Five Hidden Holiday Emissions

1. Not travel, but food.
According to a study outlined by “Flights for a 10-day jaunt from the UK might emit 102kg of greenhouse gases,” while “the carbon footprint of a person’s food consumption could eclipse that figure, reaching 110kg worth of emissions.” And yes that considers food waste (something we talked about in our Food Kit post). Read the full article.

2. Paper (Real) or Plastic Tree? has a great explainer video as to why real trees are much more climate friendly, especially locally grown ones! “Often produced and shipped from China, [artificial trees] also have a hefty carbon footprint — to the tune of up to 88lbs of CO2 per artificial tree, which is over 10X higher than that of a sustainably grown, properly recycled real Christmas tree.”

3. Returning Aunt Gladys’ Weird Gift

“Shipping returned inventory across the United States generates an estimated 15 million tons of carbon emissions every year, the equivalent of three million cars’ annual emissions.” States a FastComany article on the topic. Their solutions include: destigmatizing gift lists, gifting consumables not clutter, say no to clothes, be careful on Black Friday, and plan a gift swap or return an item in-store (vs. shipping). Get the full rundown here.

4 + 5. Ribbons, bows, and all that glitters.

Popular Mechanics points out that some of the most ubiquitous parts of the holidays have a huge impact. Regarding wrapping paper: “more than 226,800 miles of wrapping paper are tossed during the holidays. That’s enough paper to wrap around the planet nine times.” And lights: “the amount of carbon dioxide generated by Christmas lights each year could power 15,500 hot air balloons.” The take home? Recycle the paper (no glitter!) or use non-virgin materials. (My dad always used the Sunday funnies.) Lights? Opt for low-consumption LEDs. The full scoop, here.


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