7Given the recent interest in all things ‘green’, I find it funny that most people have missed the irony that those running ‘the system’ are still trying to get us to buy more rather than less each and every Christmas…including goods and products that are alleged to be ‘green’, ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘ethical’ etc…!!!

This was no more apparent than last Christmas. When doing my shopping in local emporium, Au Naturale, I was struck to see that environmentally friendly, re-usable shopping bags were being offered as an ethical alternative to other more traditional Christmas presents (in honesty, I can’t remember a time when non-environmentally friendly bags were ever a viable Christmas present but hey, who am I to question). Then shortly after Christmas, when the New Year sales were nearing their timely end, I retuned to Au Naturale to find that hardly any of these bags had been sold (Surprised? Of course not). Instead, they were being offered at the knockdown price of just 25p.

The irony was lost on the bargain hunters because no more than a few months later it is likely that these environmentally friendly waste goods – sold on the back of the ‘green’ revolution – would be making their way to the landfills to take their final resting places alongside all those other non-environmentally friendly waste goods (whether trashed, replaced, unwanted or unsold).

And so this Christmas, if you’re going to purchase an environmentally friendly, green gift, ask yourself: which is better, landfill containing environmentally ‘unfriendly fill’ or landfill containing environmentally ‘friendly’ fill…? The latter might make your conscience feel better but it won’t really achieve much.

The amount of waste we generate each Christmas in Britain alone is shocking. Here are some facts:

Every year we get through an estimated three million tons of rubbish – one tenth of the annual British total. Of this, barely a quarter of jettisoned goods, packaging and uneaten food is recycled, the rest incinerated – chugging pollution into the atmosphere – or dumped in landfill sites where heavy metals seep into the ground.

The ongoing popularity of purchasing or replacing electrical goods – in the form of new iPods, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players, as well as plasma screen televisions – further exacerbates the problem, resulting in the dumping of ridiculously large numbers of obsolete – but working – video recorders, stereo stack systems and CD Walkmans. Not only could many of these be refurbished for use in the Third World, but the numbers mean that Britain is lagging behind the European Union’s waste electrical and electronic equipment directive that seeks to cut the dumping of televisions, computers and other electrical goods.

About one billion Christmas cards, eight million Christmas trees and 750 million more bottles and jars than usual are bought. Despite more than half of these being able to be recycled or composted, most end up going in the bin.

16 million turkeys, 830 million sprouts and 12 million jars of pickles will be purchased. Yet 30-40% of all festive food will be wasted by farmers, shops or families.

Britons will consume the contents of an extra 750 million bottles and 500 million drinks cans, most of which will be thrown out with the rubbish.

Turkey foil wrap alone will create 3,000 tons of waste.

So before purchasing any green or environmentally friendly goods or products this Christmas, bear in mind the consequences of the rest of your actions. Bing Crosby was right, you can definitely dream of a white Christmas but you can’t realistically dream of a green one…!!!

‘The 12 Posts of Xmas’ are a series of posts that will be published between 1 December and 25 December 2008. From tales of woe through humour to mere rants, each post is based around a classic Christmas song and is accompanied by a festive image of times gone by…!!!

Creative Commons License Everything on this site by Chris Allen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. www.chris-allen.co.uk

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