When it comes to decorations, holiday season celebrations are often synonymous with overconsumption. But you can enjoy them guilt-free by decorating your home in an eco-responsible way.
Don't forget to visit recycling and recovery depots and thrift shops: you’ll find lots of second-hand Christmas decorations around.A Christmas tree, baubles, garlands and wrapping paper - our holiday season celebrations often go hand in hand with a shopping frenzy. From the extraction of raw materials to end-of-life via manufacturing processes, transport and distribution, these objects have a serious impact on the environment. So this year why not opt for more durable and minimalist decorations? Here are some tips for a more responsible Christmas!
Artificial or natural - which is best?Every year, 80 million trees are sold in Europe. So is a natural or artificial tree more compatible with the circular economy?
You might think that a plastic tree is a good way of fighting against intensive Christmas tree production. But in fact, plastic trees have a very high carbon footprint, as revealed by an analysis undertaken by the Canadian research company Ellipsos. In addition, there are the harmful chemical compounds and toxic paints used to make them. Keep in mind too that to offset the carbon footprint of an artificial tree it has to be kept for more than twenty years!
Natural conifers are a more sustainable solution. As they grow, they capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And another advantage is that they are grown in Europe, while artificial trees usually come from China, generating significant greenhouse gas emissions from the transport.
Nevertheless, the majority of these trees are grown using phytosanitary products, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides that pollute the groundwater and disrupt the natural fauna and flora.
What’s the best solution if you want to buy a natural Christmas tree? Opt for a tree labelled Plante Bleue or with the AB organic logo. When the holidays are over, don't burn it, but take it to landfill so it can be shredded and later used as compost. Or you could invest in a potted Christmas tree, which you can replant once the holidays are over.
But the most ecological solution is to create your own tree with recycled objects. Pallets, tree branches, books, cardboard boxes... You’ll find lots of tutorials on the Internet that will help bring a touch of magic to your home without damaging the planet. And it’s a great idea when money is tight!
Avoid adding to Christmas decoration wasteAs the holidays approach, stores fill up with garlands, baubles and other decorations. But many of these products are made on the other side of the world, using non-recycled and non-recyclable materials. To give your home a festive atmosphere why not try some authentic and ecological alternatives?
You can go homemade by using twigs, pine cones, holly leaves, cinnamon sticks, or even dried orange peel (baked for 2 hours at 100°C).
If you love baubles and Christmas characters, choose glass or wooden objects. Don't forget to visit the recycling and recovery depots and thrift shops: there’s a plethora of second-hand Christmas decorations available there. And if you can't do without that beautiful garland of lights, opt for LED bulbs! And only turn them on in the evening to save energy...
Make your wrapping more excitingThe holidays also means a great deal of old wrapping paper. Plastic, glitter or metallized paper is often not recyclable. For refined and environmentally friendly solutions, homemade is a good option.
For example, you could wrap your gifts in glass jars or newspaper that your loved ones can then use again. Also try revisiting the tradition of a sock hanging from the fireplace or furoshiki, a Japanese folding technique that will transform a pretty scarf into gift wrap. The advantage? It’s infinitely reusable.
CREDITS: Main picture Noemie Rosset / Veolia