Merry Christmas from LetsTalkEarth!
Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated holidays, and it is often known for its trees, lights, decorations, and of course, gifts. The two main colors associated with Christmas are green and red, but the green in Christmas does not mean the sustainable “green”. Holidays like Christmas cause humans to partake in many traditions harmful to the environment. Some of these include using single-use wrapping paper, shopping excessively online, and unsustainably using Christmas tree lights.
Here’s a list of a few ways you can make your Christmas celebration eco-friendly:
- Use less or reusable wrapping paper
According to Commericalwaste, “in 2016, humans threw away no less than 227,000 miles of wrapping paper, enough to wrap around the Island of Jersey”. Additionally, “Greenpeace recently found that as little as one kilogram of wrapping paper emits three and a half kilograms of CO2 during its production process”. Wrapping paper not only uses around 1.5 kilograms of coal in production, but it’s packaging and transportation also further harms the environment. But, by using reusable or recyclable gift-wrapping materials, such as cloth, boxes, or other containers, we can reduce the waste from gift wrapping.
2. Limit Christmas tree lighting or use LED lights
Incandescent Christmas tree lights are usually lit for an average of ten hours per day, producing a large amount of carbon dioxide. However, LED lights use less power and may also last longer than incandescent bulbs. Of course, Christmas lights are an important part of the holiday, but don’t forget to turn them off to save energy!
The last one on this list is…
- Buy a real Christmas tree
Commercialwaste states that artificial Christmas trees “have a carbon footprint equivalent to around 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions”, and their main material, being plastic, contributes to plastic pollution when the tree is discarded. Artificial Christmas trees are also non-biodegradable, emitting more carbon dioxide after being sent to landfills to be incinerated. Unlike artificial Christmas trees, real trees are biodegradable and can protect the soil when planted after the holiday is over.
While there are various additional ways to create a more eco-friendly Christmas celebration, these three solutions target the main ways Christmas traditions negatively impact the environment. There are numerous holidays each year that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, but Christmas is by far one of the most impactful ones. By no means should we completely “cancel” Christmas, but keeping these tips in mind will ensure that the planet is well-protected as you are enjoying the holiday season!