For many people, the festive season of Christmas is one of the most beloved times of the year. People gather for food, gifts are being exchanged by young and old, trees and lights decorate our houses and streets.
Have you ever thought about the impact of celebrating Christmas on the environment? Did you know that global waste levels are increasing by up to 30% with the majority consisting of leftovers, packaging materials and cards?
1- During the Christmas season, due to the various events and dinners, a very large amount of food is made compared to the rest of the year. Of this amount, a large percentage is never consumed and ends up in the trash. This means that waste is increasing while at the same time materials are being spent which could be consumed by people who need it.
2-The increase in gifts results in the reckless use of wrapping paper and greeting cards. Of these, most cannot be recycled as they include microplastics and other materials such as e.g. glitter which is not recyclable. According to Greenpeace research, during the production process of one kilogram of wrapping paper, 3.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide is emitted, not including its transportation!
3-As far as Christmas trees are concerned, opinions differ. On the one hand, natural trees many times after their use end up in landfills and tons of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere from trees that were cut down and left to rot. On the other hand, artificial trees have a longer lifespan but the majority of them are made from materials that are difficult to recycle and have a very large carbon footprint.
4- Many plastic ornaments are used for Christmas decorations, which end up in the trash after use. Also, huge amounts of electricity are consumed for the lighting of outdoor spaces as well as homes.
Things you can change to make your Christmas eco-friendly!
-For the Christmas dinner, make sure you buy the quantities of ingredients you really need. If there is any food left over, put it in the freezer so you can eat it another day, or better yet, donate it to someone in need.
-Instead of the classic wrapping paper, prefer to use one that will be made from recycled materials, and at the same time will be recyclable or compostable. Also, if you have older gift packages, you can reuse them or make a difference and not wrap your gifts at all! Their sentimental value will remain the same!
-If you want to buy a natural tree, the most sustainable option is to buy a little one with roots, which after its use you will plant in a forest or keep at home.
-As far as decoration is concerned, you can try to make ornaments and decorations from materials you already have and will be sustainable and eco-friendly. Also, make sure to turn off the lights when you are away from home so that you don't consume energy for no reason.
-extra tip- Buy eco-friendly Christmas gifts