How To Go Green This Festive Season
Being Carbon Conscious Without being a Party Pooper
We are often asked what you can do to be more sustainable during the Holiday Season, so here are our top tips on how to reduce carbon, costs and waste and support your favourite environmental and humanitarian causes.
Your Holiday Travel
Whether by plane, car or train, ensure to travel carbon conscious this festive season. Making sure your car is winter weather ready is not only a great thing for safety, it is also an easy way to lower your carbon. Simple things can all make a difference, such as; checking your tyre tread & inflation pressure, using high gears safely, not leaving the car idling in long queues and utilising the start/stop facility if you have one.
Think about travelling during quieter hours and cruising along in top gear to save fuel and carbon! Or if you are travelling home from Uni or College; go by train or lift share - a long drive will seem much shorter with a buddy on board. Avoid flights whenever possible, but if you do fly, go economic and consider offsetting your emissions.
Keep cosy whilst reducing your impact by cracking out your favourite festive jumper and turning down the heating by 1 degree to save $55 each year for an average household gas bill of 12,500kWh. The heat from the turkey roasting in the oven on Christmas day will also provide extra heating to the house!
Put your indoor and outside festive lights on a timer so that they aren’t wasting electricity when you forget to turn them off after too many eggnogs.
Choose LED lighting in your house for everyday and for holiday lights to save money on your energy bill. LEDs can save up to 90% of lighting energy costs: using a standard 100W light bulb for 4 hours a day costs you $19.30/year but a low energy light bulb costs only $3.48/year and saves 52kg CO2 per bulb.
Try and reduce TV time at Christmas by getting the whole family involved in interactive games, dancing or even going for a walk! Even by turning off your electronic devices such as your TV and computer rather than leaving it on standby can reduce your energy bill and emissions.
Turning heating down 1°C saves $55 each year - that's 184kg CO2
When it comes to trees, which is better; real or artificial? Obviously a live tree that is kept and allowed to grow from year to year is best – but we realise that most live trees are cut. Life cycle Analysis (LCA) of the American Christmas Tree Association 2011 showed that on a carbon basis, artificial trees are only lower than real cut trees after 5y use. And that doesn't even take into account the plastic footprint as most artificial trees are not recyclable.
If you go for a cut tree, ensure to choose from a local sustainable source to limit your footprint. Trees can be composted by local authorities to make soil improvers, but this process releases about 50% of the CO2 sequestered (search 'Christmas recycling' which should pull up details of collections & collection points within your region). Be aware also that intensively farmed Christmas trees are often sprayed with chemicals, that are hardly supportive of biodiversity. Choose Forest Stewardship Council approved trees to improve your environmental impact.
When wrapping those presents, consider reusing wrapping paper, making your own from magazines/newspapers around the house or using reusable wrapping fabric. Make sure to recycle wrapping paper and cards/envelopes after the holidays and avoid buying glossy wrapping paper that is unrecyclable.
If you get something you wouldn't have chosen as your first choice (or it's something you have already) - you can re-gift items to your local charity for those more in need to enjoy. For the homeless and the elderly, the holidays can be a difficult time, give them a gift this season by donating and volunteering at charity organisations.
Also consider making a reverse advent calendar this December, adding an item of food or clothing in each day to be given to food banks or charities. This is great to help out those less fortunate whilst getting into the festive giving spirit and encouraging a less wasteful lifestyle.
Got a friend or family member who loves to do their bit for the planet? Give the gift of carbon offsetting by supporting one of our projects, which also bring environmental, economic and social benefits to the local communities, for which you can download a gift certificate.
Each year around 5 extra sacksful of waste are produced per household over the Holiday Season which is equivalent to an extra 1.4 tonnes CO2e. (more info)
Whether it's goose, turkey or nut roast, food is an essential part of the holiday season. Prepare and plan for the right amount of food to minimise waste! Though we don’t encourage 'BOGOF's, if you do get one (two!) donate to a food bank. Simple and small things like letting people serve themselves so they only take what they want rather than giving everyone the festive supersize will help prevent binning food. If any food does become waste, ensure to use the food waste bin.
Anything else cooking? Prepare and cook food in decent sized batches to make the most of a hot oven. Don't leave the oven on when you don't need it - you will be just wasting energy. Make sure you choose the right cookware for the job (glass and ceramics are best for the oven, copper based pans for the hob). Also consider steam cooking those vegetables as you can cook them all at the same time, it’s healthier and requires less energy to cook all at once.
Your New Years Carbon Resolution
Make a Low Carbon resolution and stick to it – start by measuring your Carbon Footprint and make a pledge of how much you will save in 2019.
After you strive to reduce your emissions as much as reasonably possible, you will see that you will not be able to completely remove your carbon footprint. To compensate for these emissions, you can offset by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere.
Offsetting through our environmental projects not only reduces your impact and helps to combat man made climate change, it also supports the local communities by providing social and environmental benefits, such as improvements in employment, health and biodiversity.
Tips to reduce your everyday emissions.
Support Carbon Projects across the Globe
Gift Certificates available on-line