The planet now supports over six billion people, and if all of these were to live a life of consumption equal to that in the UK, the human race would need five different Earths to support us all. Our carbon footprint goes up dramatically in December as everyone falls into the Christmas spirit, buying decorations and presents, however you don’t have to give up very much to have an eco-friendly Christmas, just follow a few of our tips:
- Buy a live Christmas tree over an artificial one. Real trees are normally grown in tree farms, so are not cut down from natural supplies and can be taken to a recycling yard afterwards to be made into wood chips or mulch to improve soil fertility, or can even be re-planted in your own garden. Artificial trees are made from plastic which is derived from oil and are often shipped over from China, whereas buying a real tree will give a boost to your local economy.
- Using a natural décor not only looks homely but will make your room smell delicious, string up simple ornaments made with pine cones, cinnamon sticks and dried citrus and apple to your tree and round the house. Use LED fairy lights and turn them off at night, saving your energy bill as well as your carbon footprint.
- There are a range of exciting gift options you can choose without contributing to mass production and consumption. Buy your loved one something they can experience like tickets to see a band or a sport’s match, and for relatives who have it all, seeds and small trees can be planted in the ground or indoor vegetable growing kits are a simple and original gift. Visit your local craft markets for handmade goods by local artisans, look up goods from fair-trade, natural product websites and if you’re brave enough, try to make a gift yourself, even simple edible items such as jams and cakes never fail to please.
- After all the excitement is over, remember to reuse and recycle what you can. Wrapping paper can be used throughout the year and cards can be cut to use as gift tags. Cards can also be recycled at large stores such as Tesco and WH Smith, and recycling bottles can reduce the carbon footprint of consuming alcohol by 40%. Leftover food which ends up as landfill decomposes producing methane, which is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than C02, so use up all the leftovers you can into inventive pies and sandwiches.
Just remember the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle, and have yourself a green Christmas this year!