By Roddy Langley
This year, have a climate-friendly Christmas
In the UK it is estimated we buy over eight million Christmas trees, send a billion Christmas cards, consume ten million turkeys cooked in 4,200 tonnes of aluminium foil and use enough wrapping paper to cover an area the size of the Lake District. But there is much we can we do to turn our Santa size carbon footprint into an elf-like carbon tiptoe during this festive season.
Most Christmas trees are still just thrown away, generating an estimated 160,000 tonnes of additional rubbish - 21 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower - but many local councils now offer a free collection service from outside your property to recycle the trees for composting. Alternatively you could take your Christmas tree to your local recycling centre, a journey that might first encourage you to start other materials too. A visit to the Recycling Guide will tell you more.
Mobile phones are an increasingly popular Christmas gift but what can you do with the old phone? You could give it to friends or family, return it to the manufacturer who may take back old mobile phones for recycling or send it to the CarbonNeutral Company who will recycle it for you.
Shopping locally, or online, reduces your carbon output by the simple fact you will travel less distance in your car. A unique service offered by AskTheLocal, the UK’s first local shopping search engine, will pinpoint the nearest shop to your postal code that stocks the present you are looking for. The 7.8 million products on their database (November 2006) will prevent a lot of trawling down your local high street.
Online shopping has exploded according to research from SecureTrading and eDigitalResearch which show that sales are currently up 106% on last year, far higher than expected. This year Monday 10th December is expected to be the biggest UK online shopping day ever with generated sales worth £370 million, almost treble the £126 million average day rate for 2007.
You could go even greener by buying climate-friendly presents online. There are plenty of fun and original gifts available this year from a multitude of web sites:
www.naturalcollection.com Natural Collection offers a wide range of eco-friendly products, from clothes to offices supplies, and from household goods to body care.
www.nigelsecostore.com Nigel’s Eco Store sells environmentally friendly products for sustainable living.
www.ethicalsuperstore.com Ethical superstore provides the one-stop-shop for all ethical shopping.
Three climate-friendly gifts caught the eye. The solar powered Powermonkey eXplorer will charge/power more or less any portable device, whether it’s a mobile phone, camera, iPod, or MP3 player, ideal for all trips away from home.
If you’re worried that the sun won’t shine when you go on holiday, Trevor Baylis has now invented the Wind Up Eco Media Player. After just one minute of winding up, the Eco Media Player gives you up to 40 minutes power to listen to music, watch movie clips, tune to FM radio stations or thumb through photo albums - all without external power or environmentally harmful batteries.
Lastly, offset your family’s carbon emissions on Christmas day with a SunJar from the CarbonNeutral Company. The SunJar is automatically charged during the day by the sun and glows at night, and included with each jar purchased is the offsetting of all carbon emissions produced by an average home during Christmas day. All home energy use plus an allowance for relatives coming to visit are offset via two of CarbonNeutral’s climate friendly schemes, a methane capture project in Germany and a wind farm project in India.
May all your Christmases be green!