It is estimated that Ireland will generate approximately 90,000 tonnes of packaging waste this Christmas.
In view of that alarming figure, academics at the University College Cork Environmental Research Institute came together recently to dream of a green Christmas and to suggest for your consideration the following ten tips for a more sustainable festive season.
1. Buy a real Christmas tree rather than a fake plastic one. Support your local grower. If demand for real trees continues then they will keep being replanted.
2. Give the gift of a plant or a deciduous tree. Take cuttings from your house plants and pot them up as gifts in some peat-free compost in a recycled or re-usable plant pot.
3. Some 15 million crackers will be pulled in Ireland over Christmas, contributing further unnecessary plastic waste. Consider making your own home-made Christmas crackers using recyclable materials and with better jokes.
4. Domestic solid fuel burning is one of the largest sources of air pollution in Ireland. Consider alternatives to investigate during the New Year.
5. Try to resist buying enough food to feed an army. Support your local farmers' market. Buy Irish and batch cook so that you've more time to enjoy family traditions.
6. Don't fight at the dinner table! With so many negatives about global warming and environmental degradation, try to avoid gloom and doom. Focus on the positive benefits of climate action-it is Christmas after all.
7. Try to reduce your emissions by using your fireplace less. Burning a fuel like coal in your fireplace over the winter produces about one tonne of carbon dioxide causing our climate to change in ways that are not good.
8. Think electric. Look at the electric car options, you can now choose from battery-electric vehicles to plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles to hybrid-electric vehicles.
9. When buying presents look at their plastic wrapping, try to avoid toys or other gifts that would increase the amount of plastic waste you generate.
10. Feed the birds. This Christmas leave the gift of water and the correct food out for our feathered friends.
Most people have more free time over the festive season so when the opportunity arises and the weather is fine do wrap up well and get out for a long winter walk on your local Nature Trail be it a forest walk, beach, hillside or local amenity.
Wishing you and yours a very happy and great Christmas.