Green IT tips for a sustainable Christmas
02 Dez 2020
It’s almost Christmas. Many are already making preparations: buying presents and thinking about which tree to put in their living room this year. Most people associate this time of year with stress rather than tranquillity and contemplation. Sustainability, too, often takes a back seat. How about approaching things a little differently this year? Here are a few tips for an eco-friendly Christmas.
Comparing Christmas trees – what’s more sustainable, fake or real?
Every year, around 30 million fir trees are sold and then disposed of after the Christmas festivities. In many places, you can deposit your tree at a collection point. And when you get there, you realise just how many Christmas trees there are.
Perhaps you’ve already wondered what type of tree is the most environmentally friendly: artificial Christmas trees – which can be used again every year – or real Christmas trees?
Artificial Christmas trees
In Germany, around 12% of Christmas trees in private households are artificial. Generally, these are replaced with a new artificial tree after just six years. However, for the carbon footprint of a plastic tree to match that of a natural Christmas tree, it must be used for at least 17 years – and that’s not even counting the CO2 emissions for transport and disposing of the tree. Usually these trees are manufactured in China and are made of metal and plastic. This makes them almost impossible to recycle.
Traditional Christmas trees
The carbon footprint of real Christmas trees is, theoretically, much better than that of artificial trees. This is because, while growing, the trees prevent soil erosion, generate oxygen and provide a home for wild creatures.
In reality, however, there are also significant environmental difficulties with real Christmas trees. So it’s worth checking out where your Christmas tree comes from before you buy it. Around 90% of the trees sold in Germany come from our native forests, and are mostly grown in special plantations. To make sure the trees grow nicely, they are regularly fertilised and sprayed with pesticides – making them not especially eco-friendly. Despite these disadvantages, the carbon footprint of a real Christmas tree is, overall, better than that of a plastic tree which will only breakdown after several hundred years.
Certified, locally-grown organic Christmas trees provide an ideal alternative to conventional Christmas trees. There is also the option of borrowing a Christmas tree. The tree is rented in a pot and can be returned after Christmas and planted.
So a real Christmas tree is much better for the environment. Even though plastic Christmas trees can be used again every year, their production, transport and disposal emit large quantities of carbon dioxide. What’s more, their components don’t break down naturally, and they can’t be properly recycled. This means that an artificial Christmas tree is only more environmentally-friendly than a real one if it is used for more than 17 years.
Sustainable Christmas presents
Under the tree: are the presents. Unfortunately, lots of presents are not eco-friendly and even damage the environment and people’s health. But you don’t need to forego the joy of giving – you can already do a lot for the environment when choosing your present. How about approaching things a little differently this year? Take a bit of time to find personal gifts which not only put a smile on the face of your loved ones, but protect the environment too.
- Refurbishing for Christmas presents too:
If you want to give someone a mobile phone or a laptop, then refurbished products are a great alternative. In many ways, refurbished products offer even more advantages than new products, as well as being significantly less expensive and helping to conserve resources.
- Give a wildlife adoption
Unnecessary presents are often bought at the last minute so you don’t have to turn up empty-handed. Instead, why not do something good for the environment with the money you were going to spend? By giving the gift of a threatened species adoption, you can delight nature lovers this Christmas and protect the environment at the same time.
- Tree Voucher
Our Green IT Solution Tip is the Tree Voucher. With this, a tree is planted for just one euro. Trees absorb CO2 and help the climate. The voucher also enables the receiver to plant their tree in a virtual forest with their own name. By the way, we don’t just support this action during the Christmas period. For every switch or router purchased, we donate a tree on behalf of our regular customers.
- Make your own christmas presents
Practical, simple and sustainable: our next present idea is a personally-painted or decorated drinking bottle. We would suggest that there is almost no present which is more original, personal and sustainable. And if this Christmas present is still a bit too modest for you, you can supplement it, for example, with a voucher for an outdoor event you can do together. In this way, the recipient can use the drinking bottle straightaway on the bike tour, hiking trip or mountain tour you gave them
- Shop locally
Many presents bought online already have a long journey behind them, resulting in carbon dioxide emissions. So to keep down your carbon footprint, buy your presents locally and make sure they’re produced sustainably.
Eco-friendly gift wrapping
So you’ve bought all your presents. Now you need to wrap them. Wrapping presents generates a surprising amount of waste. It’s estimated that every year in Germany around 8.7 million kilograms of wrapping paper is used and thrown away after the gift is unpacked. So how can we pack our presents more sustainably?
- When you’re shopping for wrapping paper, keep an eye out for the “Blue Angel” logo. This wrapping paper is made from 100% recycled paper.
- Old newspapers or unwanted books are also great alternatives to conventional wrapping paper.
- Natural wrapping paper from recycled paper is a great way to be creative. You can make the package really special with natural materials or a few decorations.