Have yourself a merry, eco christmas!
Whether you’ve got the holiday spirit or are more of a grinch, no matter what you celebrate there are ways to reduce the environmental impact of our holiday season carbon footprint.
Fresh tree or plastic?
This one seems to divide a lot of people. Those who love a fresh tree can’t stand the thought of being without that deliciously Christmassy pine scent, but those with a plastic tree love the ease and convenience of pulling that old faithful tree out of the garage every year. So, which one wins? Plastic!
Well, sort of. Real trees are less likely to win here due to the circumstances; distance travelled racks up petrol expenditure, improper disposal or multiple purchases per year add to the ‘cons’ list. If you’re going to purchase an artificial tree, you’ll have to keep it for 5 to 9 years for it to be worthwhile. And after that nine years? Donate it before disposing.
Commercially sold Hannukah candles are usually made from paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is made from petroleum and releases harmful chemicals like toluene and benzene when burned. Yuck! It may not have an immediate effect on health, but prolonged use with bad ventilation could lead to cancer! Skip the paraffin candles and choose beeswax or soy wax instead.
Swap your old string of lights for a set of LEDs. They’ll do a great job at making your house/apartment/christmas tree glow, and they’re so much better for the environment than traditional incandescent bulbs. The LEDs are made with epoxy lenses making them stronger against breakage, they’re cool to the touch to reduce risk of burns and house fires, and the estimated cost and energy usage is far lower than traditional lights!
Giving a gift that someone actually wants to receive is a harder guessing game than Family Feud. To avoid having left over products that will get thrown away, consider giving vouchers or tickets to experiences. Whatever gifts you’re giving, consider scrapping the usual plastic covered paper for a homemade alternative. Newspaper, reusable ribbon, scarves or hand drawn artworks on paper that can be easily recycled or kept mean less strain on recycling centres.
How will you reduce your carbon footprint this Holiday season? Planning starts now!
If you enjoyed this article, read up on conservation careers.
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.