Christmas atmosphere results in tons of CO2 in the air

Purification

Let’s wish for a more sustainable Christmas

With the arrival of December, streets in the city glow with a thousand little lights, stores are filled with wreaths, Christmas candles are lit in the home, and the atmosphere around us becomes pure magic. While all these ornaments fill our eyes and hearts, on the other hand they promote the emission of pollutants into the air we breathe.

The holiday season is the time of year when there is the most unwarranted waste.

Such waste, if not kept under control, can cause serious damage to the environment and our health. 

Therefore, let us try to make more conscious choices and purchases taking into account what has just been said.

 

The Christmas tree: better a real one

Albero vero

Buying a Christmas tree from a nursery is the most environmentally friendly option especially if you can return it at the end of the holidays or if it can be planted in your own garden. An artificial fir tree impacts the environment the most while a natural one releases oxygen and essential oils. Real trees, while growing in the nursery, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate the greenhouse effect.

Pefc Italy, the standard-setting body for the certification of good forestry management, reminds us that the production and disposal emissions of a plastic tree are at least 4 times higher than those of a real tree, and what affects the environment the most is their transportation.

The truth is that artificial trees are more practical in that they do not require care and attention but are much less environmentally friendly.

Christmas sweaters? The worst example of fast fashion

Fast fashion e inquinamento

The famous Christmas sweaters in bright colors and oversize fits would seem to be made from wool but most of the time they are not. They often contain acrylic, a synthetic fiber very similar to wool but obtained by processing plastics, which, like all such fabrics, tends to release large amounts of microplastics that accumulate in the oceans and pollute marine life.

Like all fast fashion products related to national holidays, Christmas sweaters are among the most purchased but least worn garments. If it is a tradition to give one of these sweaters as a gift, it would be a good idea to contact a small manufacturer or make them yourself, keeping to natural wool.

A report published in the Guardian by the UK-based Hubbub showed that 2 out of every 5 Christmas sweaters sold in the UK are worn only once during the festive season and that 1 in 3 adults under the age of 35 buys a new one each year.

This trend has made Christmas sweaters one of the worst examples of fast fashion.

Home illuminations pollute as much as 315 cars in a year

The tradition of Christmas illuminations is a significant source of pollution and consumption. The habit of lighting up homes all day long is now a crucial part of pop culture.

Light pollution is a widespread issue especially in the United States, where home lighting increases by 50%  between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

But in Italy, too, the issue is not to be underestimated.

According to a study by Selectra, a benchmark for the electrical trade, each Italian household consumes 46,479 MWh during the Christmas period.

In terms of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, we are talking about 651 tons of CO2 equivalent per day, so 18,870 tons for the entire lighting period: as much as 315 cars pollute in an entire year. 

 

Recycle paper from Christmas gifts

Riciclare la carta dei regali

Making conscious purchases, perhaps with creativity, is the first step, but disposing of waste carefully is equally important.

In the European Union, 32,2 million tons of wrapping and packaging paper were thrown away in 2019, and every kilogram of wrapping paper is attributable to 3,5 kilograms of CO2 emissions.

Recycling even one ton of it means, in fact, saving 17 trees, consuming 4,000 kw of electricity less and saving space in landfills.

To recycle gift wrapping paper, it is necessary to avoid tearing packages when opening them. This gesture requires some effort but allows the packages to be reused for possible future occasions.

Attention should not be lacking at the time of disposal either.

Fortunately, more and more companies are offering 100 percent natural and therefore fully recyclable wrapping paper, or they derive the wrapping materials from paper that has already been recycled, thus greatly limiting the impact on the environment.

Finally, creativity can become our best asset. Closing packages with natural twine and not tape, or decorating them with tree sprigs or flowers makes, then, everything much more environmentally friendly.

 

Eco-friendly table: let’s avoid waste

Evitare gli sprechi a tavola

In Italy, and elsewhere, the Christmas holidays lead us to consume lunches and dinners marked by abundance.

Food becomes the protagonist of the day and unfortunately sometimes quantity outweighs quality.

Hence the countless wastes of food, which we vow to avoid every year, end up dominating our tables.

To avoid waste, careful and conscious shopping is needed by carefully planning the holiday menu in order not to have to throw away food due to overbuying.

As for table setting, it is advisable to use washable tableware, tablecloth and cloth napkins.

It is recommended to choose organic food, from local producers and in season: in addition to being healthier, it helps to support zero-mile markets and reduce CO2 emissions. 

In Italy to counter these issues, there have been widespread initiatives to recover and redistribute food from the distribution and/or catering sector, in cooperation with nonprofit facilities or social services.

 

We respect the environment and our health

Rispettiamo l’ambiente e la nostra salute.

These are just a few of the very many negative aspects caused by our bad habits.

Christmas is becoming an environmental disaster, and the high weather in the winter season bears witness to this.

The commercialization of the holidays, fueled by marketing and advertising heavily pollutes the planet. It is important to remember that at Christmas, as well as all other holidays, we need to emphasize gathering and conviviality instead of mass consumerism. 

If we all changed a few simple habits we could really make a difference.

 

 

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