Sustainable Christmas Reflection

Merici College Christmas Tree along Limestone Avenue, Braddon

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

While the holidays are a time for gifts and gathering, they are also overflowing with single-use plastic packaging that pollutes our communities, our environment, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

Disposable decorations are some of the worst holiday offenders. If a decoration is not compostable or recyclable, it will most likely end up in landfill. Although decorations are used for a short period, their imprint long outlasts their usefulness. 

In particular tinsel is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film and coated with a metallic finish, making it one of the most harmful decorations. Greenpeace USA calls PVC “the poison plastic” because it releases toxic chemicals throughout its lifecycle that build up in the water, air, and food chain, which causes severe health problems. 

Another dangerous holiday decoration is artificial snow which is often made from ground-up polystyrene. Not only is the material an environmental pollutant, it is possibly carcinogenic. Both spray-on snow and fake snow powder are dangerous for your health and therefore best avoided. 

Christmas baubles are often made from blown glass, blown plastic, or expanded polystyrene, which are nonbiodegradable materials. Instead of purchasing store-bought ornaments, you can fashion your own, for example with pinecones or edible treats.


Felicity Maher


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