Christmas is a part of the holiday season that we all look forward to in one way or another, whether it be spending time with loved ones, presents...eating. This season comes with a cost though, as the environment takes a hit during Christmas celebrations. However, with a little bit of effort and creativity, our environment can be protected from any harmful effects the Christmas period may inadvertently cause. Perhaps, celebrating an eco-friendly Christmas is something which each one of us can afford. Below are few ways to celebrate an environmentally-friendly Christmas.
The holiday season is associated with a lot of energy consumption. According to the US Department of Energy, the holiday lighting consumes over six TW of energy per year, which is equivalent to the total monthly energy consumption by around 500,000 homes. Powering seasonal lights will lead to wasteful burning of oil, natural gas and coal, which in turn increases greenhouse gas emissions and pollute the environment.
Reports from the Energy Saving Trust state that the carbon dioxide produced by Christmas lighting is sufficient to fill up 15,500 hot air balloons. LED Christmas lights are the best substitutes for Christmas lighting as they require 90% less energy than that needed for regular Christmas bulbs.
The key benefits of LED lightings include:
- Safe to use
Solar-powered lights are another breakthrough in the lighting industry and are ideal for festival seasons. Fiber optic materials are also highly energy- efficient as they make use of a single bulb to light the entire decorations.
Christmas Cards and Recycled Wrapping Paper
Tons of garbage including packages and wraps are collected post Christmas every year. Following are some cool ways to get rid of paper wastes.
- Use cardboard bags, fabrics or reusable classic boxes instead of gift papers to wrap gifts
- “Funny-pages” gift-wrap made from newspapers is a creative alternative.
- Small gifts can be packed inside an empty food jar that is covered with fabric.
- Wallpapers, old calendars, and even children’s art papers can be used as gift wrappers.
Even though artificial trees are reused for several years, real Christmas trees are more sustainable. Artificial trees are non-biodegradable and require large amount of fossil fuels for manufacturing. The plastic components of the trees are made of PVC, which can release highly toxic substances. In addition, the snow on the trees is made from toxic polyurethane foam. Discarded artificial trees will end up in landfills where they will last forever without degradation.
Real trees are recyclable and renewable resources grown on tree farms. Around 93% of the real trees are reused by burning or chipping and spreading over the farm. They improve the air quality and have an ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere during their lifetime. Moreover, real trees also reduce soil erosion as their roots hold the soil tightly to make them fertile.
Although holidays bring out the best from all of us, they bring the worst to the environment in the form of megawatts of energy, thousands of chopped trees, and tons of paper wastes.
To sum up the above, energy-saving light bulbs and solar-powered Christmas lights will help reduce the carbon footprint of festivities. Gifts and presents wrapped using recycled wrapping papers, strings and ribbons rather than gift-wraps or sticky tapes help reduce packaging waste. Replacing paraffin candles with beeswax, natural vegetable-based and soy candles will minimize the environmental impact of beautiful candle lights. Also, real Christmas trees are highly sustainable as 90% of these are recycled into mulch.
Christmas is a time for giving and is a great opportunity for us to give back to dear mother earth by celebrating a green, sustainable and pollution-free Christmas.
Have a Merry Green Christmas!
Sources and Further Reading