulbs as they use much less energy and last longer too.
Many children’s toys and games inevitably require batteries to operate, although opting for the rechargeable variety is the simplest step you can take. Traditional batteries use many scarce resources in their manufacture and are particularly harmful to the environment when disposed of. Anything you can do to reduce the impact of this, therefore, can only be positive.
Perhaps the most underestimated waste of resources on the whole are the number of unwanted gifts which are simply put away in a drawer never to be used again. This is a shocking waste and simply donating such items to a worthy charity is the best thing you can do; not only reducing waste but helping someone less fortunate too.
Environmentally Friendly Gifts
Of course the most environmentally friendly thing you can do at Christmas is to give a green gift and there are many options available these days. It could be a membership to an environmental organisation, sponsoring an animal or making a donation to a worthy charity.
So overall, enjoy the festive season but share a thought for the planet. With a little thought and forward planning it’s possible for anyone to reduce the impact that their Christmas celebrations have upon the environment.
Have a great Christmas.