End Plastic Pollution
Real or Fake Christmas Trees? Plus Other Things to Know for a Green Christmas
December 16, 2022
Christmas has become increasingly expensive in today’s economy, with consumers often switching to plastic alternatives for the sake of saving money and convenience. However, these convenient purchases come with hidden costs. Many of these plastic products end up polluting the environment during production and transportation, then later end up in the landfill after a newer option replaces them.
Hard Plastic Christmas decorations like novelty angels, Santas and other iconic holiday figures initially became popular in the 1950s because they were often easy to come by, durable and relatively inexpensive. Fast forward to today and not much has changed, plastic rules the holiday season. Plastic holiday decorations seem to be unavoidable in the grand holiday scheme, but here are some small changes you can make to help create a big impact in reducing plastic waste.
Keeping Your Trees Green
One of the most drastic and noticeable plastic replacements is faux Christmas trees. Many families choose this route for the ease and cost effectiveness of reusing the same tree year after year, and to avoid the messiness of tree needles all over the floor. If the threat of pollution wasn’t enough to steer you away from a fake tree, the majority of plastic trees are also imported. This adds extra costs to transport these faux trees to the United States, as well as increases pollution in our waterways and other surrounding areas.
Although the convenience of a fake tree might be convincing, there are major benefits to picking a live Christmas tree. The tradition of real trees and the classic Christmas smell could be enough to sway the average buyer. Positive mental health benefits, increased productivity, and happiness have also been observed from purchasing a real tree during the holiday season. In addition, buying a real Christmas tree benefits the economy, supporting both small and large tree farms across the United States.
While plastic trees may seem like the sustainable option because they can be used year after year, unfortunately this is not the case. In fact, more often than not they end up in landfills like most other holiday decor. Buying real christmas trees helps support your local community and lessens plastic waste and reduces larger transportation costs and emissions.
Renting a Christmas tree is also an option. There are companies that ‘lend’ you a live tree for the holiday season. Afterwards you would return the tree to be re-planted and grown until the next holiday season. If your tree doesn’t always make it through the season, there’s still hope! You can turn the tree into a sustainable mulch option after the holidays as a great alternative.
A Better Treat for Rudolph
Another magical edition to every holiday season? Reindeer food. A fun tradition where you leave out “food” for Santa’s reindeers to eat when they stop at your house. Oftentimes, this recipe consists of glitter and plastic tinsel. The plastic wrapping and the excess glitter present in most store-bought reindeer foods are not sustainable by any means. It’s undoubtedly less eco-friendly, fun, or festive than what you can make at home! You can use the “scrap” parts of carrots and celery, the peelings of an orange, or even the chopped-up core of a pineapple in this recipe. With the addition of some quick oats, this can make a great alternative to the store-bought options while also serving as a wonderful holiday festivity for your family to come together for and enjoy.
Lastly, another way to make Christmas more affordable and sustainable is by upcycling ornaments. One way to do this is to trade the ornaments you already own with your friends and family. As they say, one man’s trash is another’s treasure! And, if you don’t want to part ways with your existing decorations, you could make your own! Using wood, twine, yarn, cardboard, and other trinkets or scraps you have around your house can be a perfect way to add new, unique ornaments to your tree. Not to mention, this is another fun activity for the whole family to participate in. By doing these things, you’ll help in the effort to reduce factory production of tree decor worldwide.
The Earth is mourning, and we need to do all we can to prevent the climate crisis from continuing. These efforts will not only bring new joy to your holiday, but give the Earth a breath of fresh air. Spread the word about our eco-friendly Christmas cheer, and hopefully we can be a little closer to achieving peace on Earth!