Environmental Impact of Christmas


Wishing all my readers a Happy Christmas and my best wishes for 2012!

The Australian Conservation Foundation have estimated the environmental impact of Christmas in Australia and it is not a pleasant prospect with their alcohol consumption over the season responsible for 42,000 Olympic sized swimming pools of water and 780 ktonnes of CO2 produced from the manufacture of electrical appliance bought in December.

Below, are some ideas and research to help you minimise the impact of your own festive activities.

10:10’s christmas card maker will generate your e Christmas cards, and Huffington Post provide some ideas for low impact Christmas decorations.

If you are interested in the question of which has the lowest environmental impact, then PE INTERNATIONAL has recently completed a peer reviewed LCA study in the US, which showed that the impacts of both were small in comparison with a family’s overall carbon footprint and neither was particular preferable. If you want to minimise your Christmas tree’s impact, then use an artificial tree for as long as possible, dispose of either type of tree sensibly (see below) and try to source your tree locally. Other studies, such as that by ellipsos in Canada, found the artificial tree would have higher impact (20 years of use were required for the natural tree option to be worse for climate change).

But if you are not enamoured of real or artificial trees, then take a look at the following links for some amazing images of trees using recycled materials, bicycles, bottles, shopping trolleys…:

And at the end of the festive season, follow the links for information on what to do with your tree and other Christmas waste.

Merry Christmas!

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About constructionlca

Co-author Green Guide to Specification, expert in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), EPDs and sustainability for the construction materials sector Works for thinkstep, but these are my views. Tweets as @constructionlca
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