Wishing for a Green Christmas
While Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, we as consumers increase our spending in the run up to Christmas to make sure we have all bases covered. With a little forethought and planning we can reduce the volume of waste, which is the ultimate by-product of our consumption, and make our Christmases a little greener.
Each year there is a heavy influx of packaging waste to be processed with an increase of approximately 25% around the festive period. According to Repak Ireland, approximately 80% of us will recycle the packaging from our Christmas presents this year leaving the other 20% to end up in landfill or worse as litter. We produce 74,000 tonnes of used glass, paper and cardboard, which is equivalent to 44kg of waste per household. The above infographic highlights where some of our Christmas waste comes from.
By being a little more conscious about the amount of food we consume at Christmas and by being creative with leftovers, we will be able to reduce the amount of food waste we generate. Coming up with more innovative ways to wrap and present our Christmas gifts, such as using gift bags and boxes, we will be able to reduce the amount of wrapping paper used leading to reduced CO2 emissions. Making an effort to recycle the plastic and cardboard packaging that accompanies many gifts received over the festive period will lead to reduced levels of packaging ending up in landfill. Choosing a real Christmas tree over a fake one will not only support the local economy, but also the environment as they are transported over shorter distances and are biodegradable. If properly recycled, real Christmas trees can be made into mulch, which can be used on other vegetation to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. In addition to choosing a real Christmas tree, decorating it with LED lights will use less energy than incandescent lights.
By taking a few small steps over the upcoming festive period we can greatly reduce the environmental impact we have on the planet this Christmas.