Christmas is the season of generosity, but it doesn’t mean we should go on endless shopping sprees and host furious binge parties every night!
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimates that humanity is currently using the resources of 1.6 planets, meaning many of its resources are no longer naturally replenished. With the global population expected to breach nine billion by 2050, we need to learn to minimize our consumption today!
So this Holiday season, let less be more. Celebrate a green or eco-friendly Christmas by recycling decor, opting for energy-efficient lights and heeding these 10 quick tips to help minimize humanity’s holiday carbon footprint. After all – a fun, simple and meaningful period of reflection is our best gift to the Earth.
1. Buy local products and support homemade crafts – Flown or shipped in from distant locales, it takes more resources for imported goods to reach our homes and offices. Patronizing local products cuts carbon emissions while boosting the local economy. Support native handicrafts, particularly if the raw materials are sustainably-sourced, like twigs, leaves and pine cones.
2. Bring eco-bags when shopping for gifts - An estimated one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year and most end up in landfills. This means over a million plastic bags are used every second – and most are used only once. Please don’t add to the waste by switching to eco-friendly canvas or recycled bags.
3. Use LED Christmas lights with timers - Energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) Christmas lights are up to 90% more efficient than regular tungsten bulbs. They’re far safer and last longer too! Remember to plug them into automated timers to ensure they’ll turn themselves off a little after you go to bed, saving power and ensuring that in terms of your carbon footprint, you won’t be naughty but nice.
4. Make your own personalized Christmas cards - About two billion Christmas cards are wasted every December. Why not craft your own cards from recycled books, magazines or packaging? A little creativity with some crayons, paint brushes or colored pens can ease out your inner artist! It will mean more to your special someone, too!
5. Use recycled décor - With some tinkering and a touch of creativity, your old jars, gifts and gizmos can be converted into nifty Christmas decorations. This is not just cheaper – you’ll even ensure that each homey gift piece is unique!
6. Buy only what you’ll use - Hosting this year’s Christmas party? Then politely ask your guests to minimize leftovers and get only the food they can consume. Every year, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. Buy just the right amount of sturdy plastic cups and bring out a marker to assign cups. Minimize waste and your waistline this Holiday season!
7. Set that thermostat a bit higher – Your office doesn’t have to be like the North Pole! When the party’s getting too cold, you can increase your air conditioner’s thermostat by one degree Celsius. This will leave you feeling comfortable while cutting down the energy bill by as much as 10%. The ideal temperature range for homes and offices ranges from 24 to 26 degrees Celsius.
8. Recycle last year’s wrapping paper for this year’s gifts - Printed paper wrappers comprise one of the largest Christmas wastes. Use last year’s wrappers for this year’s gifts! Old boxes, ribbons and strings can also be repurposed to minimize waste.
9. Reuse old props for this year’s parties - Bring out old decor and leftover trimmings for this season’s celebrations. In need of refreshing? A little glitter and paint can go a long way. Why not ask your buddies to donate a few things for the party? This allows everybody to participate and spread the Christmas spirit!
10. Observe proper cleanup after partying - Before staging your next party, ensure there are enough bins and trash bags that are clearly marked with the right labels for proper disposal. Try forming a ‘green team’ and announce to everyone that this is an Earth-friendly Christmas party where their love for the planet will be appreciated.
Remember, everyone has a duty to the environment. These 10 quick tips can lessen your impact on the planet. Get more tips on reducing your carbon footprint here. Have a Merry Green Christmas!
For more information:
Mr. Gregg Yan
Communications & Media Manager, WWF-Philippines