Tips for an environmentally friendly yuletide from Eco’s Livia Firth and Nicola Giuggioli
Every Christmas approximately….
- 16,000 tonnes of Christmas dinner waste is binned
- The average Christmas dinner travels 38,000km
- 3 million tonnes of waste is dumped
- Christmas lights are left on for an average of 10 hours a day
- Of the 7.5 million trees that are bought only 10% are recycled
- 1 billion Christmas cards end up in the bin
- 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper is used
- An increase of 20-30% of bottles and cans are bought over the Christmas period
And that's just in the UK. So Eco’s Livia Firth and Nicola Giuggioli have a few suggestions on how we can counteract this….
- Do not buy presents too early in the year! We know it is good to get organized but if you buy your Christmas presents in October, the chances are that in
December you will buy more as you will see additional wonderful things!
- Buy real Christmas trees with roots – it’s wonderful to use the same tree every year - it becomes part of the family! The artificial ones are made using metal and PVC which takes a lot of energy to make and creates by-products such as lead which are harmful to the environment.
- When you have finished with your real Christmas tree and if you have not got anywhere to replant it, contact your local council or look at www.letsrecycle.com for local tree recycling schemes.
- Keep your tree decorations and use them every year – like our Grandparents used to do! Store them properly and get romantic about them.
- Switch off fairy lights when not in the same room and always use LED lights.
- Eat an organic Christmas dinner and do not over do it! This ensures you don’t have to go crazy with "how to recycle your dinner" for the following two weeks.
- When wrapping your presents – get creative! Use old newspaper with a fabulous ribbon which you can be recycled after the presents are opened. Or buy recycled wrapping paper and reuse the year after and take cards and paper into schools for use in art classes in the New Year.
- Give a gift of time such as an offer to baby sit, bake, walk the dog etc.
- Take unwanted reusable items / gifts to a charity shop.
- Make a donation to a charity or sponsor an animal as a gift. Gifts from Oxfam can be bought from Oxfam Unwrapped including mosquito nets, school desk even goats!
- Use rechargeable batteries in toys given to children at Christmas.
- Buy products with the least amount of packaging.
- Use soy or beeswax candles as they are biodegradable and smoke free, which are better for you and the environment. Stay clear from paraffin candles.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
- Watch “The 11th Hour” (a great Christmas present!) and read Michael Pollan’s article “Why bother?” featured in the New York Times (www.nytimes.com ) to get inspired to start the year in the right eco mood!
- Subscribe to The Ecologist - in fact, this is a great Christmas present to request!
- Eat sensibly instead of going on a diet.
- Ask more questions about what you buy (do I need it, where does it come from, is it made ethically and ecologically etc.)
- Switch off lights when you leave a room.
Livia Firth and Nicola Giuggioli
December 11, 2008