Is Your Christmas and New Year Celebration Environmental Friendly?

Think of your Christmas and New Year Celebrations, and the visuals are cheerful moments of shopping, spending time with family, parties, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, lots of food, sweets and many more. Although, the celebration looks great and delightful, but if we ever think does Mother Earth also has the same opinion.

1.     Christmas Tree: Both real and plastic trees are biggest environmental hazard. The real tree takes about 7-10 years to grow. Cutting downs millions of trees or manufacturing plastic tree cause tremendous stress on environment. Approximately 25 – 30 million Real Christmas Trees are sold in U.S.A every year. [1]

As per the website, 27.4 million real trees were cut in 2017 and 21.1 fake / plastic trees were used during Christmas in U.S.A alone. About 7 million Christmas trees are used in UK [2]

15 billion trees each year are cut down and the overall global tree count has fallen by 46% since the beginning of human civilization. [3]  

Considering this number, the total number of Christmas trees used across the globe could be anywhere between 1 – 2 billion i.e. approximately 10 % percentage of the trees cut down by humans globally. All these are alarming for the environment.

Apart from this, transporting Christmas tree is another environmental hazard.

To reduce this impact, a potted Christmas tree can be the best option and it can be reused every year. 

Although recyclable plastic Christmas trees are reusable, but they are not recyclable when we try to discard them. [4]

2.     Shopping: Many of us end up buying extra clothes during Christmas and New Year sale. Most of the time we end up buying more than we even need. All these unused clothes contribute to be a major part of the landfill which puts enormous stress on the earth to decompose synthetic, plastic, and other artificial fibres.

3.     Gifts and wrappers: On an average, a family buys 5 gifts on every Christmas and many times they are just to keep up with the tradition. Gift means wrapping as most of us do not give open gifts and like to wrap them with best possible decorative cover but the papers used for gift-wrapping are not recyclable as they are laminated by plastic, foil or other non-paper material.

  • Envelopes: recycle in the paper bank
  • Greetings cards (except musical): recycle in the paper bank
  • Brown paper and brown envelopes: recycle in the cardboard bank
  • Gift Wrappers
  • Gift Tags
  • Gift Ribbons 

One of the biggest sources of waste each Christmas is wrapping paper, with more than 8,000 tons being used each year – the equivalent of approximately 50,000 trees. [5]

Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. This extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!

If every family reused just 2ft. of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in U.S.A can occupy a 10 storied high football field. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper. [6]

4.     Fireworks: Tons of fireworks are used for New Year celebration across the globe.

As per BBC, German National figures suggest that firework displays emit around 4,000 tons of particulates into the atmosphere.

That reportedly equates to 15% of yearly vehicle particulate emissions. This is only about Germany, think of all the countries on an average producing 4000 tons in 5 cities from 100 countries. That could be estimated as 200,000 tons of particulates in the world and 15% annual vehicle emission. [7]

Resident of China’s capital awoke on Saturday to dense and choking smog after many set off a barrage of fireworks overnight to ring in the Lunar New Year, despite limits and public admonitions against such displays in the congested city. [8]

5.     Decorations: Most of the Christmas decorations are also not environment friendly as they are all manufactured from plastic and other hazardous material. They look appealing and beautiful but has anyone ever thought about the harm it does to the nature after it is discarded.

  • Most of the above list are non-biodegradable, so are sent to landfill or are incinerated.
  •  Additionally, there are other wastage such as food, light, air and pollution caused by batteries used in toys and other equipment’s etc.
  • Check out following tables to understand the magnanimity of the wastage.

Christmas Food also contribute a lot of pressure to mother nature as extra cooking, drinking and overeating are always been part of festival and celebrations.

Following data was published for UK alone:

  • 370 million mince pies
  • 250 million pints of lager and beer
  • 35 million bottles of wine
  • 10 million turkeys

As per the data, the food consumption is 80% more than rest of the year. Along with consumption, the binning of 230,000 tons of food during the Christmas period is equally bad for the environment and on animals who are killed during the season every year.

74 million mince pies or 2 million turkeys, New Jersey State Govt. in USA has initiated promoting Green Christmas. The state govt is also encouraging and helping citizens in recycling cards, Christmas trees, batteries etc. [9]

However, the efforts are almost negligible, as other government bodies across the globe are either doing very little or doing absolutely nothing. 

Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who is believed to be the Son of God. Jesus always preached to spread love and harmony. The Bible verses also quote’s – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. So, we should make every effort to protect and safeguard our beautiful mother nature.

This data is published by Commercial waste in 2016.
(https://commercialwaste.trade/the-true-cost-of-christmas/)
  • Most of the above items mentioned are non-biodegradable, so are sent to landfill or are incinerated
  • Additionally, there are other wastage such as food wastage, light wastage, air and light pollution
This data is published by

References:

1: Realchristmastrees  

2. Statista

3. Time

4: BBC

5: Guardian

6: Stanford

7: BBC New

8: Reuters

9: New Jersey Government

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