The silly season contributes significantly to your annual carbon footprint. In fact, a whopping 5.5% of your yearly carbon bill will be spent providing a happy holiday for one and all:
• 26 kg of CO₂ from Christmas food
• 96 kg of CO₂ from car travel
• 218 kg of CO₂ from lighting displays
• 310 kg of CO₂ on Christmas shopping
Christmas tree calamity
The arboreal festive tradition of having a Christmas tree may seem green, but it comes at a high price. The carbon footprint of commercial Christmas tree farming, harvesting, distribution and then disposal is astronomical. But are artificial trees any better? Between their manufacture and import from China, they may not provide a greener alternative.
According to data from the Nielsen Research Foundation, approximately 21.6 million real trees and 12.9 million artificial trees will be purchased by U.S. households this Christmas. A study by the American Christmas Tree Association found that consumers would have to keep an artificial Christmas tree for 10 years in order to offset the carbon footprint of natural trees they would have bought during this period.
Artificial trees also off-gas toxic fumes which reduce the indoor air quality in your home. Christmas trees made from PVC aren’t biodegradable or recyclable.
The solution? Rent one or buy a potted tree. Trees in pots cost a little more initially, but you can keep them outside for years.
Make your own! There are so many great trees you can make from recycled and upcycled materials – there’s 18 here.
Carbon savings = money savings!
Carpool on your trip home or take the bus or train to reach your destination. Your Christmas light spectacular will look every bit as impressive if you used LED lights or solar-powered lights instead. Shop online for gifts; it saves time and money too (buy locally to reduce shipping costs).
You can shop for local foods when creating your Christmas feast.
Forgo the Christmas cards and make a personalized Christmas video for family and friends who would much rather see your face anyway.
Recycle wrapping paper or wrap your gifts in fabric which can be re-purposed. Scarves, bandannas and wraps can also be used as alternate gift wrap.
These eco-friendly ideas also save you money and will certainly add to your chances of finally making it off the ‘naughty’ list!
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Thanks Mary! I hope you have a green Christmas!
I’ve been trying desperately to find somewhere to rent a potted Christmas tree in Toronto. Of the two places whose names keep coming up, one is in BC and the other isn’t operating this holiday season. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Hi there and thanks for your question. We don’t have a known supplier in Toronto, but we have posted this on our social networks and we hope to get back to you with an answer. Have you considered buying a potted tree?
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