Although Christmas brings fun and joy for all, the festive season is not great news for the environment. The following statistics show why Christmas is bad for the environment:
- Royal Mail delivers over 150 million cards and 1 billion end up rotting away at landfill
- 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will be thrown in the bin
- Six million Christmas trees will be dumped and end up at landfill sites
- 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be dumped
- Of the 16 million Turkey’s and 830 million sprouts that are sold in the UK at Xmas 40% will be wasted. Food that ends up at landfill produces methane gases which is 25 times worse than CO2.
- The foil wrap on Turkey’s will create 3000 tonnes of waste
- Around 3 months after Christmas Day 41% of children’s toys will be broken and most of these will be thrown in the bin.
- Many people will get the latest mobile phone under the tree but 40% of all phones in the UK are still not being recycled.
Although these statistics are bad news for the planet the good news is that there are many ways that we can help reduce these figures and have a much ‘greener’ and more environmentally friendly Christmas and New Year. These ways include:
Buy a Christmas tree that has been grown locally and sustainably in the UK. If you have a garden you could buy a living tree that can be planted and used the following year, there is lots of advice online on how to look after Christmas trees. If you can’t plant the one you buy then make sure it is recycled correctly at your local council tip or is chipped / burned.
Cards and Wrapping Paper
To cut down on the amount of cards going to landfill you could send electronic cards to your friends and family rather than paper ones. To help reduce the amount of wrapping paper that is thrown in the bin every year why not wrap your presents using string or ribbon so the paper can be re-used easily. You could also wrap your presents in fabric, wall posters or recycled paper. Your gift tags can be created from old Xmas cards from previous years.
Why not decorate your home with Holy and Mistletoe rather than buying tinsel from the shops. You can buy Christmas lights that are made with LEDs that last longer than standard lights and are 90% more efficient.
You can cut your energy usage and even save a little money at Christmas by turning off your tree lights at night and during the day, using low energy light bulbs and fully loading the dishwasher after the Christmas dinner.
Food and Drink
You will waste less food at the festive season by getting food portions right, using any leftovers and composting vegetable peelings.
Recycling is a great way of saving energy, helping the environment and can even help you to get a little more money in your pocket for the New Year.
Christmas trees can be recycled by your local council, old cards can be sent or dropped off at the Woodland Trust and wrapping paper can be given to your local charity shop to be disposed of correctly.
If you get the latest electronic device such as a mobile phone, iPhone, iPod or tablet under the tree then your old one can be recycled for cash at one of the many online recycling sites such as Bozowi or RPC Recycle. Any old CDs, DVDs and games can also be sold for cash at Music Magpie.
If you have a lot of old batteries you can now dispose of them in any shop that sells batteries or take them to your local council waste and recycling