Christmas is ruining the Earth

Sophomore+Izzy+Eulenhoefer+says+she+is+%22so+surprised+that+there+is+so+much+waste+during+the+holidays%22+as+she+gestures+to+a+trash+can+with+photoshopped+wrapping+paper.+-+photo+by+Audrey+Flynn

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Sophomore Izzy Eulenhoefer says she is "so surprised that there is so much waste during the holidays" as she gestures to a trash can with photoshopped wrapping paper. - photo by Audrey Flynn

Audrey Flynn

 Shining light on the true environmental footprint of the holiday season

Some might say that Christmas is one of the best times of the year, and I would have to agree. I absolutely love all the food, fancy lights, Christmas cards, and of course all the festive wrapping. Everyone seems to be so happy and excited for the holidays, except for one… our Mother Earth! With all the Christmas spirit it’s easy to forget all the waste that builds up and gets thrown out. For instance, according to The Waste Solution Foundation, for just Christmas cards alone, out of 2.65 billion Christmas cards that are purchased, over half are are thrown in the trash during the season.

VHS trash bins with photo shopped holiday tree and presents. Graphic by: Audrey Flynn

With tons of trash and pollution scattered over the world I wonder if other students that go to Ventura High School are aware of how environmentally impactful this amount of trash is? What can we do about this important tragedy? Stop sending loving Christmas cards? I guess this environmental disaster might be trickier to solve than I thought. But with around 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper being used and thrown away every Christmas, I think we need to find a solution fast. There must be a better way then just to quit wrapping our gifts. 

I talked to some current students at VHS to see if they have any innovative ideas to reduce this culesul amount of waste. Sophomore Eden Harnar stated, “We can use recycled or recyclable wrapping paper, reusable items as gifts for people, and even make DIY [do it yourself] decorations instead of buying decorations you can just throw away.” To me this sounds like a fabulous idea. If we can reduce and become aware of the amount of plastic we use in wrapping, gifts, and decorations I am sure if we do this, the quantity of unrenewable and nonrecyclable trash will decrease drastically. But will people actually start paying attention to the number of trash bound items they’re buying this holiday season? I think they should!

Sophomore Izzy Eulenhoefer says she is “so surprised that there is so much waste during the holidays” as she gestures to a trash can with photoshopped wrapping paper. – photo by Audrey Flynn

     Sophomore Izzy Eulenhoefer stated, “I think it’s important not to use wasteful products during the Christmas season because there is too much waste being produced. We tend to waste more energy/items than usual because of wrapping paper, plastic bags for gifts, and the energy from the lights that are considered ‘essentials’. I think it’s important not to waste because it will sustain our Earth and keep our environment green.” I agree with this statement. I didn’t even think about how much energy we are wasting from all the Christmas lights that are turned on. 

  As I continue to think about what we can do to help our Mother Earth during the holiday season, the solutions seem simpler and simpler. If students and their families use recyclable wrapping and packages, be cautious of how much plastic they’re buying, and possible switch their old iridescent Christmas lights to LED, we could save so much waste! So please, focus on conserving and reducing waste this season, even if it means buying one less plastic decoration, or recycling one more paper bag. By doing this we’ll give the Earth the best Christmas present ever.