How to go green this Christmas in Ashby - and still enjoy what is a magical time of the year

By Guest author

11th Dec 2023 | Opinion

Ashby's Christmas Tree - sponsored by Fishers Solicitors - looks spectacular in Market Street. Photos: Ashby Nub News
Ashby's Christmas Tree - sponsored by Fishers Solicitors - looks spectacular in Market Street. Photos: Ashby Nub News

Ashby de la Zouch Town Councillor, TOM STANLEY, provides his monthly environmental column, and has some tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint this Christmas

The festive season is now well and truly here, and as with any celebration comes an environmental cost.

According to research in 2007 for the Stockholm Environment Institute, the average person could create as much as 650 kg of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

This is 5.5 per cent of the average person's annual carbon footprint and equivalent to the weight of 1,000 Christmas puddings.

Yet there are things we can all do to minimise this impact while still enjoying this magical time of year - and potentially saving some money too.

If you look online, bodies such as the Carbon Trust have lots of hints and tips on things to do.

But for this article I just wanted to touch on Christmas trees where we have many options, but can make choices to greatly reduce the environmental impact whilst still having a stunning centrepiece to a festive home.

Firstly, when it comes to Christmas trees, an artificial tree can surprisingly be better than buying a real tree if it is used each year for at least a period of seven years.

Though the Carbon Trust has noted this impact ignores the cost of creating the artificial tree which is an energy intensive process.

For those of us who buy a real tree, try to buy local and look to see if the tree is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

This certificate shows the tree has been grown sustainably. As with most purchases, local often has a lower environmental impact and, of course, it supports local jobs.

The ultimate way to have a low carbon tree is to buy a potted tree with roots, which can be planted out into a garden after Christmas, though this relies on you having the space in your garden to plant the tree out at the start of 2024.

After Christmas, try to avoid sending trees to landfill as they give off methane gas while decomposing - and this is 25 times worse for the environment than carbon dioxide.

Likewise, try not to burn the tree on a bonfire as this simply releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere that was originally absorbed by the tree whilst growing.

Instead aim to either turn the tree into chippings to use on your garden which reduces the carbon footprint by up to 80 per cent.

Or you could let the district council or a local charity take it away to be composted.


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