12 CHRISTMAS ECO TIPS FROM WWF
The garbage cans are chuck full after New Year. In Western Europe and in the United States the amount of waste during Christmas and New Year holidays increases by 25-30%. There is no data on Russia, but, according to rough estimates of experts, they are close to American and European.
WWF-Russia offers simple ways to reduce this negative "contribution" and at the same time to increase the joy of the holidays:
1. Choose only useful and necessary gifts
From year to year public opinion polls show that gifts that people want and those that they receive for New Year are not the same. For example, men mostly want to get a smartphone, and women want to travel. However, Russians plan to give cosmetics, chocolate and books instead. By giving such an "unwanted" gift, people contribute to the excessive consumption that leads to the depletion of the Planet's resources.
Such popular gifts as shower gel, shampoo or other "bathing" substances are not only the most banal solutions, but also a threat to nature because of the surfactants contained in them.
Unnecessary electrical appliances also harm the environment. It is also possible to save on unnecessary plastic toys, tinsel and other environmentally unfriendly home decorations. Most likely, just after the holidays all these presents go directly to trash, causing even greater damage to nature.
WWF recommends to combine budgets by groups (for example, relatives, colleagues, or friends) to make each of those one meaningful gift that will really be needed, benefitial and will serve for many years.
2. Make nice meaningful gifts
Choosing a charitable gift, for example, from the WWF Christmas display, you will not only impress the loved one, but will also do good and important deed. All collected funds will be spent on Russian nature preservation projects. A real bestseller of this december is a new "Uncozy sweter". An enchanting polar owl, cute snow leopard, charismatic Atlantic walrus, charming brown bear and many other plush animals will not only enchant you, but will also help their brethren in the wild. Here you can find fashionable canvas eco-bags, emblematic bracelets and Christmas toys from Altai craftmen. WWF will carefully pack your gift and deliver it to your shipping address (yours or your friend's). Everyone who buys a charity gift becomes a supporter of the World Wildlife Fund and receives a personal certificate, a booklet and a Panda badge in addition to the gift.
3. Make gifts with your own hands
Another variant of an eco-friendly and special gift is a hand-made gift. For example, you can make some bath salt or a body scrub, bake Christmas gingerbread men or pandas, make a fruit cocktail, pour it in bottles and stick labels with wishes on them. Thousands of wonderful and simple ideas for homemade gifts can be found on the Internet.
Moreover, everyone has talents that friends dream to adopt. For example, you can be good at speaking Spanish or in juggling, and your friends have wanted to learn how to do it. You promise them to help, but it never comes. Give them a certificate for a few lessons conducted by you.
4. Use an eco-friendly gift packaging
If you buy a wrapping paper, give preference to the FSC certified paper or a kraft paper. If you have some free time before the holidays, you can make a wrapping paper by yourself and get rid of extra waste paper at the same time. A beautiful wrapping paper can be produced from almost any patches and scraps (from newspapers, notebooks, albums, printer sheets, napkins, cardboard). Production technologies of these kinds of wrapping paper are described in detail on the Internet.
5. Send a beautiful e-card
Many people think that expensive cards from recycled paper are environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, nowadays all these cards are produced abroad. They come to Russia from other countries, so they have a fairly high "carbon footprint" because of CO2 emissions related to their transportation. However, if you want to give a paper card, you can make it yourself (for example, from glossy magazines with Christmas trees or in quilling technique). The most eco-friendly option is to send beautiful WWF e-cards.
6. Do not buy a plastic Christmas tree
Contrary to popular belief," real " New Year tree is much more environmentally friendly than plastic. During production and transportation of artificial wood a lot of CO2 gets in the air. Finally, the plastic degrades in landfills for a long time. There will be less impact on the environment from the use of a real tree. It is better to purchase a cut tree in specialized areas: at Christmas markets, in shops etc. There you have to ask to show the documents on trees. The main thing is not to buy trees from private sellers as these trees are likely to have been cut illegally. After the holidays you can "extend" life of your tree: make plant stakes from branches, make a bath infusion, a hair mask, mattress fillers or even a pasta from the cold from needles. There are three environmentally friendly options: to dress a real New Year tree growing in the yard, to buy a tree in a pot and to replant it afterwards in an allotment garden or to make "a tree" from makeshift materials.
7. Make Christmas toys yourself
The most important thing of the holidays is not the consumption, but vivid impressions. New Year will become more rememberable for your children, if they do not only dress the New Year Tree, but will also make handmade toys. For example, very simple toys for the little ones can be made from orange peel, and for older children there are toys like snowmen from bottle caps, balls of bright thick paper, snowflakes, angels and cookies in form of Christmas tree. There are many detailed instructions and thousands of other original ideas around the web.
Do not forget to turn off electric lights when you are not in the room in order to save energy!
8. Responsible approach to the purchase of products
Plan your Christmas menu in advance and make all purchases at once. Then you will be able to buy bigger quantities of products instead of a large number of small packages, and not only to save money and time, but also to produce less garbage.
In addition, try to plan the New Year menu so that you can mainly use local products. Diced tomatoes from Moscow region are more environmentally friendly than imported fresh tomatoes from the Netherlands, as the greenhouse gases emissions during the delivery to the store are much less. Instead of buying plastic water bottles, filter your water. If you want to buy fish for your New Year's table, choose it responsibly, according to WWF's Handbook " Do you know what you are buying?".
9. Cook fewer perishable dishes and use leftovers
According to some experts, about 40% of all purchased products in the world are not consumed, but thrown to the rubbish bin. It is very often that after the celebration of the New year there are dishes that nobody wants to eat. However it is impossible keep many of them for a long time, for example, Salade Olivier (Russian salad) or Russian dressed herring. So eventually all these dishes are thrown away. We suggest not to prepare these dishes in advance, but instead to make small portions for each person. If you are concerned that one of the guests stays hungry, prepare more dishes that can be kept for a long time or can be refrigerated.
If you still have some extra products after the celebration, use them to prepare new dishes! For example, you can make garlic crackers or English bread sauce from dry bread. You can make a salad from olives, cheese, meat and vegetable slicing, adding some dressing there. You can also bake quiche from extra food that is left, as this French dish originated for this purpose. Quiche can also be prepared from unusual products like sprat or boiled potatoes.
10. Do not throw away unwanted gifts
Some of your friends or relatives definitely will not read WWF New Year tips before the holidays and will buy you an unnecessary gift. Do not throw it away immediately. There are many communities in social networks, such as "giveaway for free", "buy-sell-exchange", as well as websites like avito.ru, where you can give, donate or sell needless things to those who need them. Moreover, needless things can bring a lot of benefits and joy to wards of charitable foundations such as " The joy of old age " (https://starikam.org/) for example.
11. Be vigilant when buying sturgeon roe
More than half of the annual sale of black caviar in Russia is attributable to the New Year period, up to 80% of this is an illegal poaching product. If you want to delight yourself and your loved ones buying this delicacy, make sure that the product is legal and was produced on a fish farm. Buying illegal caviar can disrupt already endangered population of this prehistoric fish. Despite the catastrophic situation of the sturgeon population, large-scale poaching continues to destroy sturgeons.
Illegal products are presented in expensive restaurants or in salespoints of large distribution networks. At the same time, illegal fish and caviar never meet hygiene requirements and food safety and may pose a threat to life and health.
Although 5 years ago it was almost impossible to buy legal black caviar, nowadays it is not a problem. The most important thing is to know how to distinguish illegal caviar from legal. Russians help to reduce the demand of illegal product by buying legal black caviar and supporting its producers. WWF released a leaflet with tips how to choose a legal and high-quality caviar.
12. And finally, if you still do not have the Christmas mood, take a look at the drawings of artists that were created during a december art-marathon especially for WWF-Russia.
And remember that the main thing of the holidays is not
the consumption, but the joy and kindness around! World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
wishes you a Happy New Year and a Merry Christmas!