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sustainable christmas tips   tricks | Newsletter

Sustainable Christmas tips & tricks

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by: Hans van der Broek
sustainable christmas tips   tricks | Newsletter

The merriest time of the year has arrived and preparations for Christmas are in full swing. Most of us will be planning extensive dinners with friends and family, and decorating our homes with lights and sparkling decorations. We might travel substantial distances to be with our loved ones on these special days - or some might opt for travelling that very same distance to be away from it all, preferring to celebrate the holidays on a skiing trip instead.

Although it might not be exactly in line with enhancing this Christmas spirit, we do feel compelled to show the other side of this fun-filled coin: the energy required and the waste directly or indirectly generated by Santa and his little helpers. And no, while we will not be as nit-picky to discuss the inefficiencies of transporting all those gifts from the North Pole to our homes and the effect of this hard labor on the elves and reindeers, we would like to point out some ways of making your holidays somewhat greener.

Fake trees are not sustainable at all - in more ways than one

Most people will readily agree that plastic Christmas trees do not embody the true spirit of the festivities. Yet we are happy to provide even more reasons for why those fake rip-offs are a bad idea. Although they might last for several years, they are far from green. They cannot be recycled, have been produced in low-cost, far-away countries such as China, and are simply not real trees. If you’d opt for a real one, it would actually help the climate, as those remove carbon from the atmosphere while growing.

Yet it is important to verify that your tree is actually sustainably grown and did not travel exceptionally large distances to get to your living room. Optional bonus: find a tree that has roots and can be replanted after December is over - if you put it in your own garden, you might just be able to re-use it the following year. And if you are really enjoying those green fingers, you might just grow your own Christmas tree. Specialised kits are available on the market for this purpose.

Christmas tree roots hand

Managed to get your hands on a tree that will definitely not last another year and is starting to lose all of its needles before 2019 rolls around? Make sure to recycle it, not just toss it out as landfill.

Better sustainable decorations and candles

All kinds of lights in fun shapes, colours and forms, miniature trains running through lit up miniature cities, singing Santa’s and dancing Rudolphs. What do they have in common? Right, most of them will run on batteries. Not to mention the many gifts that require batteries, or the photo camera that will be used to snap all those happy images.

Batteries are nasty, toxic things. They are not biodegradable, nor recyclable, and their production is rather cumbersome. While it might not be realistic to wish for a completely battery-free Christmas (and rather boring, too), it would already be a great improvement if we could opt for rechargeable batteries instead. Or check out the new AA size USB rechargeable batteries, that you can plug into a USB connector for recharging at any time.

Candles are another one of those things that we take for granted but that might require somewhat more thought than we currently spare for it. The frequently used paraffin candles are made up of petroleum residue, making it rather bad for the environment. Candles made from soy, beeswax or natural vegetable-based wax are a better option if you’d want to be eco-friendly.

Recycle your grandma’s Christmas card

Heaps and heaps of Christmas cards are coming in every year. People are eager to let each other know how they have been doing and that they have been thinking of each other. And while these cards are great to put around the house, once January comes around, most of us will readily throw them away.

And when you keep in mind that the average person receives 17 cards each year, you can only imagine the waste this will result in. So, you can also imagine what difference a little effort to recycle those cards will make. Perhaps you can send an e-card instead; recycle last year’s cards to make new ones; or ensure that the cards you buy are made of recycled paper.

Very happy sustainable holidays

All of the tricks above will surely make for a Christmas that is both unforgettable and as eco-friendly as possible. If you could also come up with a dinner menu that is largely composed of local, organic products and not made up of pineapples and wine from halfway across the world, you are guaranteed to be on top of Santa’s favourites list this year.

https://www.whatsorb.com/travel/travel-sustainable-10-easy-tips-to-go-green-on-holliday

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World traveler, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Has countless ideas and set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. Has an opinion about everything and unlimited thoughts about a better world. He likes hiking and climbed numerous 5.000 m.
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World traveler, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Has countless ideas and set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. Has an opinion about everything and unlimited thoughts about a better world. He likes hiking and climbed numerous 5.000 m.
Updates on environmental sustainability, every month in your mailbox!
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Get updates on environmental sustainability in your mailbox every month.

Sustainable Christmas tips & tricks

The merriest time of the year has arrived and preparations for Christmas are in full swing. Most of us will be planning extensive dinners with friends and family, and decorating our homes with lights and sparkling decorations. We might travel substantial distances to be with our loved ones on these special days - or some might opt for travelling that very same distance to be away from it all, preferring to celebrate the holidays on a skiing trip instead. Although it might not be exactly in line with enhancing this Christmas spirit, we do feel compelled to show the other side of this fun-filled coin: the energy required and the waste directly or indirectly generated by Santa and his little helpers. And no, while we will not be as nit-picky to discuss the inefficiencies of transporting all those gifts from the North Pole to our homes and the effect of this hard labor on the elves and reindeers, we would like to point out some ways of making your holidays somewhat greener. Fake trees are not sustainable at all - in more ways than one Most people will readily agree that plastic Christmas trees do not embody the true spirit of the festivities. Yet we are happy to provide even more reasons for why those fake rip-offs are a bad idea. Although they might last for several years, they are far from green. They cannot be recycled, have been produced in low-cost, far-away countries such as China, and are simply not real trees. If you’d opt for a real one, it would actually help the climate, as those remove carbon from the atmosphere while growing. Yet it is important to verify that your tree is actually sustainably grown and did not travel exceptionally large distances to get to your living room. Optional bonus: find a tree that has roots and can be replanted after December is over - if you put it in your own garden, you might just be able to re-use it the following year. And if you are really enjoying those green fingers, you might just grow your own Christmas tree. Specialised kits are available on the market for this purpose. Managed to get your hands on a tree that will definitely not last another year and is starting to lose all of its needles before 2019 rolls around? Make sure to recycle it, not just toss it out as landfill. Better sustainable decorations and candles All kinds of lights in fun shapes, colours and forms, miniature trains running through lit up miniature cities, singing Santa’s and dancing Rudolphs. What do they have in common? Right, most of them will run on batteries. Not to mention the many gifts that require batteries, or the photo camera that will be used to snap all those happy images. Batteries are nasty, toxic things. They are not biodegradable, nor recyclable, and their production is rather cumbersome. While it might not be realistic to wish for a completely battery-free Christmas (and rather boring, too), it would already be a great improvement if we could opt for rechargeable batteries instead. Or check out the new AA size USB rechargeable batteries, that you can plug into a USB connector for recharging at any time. Candles are another one of those things that we take for granted but that might require somewhat more thought than we currently spare for it. The frequently used paraffin candles are made up of petroleum residue, making it rather bad for the environment. Candles made from soy, beeswax or natural vegetable-based wax are a better option if you’d want to be eco-friendly. Recycle your grandma’s Christmas card Heaps and heaps of Christmas cards are coming in every year. People are eager to let each other know how they have been doing and that they have been thinking of each other. And while these cards are great to put around the house, once January comes around, most of us will readily throw them away. And when you keep in mind that the average person receives 17 cards each year, you can only imagine the waste this will result in. So, you can also imagine what difference a little effort to recycle those cards will make. Perhaps you can send an e-card instead; recycle last year’s cards to make new ones; or ensure that the cards you buy are made of recycled paper. Very happy sustainable holidays All of the tricks above will surely make for a Christmas that is both unforgettable and as eco-friendly as possible. If you could also come up with a dinner menu that is largely composed of local, organic products and not made up of pineapples and wine from halfway across the world, you are guaranteed to be on top of Santa’s favourites list this year. https://www.whatsorb.com/travel/travel-sustainable-10-easy-tips-to-go-green-on-holliday