I hope you guys are ready? Christmas is such a joyful celebration, just not for the climate. Because, in addition to all the hygge and time together with loved ones, it’s also the time we tend to consume the most. So here, on this very last day before, we in Denmark, celebrate Christmas, a guide to how you can have a happy Christmas, while still show consideration to the environment and the climate.
Get a sustainable Christmas Tree!
There’s actually so many choices these days. Throughout the last couple of year, a cedar wood has been super trendy, as they often come with its roots, so you can just plant it in the garden after use. If you want to go more traditional with a silver fir or Norway spruce, then you can either choose the rooted version or opt for a Fair Trade or organic tree, they are being produced without any environmental impacting chemicals. Finally, when you are done with you tree (if you don’t plant it in your garden), then leave it to compost, the wildlife will love you for it.
Wrap your present with a good conscience
In Denmark we use more than 800 tons of wrapping paper every year. Paper that is not suitable for recycling, as it often contains some sort of plastic wrap and glitter, which means it just ends up being burnt (or even worse, landfill). Needless to say, it takes massive amounts of water, energy, wood, and chemicals to produce the shiny wrapping paper. Opt for newspapers, paper bags, or make sure to buy reusable and sustainable gift-wrapping paper – and learn how to wrap without using tape.
And then there is the food…
On the bright side, Christmas food is not beef or lamp, which are the meats that are the least climate friendly. Turn up the volume of all those delicious greens, I am not saying you need to go all vegan, but a nice orange salad or kale salad is perfect for the Christmas table. Check out Half Baked Harvest and Vanløse Blues for many nice green options. Finally, make sure you have enough for everyone, but don’t overdo the roasted pork, duck, or turkey. It will cost you 34 kilos on the CO2-account to make 1,5 kilo roast pork with crackling in the oven, in other words, that’s about 4 days of normal power consumption or 272 kilometers (170 miles) in a car running on gas.
Speaking of food…
Christmas is the perfect time to focus on the amount of wasted food. Danish households throw out food for about 1,4 billion Danish kroner, just in December alone. Luckily that number is falling, but it still accounts for 10% of the yearly food waste. Again, don’t overdo it – and remember to get any leftovers back in the fridge, so you can eat it the next couple of days too.
Turn of those Christmas lights
While modern days LED-Christmas lights only use a fraction of the power compared to old school lights, then we have only added to the amount of lights we use. There is no need for the lights to be on 24/7, turn them off every night before you go to sleep. Chances are, everyone else is sleeping too.
Recycle, recycle, recycle
I cannot stress this enough. Bring your presents in a cotton bag, bring a container for leftover foods, just in case, and take home your reusable gift-wrapping paper, if no one else wants it.
Okay, that’s it from me. Do feel free to leave your best sustainable Christmas tip in the comments – and then go enjoy the holidays.