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Transcript

12 Days of Sustainability

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In the US, people create 25% more waste in the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of the year. Do your part and give the gift of a clean planet this year by celebrating sustainably with these helpful tips!*

*Note: within these tips are links embedded into the pictures that will take you to more helpful sources when clicked

  • Tip #11 Christmas Crackers
  • "Every year, 40 million Christmas crackers are thrown away each year – lined up end to end this equates to 1,220 Mount Everests stacked on top of each other. "
  • Some crackers contain non recyable material like: Glitter, foil, plastic and ribbon
  • The flimsy prizes inside are often thrown out
  • Consider:
  • Buying reusable christmas crackers
  • Making your own

Tip #1: Getting the TreeBoth plastic & real trees increase our carbon footprint. In order to be more sustainable consider:

  • An artificial tree used over multiple years (7-20 times depending on the weight and different materials in the tree) is better for the environment than buying a new tree every year.
  • For real trees, those that are slow-grown and use no fertilizer are preferable to those intensively grown. Check to see if it is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which ensures minimal fertiliser is used. Or e Rent-a-tree when possible
  • Potted trees (with roots) are able to be re-used, spreading the carbon footprint over multiple years and potentially avoiding transport emissions, making them a more sustainable option if you’re after a real Christmas tree.
  • Re-use the stand or pot you buy for your real tree for as many years as possible !

Tip #9: Go digital/Buy less

  • Practice quality over quanity when buying gifts this year (People will appreciate getting one thing that they really wanted!)
  • For large families: Try doing secret santa this year to save money and reduce waste
Go digital by:
  • Sending cards and invitations electronically
  • Send out electronic gift cards as the plastic waste produced by the physical ones are harmful to the environment (digital giftcards can be purchased at major retailers like walmart.com or target.com)

Tip #12 Disposing of the Tree:Real trees:

  • Do NOT burn the trees as it emits greenhouse gases
  • Flocked trees cannot be recycled
  • Plant potted trees for reharvest next year
  • Check local community pages for Tree return events
  • Use pickup services by companies like the TDS (Texas Disposal Services) that recycle the tree for you
  • use the wood for crafts or mulch
Plastic Trees:
  • Use your tree for as many years as posible
  • Get Crafty! cut-off branches can be used for DIYs such as wreath making
  • Donate if in decent condition
  • If possible recyle it ( Many recycling centers will accept the metal base and pole at minimum)

Tip #7 Plastic Decorations

  • "Traditional tinsel and baubles made of plastic or glass to decorate Christmas trees aren’t eco-friendly, as most can’t be recycled."
  • These decorations are only sustainable if reused every year
Try:
  • Making ornaments from dried fruits and flowers
  • Making edible ornaments
  • wooden ornaments
  • Use Eco-friendly tinsel
  • Upcycle old ornamnets

Tip #8: Travel

  • Use public transport when possible
  • Trains over planes as they emit less pollution
  • Pack light as weight contributes to the amount of fuel used in transportation
  • Take the "Leave No Trace" approach whem visiting natural sites
  • Research tours and attractions beforehand to ensure they're making sustainable practices
  • Stay in sustainable lodging with the aid of cites like Fairbnb and Responsible travel

Tip #4: Packaging/Amazon

  • "packaging is the largest application field for plastics, which accounts for about 40% of the global total yield of plastics"
  • Most plastic packaging ends up in landfills and takes years to break down!
  • If prompted when online shopping reduce packaging
  • Return your plastic packaging through return programs like Amazon's packaging recycle program
  • When mailing gifts go for cardboard or recycable packaging when able!

Tip #10: Plastic dinnerware & Tupperware

  • Due to contamination concerns, plastic cultery is not recyled (yes, even if you put it in recyling)
  • "Each year 40,000,000,000 plastic forks, spoons, and knives are used and thrown away each year."
  • Consider using bamboo dinnerware when looking for disposables
  • Thick plastic (like tupperware) can take up to 500 years to decompose
  • Use glass, bamboo or stainless steel containers when packing leftovers

Tip #3: Buy Local

  • Buying local reduces the carbon footprint by reducing transportation and in some cases, plastic packaging
  • Look for Farmer's markets or holiday markets being held in your community
  • Home-made gifts are also great ways to reduce emissions

Tip #2 Christmas CardsIn the UK alone an estimated 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown out annually

  • Upcycle gifted careds by turning the image or words into gift tags for next year
  • Recycle paper parts of cards
  • Frame or collage memorable messages from cards
When giving cards:
  • Avoid glitter
  • Avoid musical elements as they just end up in a landfill.
  • Avoid cards with additional non-recyclable bits
  • Consider making a homemade card with matterials such as: watercolor, cardstock, and glue
  • Buy/Make a card embedded with seeds for planting

Tip #6: Wrapping Paper

  • "The United States produces an estimated 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper each year, about 2.3 million pounds of which end up in landfills"
  • Some wrapping paper/giftbags is recyclable but not all!
  • If it is: glittery, metallic, laminated, is dyed, has ribbons or bows it can NOT be recyled
  • Consider the following wrapping alternatives:
  • Wrap gifts in newspaper (the comics are a great choice!)
  • Use scrap fabric to wrap gifts (a great way to upcycle clothing!)
  • Reuse gift wrap for gift tags
  • Use Kraft paper
  • save and reuse gift bags

Tip #5: LightsIn addition to landfill waste, lights create light pollution which effects wild life behavior!

  • Both indoor and outdoor lights can interrupt your sleep cycle (in addition to running up the electric bill!)
  • parts of the Earth are up to 50% brighter during the weeks between U.S. Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
  • These lights waste a lot of energy
  • Use LED lights as they are the least harmful on the environment
  • Do NOT recycle christmas lights in your bin. bring them to places like home depot or your local recycling center for proper disposal
  • Consider signing up for the Christmas Source Recycling program!