Reduce, re-use, recycle I’m, dreaming of a green Christmas

By Hayden Moore

Christmas can be a difficult time for the environment because it produces an enormous amount of excess waste, and with the recent disconcerting release of the Climate Change Performance Index rankings, it’s time for a call to action.

Over the Christmas period, as everyone is unwrapping their new presents, South Dublin County Council has urged people to think about the environment as we produce a whopping 54kgs in extra packaging per household.

christmas wrapping paperd compressor

Ireland has built up a bad reputation for its attitude towards climate change, and the recent revelations that the state is ranked last in the European rankings has inspired us to make a list on how you can cut down on waste over the holidays, save energy and some money in the process.

1. A great stocking filler this Christmas could be a reusable water bottle or coffee cup, as it is estimated that in Ireland alone, 200 million takeaway cups end up in landfill. Also most coffee shops offer discounts if you bring your own cup.

2. Of course, simple things such as turning your lights off when you walk in and out of rooms are basics – just make sure you turn those Christmas lights off when you’re not at home too. Or if you’re feeling really ambitious, get someone you love a solar panel for Christmas.

3. Of course, enjoy your ham and turkey – or your asparagus, if you’re vegan on the big day – but do cut down on red meat. Studies show that a cow can emit about the same amount of greenhouse gas as a car in a year.

4. The EU made plans at the start of 2018 to have all plastics be recyclable in order to tackle the pollution problem, and some supermarkets are already taking charge with the introduction of non-plastic packaging. Look out for these products and reduce the use of single-use plastic.

5. Avoid products with Palm Oil – Palm Oil is a major environmental problem. It is the world’s most popular vegetable oil and is used in a lot of consumer goods.

The industry plays a large role in human-induced climate change as palm oil plantations have wiped out some of the world’s most expansive forests and decreased the orangutan population in Sumatra and Borneo by over 20,000.

Iceland released an advertisement all about how palm oil is affecting the environment – check it out – it’s haunting.

With the council encouraging everyone to reduce and recycle their festive packaging, SDCC has 62 bring-banks around the county.

See www.sdcc.ie for their locations.

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