A Yule ramble on a Environmental note

As Yule is nearly upon us and we most of us still celebrate Christmas in a traditional way.  My children always loved the idea they got some of their presents 4 days before anyone else, from old father yule, however others in the family gave them on Christmas day.  Here are a few tips for a more environmentally aware holiday.

Decorations – Reuse as many as you can, if not make what you can, there are lots of ideas on Pinterest. If you need to buy things, support local shops or buy from small businesses.

Christmas trees – A natural two-metre Christmas tree that does not have roots and is disposed of into a landfill after Christmas produces a carbon footprint of around 16kg of CO2. A two-metre tree that has roots and is properly disposed of after its use — by burning it on a bonfire, planting it or having it chipped — has a carbon footprint of around 3.5kg of CO2, four and a half times less. On the other hand, a two-metre Christmas tree made from plastic has a carbon footprint measuring at around 40kg of CO2, more than 10 times greater than a properly disposed of real tree.

Gifts – There are so many plastic abominations given at Christmas that break in a few days.  One year I bought NO new presents other than food and drink.  I only gave things that were preloved or homemade.  The upshot of this was my Christmas budget went so much further than normal.  I do this in the main every year now and don’t think twice about giving something preloved.  Obviously under the current restrictions many of the charity shops are closed, which makes this slightly more difficult.  For the person who has everything what about a charity unwrapped gift, Oxfam are the most famous, but lots of other charities have them. You could if you prefer make a donation to a local charity in the persons name rather than yours.  Great hilarity was had one year when I twinned a toilet with my big brother.

Food – This is the big one for most of us, we buy more food than we possibility need and waste alot of it.  Try and think about, who is coming beforehand and what meals they are likely to eat when they are with you and plan your meals accordingly.  We all know it is more environmentally friendly to be vegetarian, but that might be a step too far for many people.  If possible try to have a free range British bird from your local butcher’s.  Buy fruit and vegetables that aren’t wrapped in plastic.  Buy drinks in glass bottles or cans which easily recycled.

Anne Edward
Environmental officer