Tis the Season to Go Green
This entry was posted on December 12, 2013.
Whether you’re an ethical eco-warrior or you’re looking to start making small environmentally-friendly changes in your lifestyle, our special Sustainable.co.za Christmas guide will help you to make this holiday season a little greener without compromising on the fun or festivities.
Consider the Packaging
Most of us have those childhood memories of sitting around the Christmas tree, surrounded by a flurry of wrapping paper as we excitedly tear our way through our presents. However, most of this beautiful gift wrap ultimately ends up in the bin, which, to be honest, is a bit of a waste of both money and trees.
- If you’re feeling creative, why not make your own gift wrap? With so many craft supply stores selling stamps, ink pads and a whole range of items to prettify your creations, you can add a personal touch whilst avoiding excess wastage. We recommend using newsprint or recycled paper, and you can even get the kids involved!
- Gift bags are a much better option than wrapping paper, since you can actually reuse and regift them, instead of throwing them away.
- Recycle all the Christmas wrapping from the gifts that you receive, and encourage others to do the same.
Light up the Season
Many people love to adorn their Christmas trees with colourful twinkling lights – and for those who take the festive season very seriously, you will also find all kinds of delightful (pun intended) decorations in the garden, outside the house and wherever else they can possibly find space.
However, all these light-up decorations can become a drain on your electricity, and we’re all about reducing consumption. Here at Sustainable.co.za, we have a range of LED Christmas lights that use a fraction of the energy of traditional bulbs. Whether you’re looking for fairy lights or rope lights, multicoloured lights or white lights – our wide range of festive items will have something to suit your needs.
This season, we encourage you to shop local and support artisans, crafters and other producers. Items that are made and bought locally have a lower carbon footprint, since they haven’t travelled as far as other products brought in from overseas.
There are so many craft markets taking place in cities all across South Africa – you’re sure to find a unique, handmade item for the special people in your life. Make special note of the Cape Town Summer Market, which will run from 14–30 December 2013 in the Company’s Garden from 12pm to 11pm. With over 200 stalls selling a range of goodies, a food court and live entertainment, this market is set to be great fun for the whole family.
The Great Christmas Tree Debate
There are some fiercely raging battles occurring in hidden corners of the internet, debating the merits of artificial versus real Christmas trees. Most experts have concluded, however, that there is minimal difference between the two in terms of environmental impact.
Artificial trees are usually made in China, from petroleum-based PVC. They can also last many years, saving you money and petrol, as you don’t have to drive around each year looking for just the right one. Once disposed of in a landfill, however, they also take a very long time to break down.
Real trees are usually grown on farms, where pesticides/herbicides may be used. However, they have to be grown, chopped down and purchased every year. Once they have served their purpose, these trees are often turned into mulch.[According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans purchased 24.5 million live Christmas trees and 10.9 million artificial trees in 2012.]
If you can’t choose between them, then why not go for a completely different option? Christmas trees made out of twigs/branches appear to be quite fashionable at the moment – and they’re eco-friendly to boot! You could also buy a potted plant or tree, and then decorate it. Once Christmas is over, you can plant it outside. (Provided it’s not an indoor specimen, of course.)
Think. Eat. Save
This year’s theme for World Environment Day was Think. Eat. Save – we need to consciously make an effort to reduce food wastage – particularly on a day of excess such as Christmas. Avoid over-catering – cook enough food to comfortably feed all your guests without having so many leftovers that they’ll end up going green in the fridge. Also refrain from over-indulging – do you really need lamb, gammon, chicken and that hybrid monstrosity known as turducken? If you do end up with excess food, please make a plan to donate it to a shelter or those in need.
The Christmas Spirit
With the excitement of holidays, family gatherings and presents, let’s not forget the more serious message underlying the festive season. Henry David Thoreau once said “What is the use of a house if you don't have a decent planet to put it on?”, and this quote is more relevant than ever amidst the rampant Christmas consumerism. We’ve only got one planet, and the greatest gift we can give to one another is to live carefully, sustainably and ethically, preserving the natural wonders and resources for future generations.
Have a safe, green, and merry Christmas, from all of us at Sustainable.co.za.