How to Avoid Drowning in Holiday Garbage

Deck the halls with eco-cheer! Alfonso de la Vega Rivera warns of a 30% surge in waste during Mexico's Christmas season. His recipe for a greener holiday? Local gifts, LED lights, and natural trees. Ditch the disposables, unwrap a sustainable celebration.

How to Avoid Drowning in Holiday Garbage
LED lights not only sparkle but also save energy, making your holiday merry and eco-friendly.

As the Christmas season descends upon us like a festive avalanche, there's more to worry about than just perfecting that awkward family photo for the annual holiday card. According to Alfonso de la Vega Rivera, the deputy director of Sustainable Campuses at the University Coordination for Sustainability of the UNAM, the merriment and mayhem of the Mexican Christmas holidays bring with them a less-than-cheery consequence: a dump-truck load of waste and pollutants.

Move over, Grinch. It turns out, we might be our worst environmental enemy during the holidays. Picture this: 16 thousand tons of garbage daily in Mexico City during the holiday season. That's like turning Santa's sleigh into a landfill daily. Apparently, we're not just stuffing our faces with tamales; we're also stuffing landfills with the fallout of our festive excess.

But hey, it's not just about the trash; it's also about the glow-up. Literally. De la Vega Rivera warns us that our collective obsession with twinkling lights and glittery decorations causes a 30 percent spike in electricity consumption. Forget chestnuts roasting on an open fire; we're burning through enough electricity to power a small country just to give the neighbors a reason to squint at our festive lawn inflatables.

And speaking of chestnuts, let's talk about the food waste. Apparently, we're flinging away food like it's confetti at a New Year's Eve bash. A staggering 40 percent of the food ends up in the trash, probably because we're too busy debating the merits of fruitcake to notice Uncle Javier sneaking another plateful onto his already overloaded tray.

But fear not, dear revelers, for Alfonso de la Vega comes bearing the gift of wisdom. He's like the Ghost of Christmas Sustainability, urging us to plan our purchases and parties with the precision of Santa mapping out his global gift delivery route.

Firstly, he suggests buying local, avoiding the allure of those big-box retailers that may lack a sprinkle of ethical pixie dust. Support the little guys, folks! And remember, a gift wrapped in a little less guilt is always a winner.

Online shopping gets a wag of the sustainability finger too. Sure, it's convenient, but every package delivered to your doorstep has a carbon footprint that's likely larger than Santa's boot print. So, maybe consider trading that overnight delivery for a slightly more patient approach. Your carbon karma will thank you.

And let's not forget the magic words: reusable, not disposable. De la Vega Rivera is on a mission to save us from the tyranny of single-use items. Say no to disposable cutlery, and for the love of the North Pole, avoid bottled beverages like they're made of melted snowman tears.

Now, onto the twinkling temptations. Less is more, they say. So, feel free to sprinkle a dash of moderation on your holiday decorations. Reuse those tinsel-laden relics from holidays past and embrace LED lights, the eco-warrior's weapon of choice. They're not just a glow-up for your home; they're a beacon of hope for the polar bears.

But our sustainability savior has more to say about decorations. Turns out, hay and moss aren't just festive garnishes; they're also temperate forest dwellers who didn't sign up for a starring role in your holiday tableau. Opt for decorations that won't contribute to the environmental equivalent of a holiday hangover.

And speaking of hangovers, let's talk Christmas trees. De la Vega Rivera has a tree-hugging agenda, and we're all invited. Natural trees, he claims, are the true heroes of the holiday season. They don't just absorb carbon dioxide like festive sponges; they also support local economies. Forget the plastic impostors that travel more than a touring rock band; embrace the authenticity of locally grown trees.

It's not just about saving the environment; it's about giving back to those who nurture the greenery. Mexican communities and ejidos dedicate six to ten years cultivating these arboreal wonders. That's dedication, folks! Not to mention, it's an economic boost for local producers.

And don't even get him started on plastic trees. Most of them hail from far-off lands like China and India, carrying synthetic baggage that doesn't play well with Mother Earth. When their artificial glow fades, they end up in landfills or, worse, turned into a fiery spectacle in open-air incineration, creating pollution grand enough to make even the most environmentally apathetic elf cringe.

So, as the holiday jingle bells ring, let's make a pact to deck the halls with more than just boughs of holly. Let's infuse our celebrations with a dash of sustainability. After all, if Santa can travel the world in one night, surely we can manage a little greener holiday cheer.

This Christmas, let's gift the planet the present of a more sustainable celebration. Who knows, maybe next year we'll get on Mother Nature's “Nice” list.