Environmentalists’ ideas for an ‘ecological Christmas’

Although the holiday season has been over for some time, environmental organisation Greenpeace Slovensko is offering a few ideas to make future Christmas holidays festive while protecting nature and our environment. Its recommendations and tips cover areas such as purchasing a Christmas tree, choosing gifts, minimising waste, buying food and undertaking the traditional housecleaning before a holiday. Greenpeace is asking people to be more responsible and to also “bestow presents” on our common environment.

Christmas in orphan-house in TrenčínChristmas in orphan-house in Trenčín (Source: TASR)

Although the holiday season has been over for some time, environmental organisation Greenpeace Slovensko is offering a few ideas to make future Christmas holidays festive while protecting nature and our environment. Its recommendations and tips cover areas such as purchasing a Christmas tree, choosing gifts, minimising waste, buying food and undertaking the traditional housecleaning before a holiday. Greenpeace is asking people to be more responsible and to also “bestow presents” on our common environment.

“Christmas is the time of a year when we should not only satisfy our desires about this festive period but also make shopping more environmentally-friendly. Our tips for an ecological Christmas are simple steps that can be good not only for the environment but also for the health and purse of those who give them a try,” Lucia Szabová, spokesperson for Greenpeace Slovensko, told the SITA newswire.

One idea is to buy natural trees or just arrange conifer branches in a vase or decorate a tree planted in a pot. “Artificial trees are usually made from PVC which creates many dangerous substances that contaminate the environment,” Greenpeace said, adding that if an artificial tree is chosen, it recommends ones from alternative materials like polypropylene and to buy a tree made in Slovakia rather than one transported a long distance, like from China. Greenpeace recommends Christmas lights made of LED bulbs that save energy and urges that lights should not be left burning for 24 hours because they unnecessarily consume power.

Other tips offer advice in choosing the right Christmas presents. Greenpeace suggests ecological gifts like wooden toys and items produced from permanently sustainable forests, which are usually marked FSC. Other ecological gifts include clothing made from biological materials, Fair-Trade products and even books and clothing from second-hand stores or bazaars. People can use their own creativity and make gifts from left-over materials as well as give loved ones non-physical gifts such as theatre, cinema, or concert tickets, paying fees for a language or pottery course or a season ticket for a gym or a wellness-weekend, Greenpeace says.

Greenpeace notes that replacing your old household appliances with new ones creates electronic waste. “If you decide to replace an old electrical appliance, don’t throw it in with household garbage but take it to a scrap yard where they collect old used items.” Szabová also added that it is advisable to buy rechargeable batteries for all toys, remote controls and similar items and to forego the purchase of dozens of non-ecological, disposable batteries.

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