Despite 2020 Christmas will be different from what we are used to, there are some ways to enjoy this season and be environmentally responsible at the same time. The 9 Project Partners from the CAPonLITTER project want to help you with 9 simple tips to have a more sustainable Christmas!
1 - Buy or Create Sustainable Gifts!
Why can’t you reuse materials that you have at home or pick them up, responsibility, from nature and build your own Christmas present? Handmade gifts by you certainly mean more for those you are offering them to, due to your commitment to spending time and effort in its creation!
If you have to buy the gifts, why don’t you choose local and sustainably-produced gifts? For instance, go to the local market and buy that homemade honey or jam from a local producer or some scarfs from a charity institution!
© Alisa Anton/Unsplash
2 - Wrapping up...
When someone opens a gift, the surprise factor is always important! However, think about the tonnes of trees destroyed and the concerning amounts of chemicals used for the dye used on the manufacture of the wrapping paper.
Use old newspapers or other paper to wrap the gifts or even cloths. When opening your gifts, try to do so carefully in order to keep it in conditions to be reused next year! Also, you can staple used paper bags instead of wrapping your gifts.
3- Always recycle!
Wrapping paper isn’t the only waste that Christmas season generates. With new toys or appliances, there are a lot of boxes and plastics that show up in our houses.
Try to sort the different types of waste and deposit them on the right recycle bins! If it is not possible to avoid waste, always try to recycle it!
4 - Cooking for a battalion?
On this season, the celebrations usually join families and friends around a table, partying a lot! Even if you are a great chef, be careful, do not cook in excess. Food waste is a huge environmental and ethical problem that we must address! Evaluate carefully the quantities to avoid the excess of food and, if necessary, offer or freeze the leftovers, avoiding their disposal on the trash bin. What you throw away would make a difference for someone!
© Alexander Mils/Unsplash
5 - Eat your veggies!
When preparing the meals, also evaluate the menu beforehand. Use local and seasonal products, especially directly bought from the producer. And why not use products from your own garden or balcony?
Try to reduce your meat consumption and prefer vegetable-based meals. The reason is that meat production requires greater water inputs and liberates huge amounts of CO₂ compared with plant-based food. It is a great and healthy way to have more sustainable meals!
6 - “O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree…!”
The Christmas Tree is an ancient tradition but can be quite harmful to the environment, with many trees chopped down only for this season and for single use!
In case you have a garden, why not planting a living tree and decorate it every year? If this is not an option, we can choose to have a living tree in a pot, you can even rent one and return it after Christmas. Be careful with artificial trees! They can be made with harmful materials and plastics. However, if you have one, take good care of it so it can last for years and years!
© Sapan Patel/Unsplash
7 - Kissing under the mistletoe?
If you choose to decorate your house with plants, be careful to not use protected species that might be in danger or serve as feed for animals during the winter, neither invasive species that may extend outside their natural habitat and harm the environment. In some countries, species like the holly or moss are threatened and protected.
Using dry leaves, branches or pines, found in nature is a great way to decorate your home for Christmas. Also, try to reuse craft materials and save your decorations for the next years!
8 - Having a bright Christmas!
The lights are important for Christmas’ magic! We enjoy seeing our cities, houses and trees full of lights with multiple colours. However, the electricity consumed by them equals a great amount of CO₂ released to the atmosphere.
Be wise and responsible for Christmas lights and always prefer LED lights. They consume less energy and heat less, being safer for our houses!
© James Baldwin/Unsplash
9 – And when the Santa’s Sled is taken?
If you are going out for dinner, enjoy the Christmas lights and street markets going on foot or bicycle whenever possible. It is the cheapest, healthiest and more sustainable way to move!
If you need to travel to gather with your family, why not going by train? If this kind of transport is available, it is a great alternative to the car or plane. It is cheaper and more sustainable.
Of course, you can always try to ask Santa for a ride!