Christmas is coming. It’s the season when it is easy to forego being eco and caring for the natural environment. Virtually everyone wants to have their house beautifully decorated with a perfect Christmas tree. Everyone cherishes a smile on the face of their loved ones when they open a pile of gifts at a crowded table rich in food during that very special Christmas Eve dinner. How not to get lost in all this?
We cannot imagine Christmas without a Christmas tree! Just keep in mind that there are eco-guidelines to buying the tree. Choose a natural tree instead of an artificial one and be sure to check that it comes from a legal plantation! If your tree comes in a pot, it can be replanted into your garden or a plot of land in the spring. If discarded, a real Christmas tree will biodegrade. In the case of artificial trees, both their manufacturing as well as discarding leaves a footprint of environmentally harmful compounds. However, should you decide to buy an artificial tree, the best solution is to choose a durable tree that can be used for a number of years.
What’s the best way to dress your tree? Christmas tree decorations tend to change year-to-year according to the moving fashion and so this year’s colours of the decorations can be no longer appreciated next year… It’s a perfect recipe for a pile of waste! Why not adopt an ecological approach and promote a completely different fashion, that is for natural decorations? Take advantage of what the nature offers – nuts, pine cones found in the forest or self-made decorations such as gingerbread cookies. Making those decorations can be a great fun for the whole family! Actually, this is what Christmas is all about – spending time together as a family.
What about Christmas lights? After all, it is the Christmas lights that create the warm spirit and the real magic of Christmas. Make sure, however, that your lights are energy-saving or LED as they consume less energy and work longer. Before you decorate the tree with new lamps, make sure to check if the last year’s lights are still working. If your lights are gone or broken, do not discard them into the waste bin! They should be disposed as e-waste. Before Christmas, you can often get a small reward, such as a Christmas tree, for delivering used-up items to the recycle locator. Another thing is that the Christmas tree lights need not be on all the time. Turn them off before leaving the house or going to sleep.
You can make not only Christmas decorations, but also gifts for your loved ones or Christmas cards. Hand-made gifts will always be unique and more appealing to the recipient, and will quite often turn out to be cheaper as well. Currently, there is a high fashion for DIY gifts such as hand knit pullovers or hats, home-made cosmetics or hand-made jewellery. You may also be tempted to instil old items from your house with a new life to create an imaginative gift. When buying gifts in a shop, pay attention to labels such as Fair Trade, which is a guarantee of no environmental footprint or human rights violation during the product manufacturing process.
What about packaging? If you decide to buy decorative paper, the best solution is to go for a recycled paper… but you can also use paper you already have at home, for instance old calendars – after all, the year which is coming to an end did have flashing cards. You can also make Christmas greetings cards yourself or buy handmade cards from eco paper, preferably from local artists.
Keep the environmental footprint in mind when cleaning your house before Christmas. Strong detergents can be replaced by sodium, vinegar, olive oil, lemon and water. These products are perfect ingredients for floor, kitchen, bathroom and even carpet DIY cleaning agents.
Before your family gathers for Christmas Eve dinner, you need to do some shopping first. How to make sure your shopping is green? First of all, pack all the items in your own reusable bags and do not use disposable bags. Secondly, write down a list of the products you will need before going shopping because food waste is the biggest Christmas sin against the natural environment. As much as 9 million tons of food goes down the bin in Poland every single year! Rich in food Christmas tables contribute to the subsequent waste. Go for quality rather than quantity! Focus on local products and buy from well-known suppliers.
Waste containers burst at the seams during the Christmas season. Therefore, pay special attention to waste reduction and segregation. Buying less and choosing products sold by weight reduces the volume of waste generated.
This little change of your habits will make your Christmas more eco-friendly. Can you do more? Just remember that you needn’t spend the whole Christmas at the family table. Go out, take a walk, just remember to save energy and turn off the TV and the Christmas lights when leaving the house. Do not take the car – public transportation service is more green.