10 tips for an eco-friendly Christmas

MANILA, Philippines – The Christmas season is a time of celebration, and that usually means more consumption – more food, more shopping, more of everything.

We humans are, however, already using up the resources of one and a half planets, putting tremendous pressure on our biodiversity, according to Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines.

While we need a drastic lifestyle change if we are to save our planet's limited resources, this doesn't mean putting a damper on the party. There's no reason we can't celebrate and save the environment at the same time. In fact, perhaps the best way to celebrate this season of plenty is to give back to Mother Earth.

Here are 10 eco-friendly tips from WWF Philippines on how to have a "green" Christmas:

1. Use LED Christmas lights.

Energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) Christmas lights are 26% more efficient than regular tungsten bulbs. They last longer too! 

2. Buy local products.

It takes much more resources for imported goods to reach our doorsteps. Patronizing local products reduces carbon emissions while boosting the local economy. 

3. Bring an eco-bag when shopping.

An estimated 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are consumed globally every year. This means over a million plastic bags are used each second. Using eco-bags reduces pollution from plastic. 

4. Make your own Christmas cards.

About a million Christmas cards – therefore, 200,000 trees – are produced each December. Why not craft your own from recycled paper or fresh cardboard? A little doodling with some colored pens can bring out your inner artist.

5. Use soy candles.

Yucky petroleum-based Christmas candles constantly pollute the environment when lit. Use soy- or vegetable-based candles instead. They are biodegradable and smoke-free.  

6. Use recycled décor.

With a little tinkering and a touch of creativity, your old bottles, furniture, clothes, and gizmos can be converted into cool Christmas decorations. This is not just cheaper – you’ll also ensure that each piece is unique.

7. Give green gifts.

Why not give away eco-friendly gifts rather than your usual giveaways? You’ll be remembered as both generous and Earth-loving!

8. Go one degree up.

When the party’s getting too cold, you can increase your air conditioner’s thermostat by one degree Celsius. This will leave you feeling comfortable while cutting down the energy bill by as much as 10%.

9. Use recycled paper to wrap gifts.

Printed paper wrappers constitute one of the largest Christmas wastes. Use old magazines, newspapers, or brown paper to wrap gifts. You can also use last year’s ribbons and strings.

10. Buy only what you can finish.

Hosting a Christmas party? Politely ask your guests to minimize leftovers and get only what they can consume. Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted. Minimize waste and your waistline at the same time!

– Rappler.com

Recycled Christmas wrapping image from Shutterstock