The Christmas festive season may be a time of joy, feasting and merriment for many people, but decorations, gifts and surplus food can all leave their mark on the environment. It is estimated that the amount of waste generated by households increases by 30% during the Christmas period. Consumers can, however, mitigate this by making more informed choices. Read more…
According to the transport technology organisation, Our Future Mobility Now (OFMN), over 50 million Christmas trees are bought and disposed of every year in Europe. An independent life cycle assessment conducted by the Canadian sustainability consultancy, Ellipsos, concluded that real and artificial trees both have an impact on the environment. Artificial trees are more harmful in relation to climate change and resource depletion, while real trees have a higher impact on ecosystems. The study suggested that using the same artificial tree for many years is a good way to reduce impact all round.
Choosing the right Christmas lights is also key in improving resource efficiency. According to a study carried out by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), an estimated 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions can be attributed to Christmas lights in France alone. Based on that figure, emissions from across Europe could be higher than those caused by driving an average family car from the earth to the sun and back again. Consumers can reduce their carbon footprint by choosing energy-efficient LED lights and using them less often.
OFMN also recommends buying gifts online or using resource-efficient public transport, rather than cars, to go Christmas shopping. Choosing gifts that are produced using environmentally-friendly methods, buying recycled goods, and avoiding excessive gift packaging will all help to reduce the environmental impacts of Christmas – as will giving presents that people actually want so they do not then immediately dispose of them. It also recommends filling the festive table with local produce to reduce transport emissions and planning food and drink purchases to minimise waste.
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