Every year, we all go a little crazy shopping, baking, wrapping, and cooking up a storm. But wouldn’t it be great if at the end of the day we weren’t left exhausted by all the unwanted gifts, endless social events and one too many mince pies?
With a little imagination and care we can reduce the negative environmental impact of the festive season.
This year we’re planning on putting the GREEN back in Christmas to make this the healthiest, cleanest, and most eco-friendly season yet. Here are ten ways that you can start planning for a festive season that does not cost the earth.
1. Sustainable Christmas Cards
Christmas cards can be an enormous waste if you think about it. But the lovely and local growing paper cards are embedded with seeds that will sprout into indigenous flowers or herbs after the paper is planted in the ground and so will keep on giving long after the message in the card has been read. Their production process eliminates all this senseless waste – their products are made in a completely sustainable way, using post-consumer wastepaper, water-based inks and wastewater from surrounding farming activities. The result is a beautiful card or tag that’s fully biodegradable.
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2. Real Trees Are Better
Although artificial trees can last to up 6 years they are made from metal and derivatives of PVC, which require large amounts of energy to make, and also create by-products such as lead. Given that they are not naturally biodegradable, they will potentially pollute a landfill site for many years to come once thrown out. Real trees are carbon neutral. They are a naturally renewable resource, and generally feel much nicer in your home. They can be planted in your garden after Christmas, and even used again next year.
3. Organic Beverages
By buying organic wine, you’re essentially voting with your money and supporting organic farming over conventional farming. The more we support the organic industry, the more organic producers will be able to thrive – which is good news for us and for our mother Earth. Plus organically grown wine is MUCH more water wise, is toxin-free, lower in sulphates and higher in antioxidants!
4. Reduce Your Meat Consumption
We generally all end up having bigger and longer meals during the festive season and the consumption of meat rises during this time. Be conscious of your meat intake and try and keep some of your meals vegetarian. Cutting down the amount of meals you have with meat may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. Recent studies (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/21/giving-up-beef-reduce-carbon-footprint-more-than-cars) go as far as to show that giving up beef will reduce your carbon footprint more than giving up your car.
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5. Choose Clean Candles
Paraffin candles are made from petroleum residues which hurt you and our planet. Soy, beeswax or natural vegetable-based candles are better because they biodegradeable, are smoke-free, and don’t emit potentially dangerous toxins into your home.
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6. Power With The Sun
Solar-powered gadgets not only make your own home a greener haven but are much better gifts to share than battery operated options.
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7. Shop Handmade, Homemade and Local
Our local crafters are bristling with talent, potential and need your support. Some of our our favourite local ranges that make for really beautiful sustainable gifting are Veldt fabrics; Earth Jewelry, Moko Handmade Wooden Gifts, Mawuwater Aquasacs, Retroganic Sun Chairs, Sexy Bamboo socks and Wake Up & Dream journals and art among many others. Every product we list shows whether it is local or not so that you have the choice.
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8. Find Re-usable Wrapping Ideas
Across the planet, Boxing day brings household bins piled high with wrapping paper. In South Africa, 600 million trees across 762,000 hectares are specifically grown for use in pulp and paper manufacture and the industry plants in excess of 260,000 trees every single day. South Africa’s timber plantations, which cater for pulp and paper, furniture and other wood based-products, lock up 900 million tons of carbon dioxide and release life-giving oxygen through the natural process of photosynthesis. Because trees, wood and paper products store carbon as solid matter, paper recycling is one of the simplest ways that we can green our future as we can help keep this carbon out of the atmosphere for longer. This year opt for reusable fabric gift wrapping, boxes and bags and avoid metallic or glossy paper at all costs. And no matter what – if you have paper under your tree, please do ensure it is recycled!
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9. Be Battery Wise
The best way to do this is to avoid buying gifts that need batteries, of which sales also skyrocket this time of year.
Batteries contain toxic chemicals, don’t biodegrade and are difficult to recycle. Instead use rechargeable ones or the Greenenergy eco batteries.
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There’s a lot more food being prepared this year – one positive outcome of this could be amazing life giving green juice for your garden, veggie patch or house plants. Compost all your food peelings or vegetable food waste into rich soil nutrition. We especially love the bokashi systems as they can break down absolutely any form of organic waste and do this without any odour.
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11. Don’t Forget Your Reusable Shopping Bags
Canvas shopping bags are an absolute must-have for anybody who’s serious about caring for the Earth. These reusable bags last for years and save so much waste, unlike disposable plastic grocery bags which cause such widespread pollution. Most know this but it is so easy to leave bags at home so get organized this festive season.