What makes Christmas water-intensive?

It’s the most wasteful time of year. Not just for gifts and decorations, but food and water too. The festive period is a time for family and friends, but sadly, over-indulging on items has become far too common. We love the cosy nights and family game fun just as much as anybody else, but we’re aware it can lead to some careless actions. Many of us are wasting water at Christmas, most of the time it’s because we’re not so sure where it’s being used. It’s not always a case of pouring an extra glass from the tap every evening. In this blog, discover what makes Christmas more water-intensive and see where you can make some savings. 

‘Real or no real’ Christmas trees 

The most obvious use of water is on your Christmas tree. Now, before you start to think that this doesn’t involve you because yours is fake – think again. Like most actions we take at home, they can all be made sustainable with a little tweak. 

Initially, a plastic Christmas tree will have a higher water footprint than a real one, making it more harmful to the environment. However, if you use that plastic Christmas tree for 12 years or more, you’ll balance out the impact. So just how sustainable is your fake Christmas tree? Have you made yours last as long as possible? 

Alternatively, watering your real Christmas tree 500 ml daily doesn’t necessarily sound too great for the environment either. Especially when you’ve had to chop it down in order to place it in your home. However, as with most items, there are more sustainable ways to have a real tree in your home if you’re prepared to dig deep. It is possible to replant your Christmas tree and some tree farms will happily do this for you. Alternatively, you can do this yourself, check out the informative instructional video from the Wilderness Wood Team based in East Sussex below. 

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Remember, if you cannot replant your real tree there are Recycling Centres that can help you, there may even be a local scheme that helps a charity by collecting Christmas trees. If you’re unsure how to recycle your Christmas tree, click here

The water footprint of Christmas dinner 

Another big area for wasting water at Christmas comes from the dinner itself. We’ve previously looked at water footprints that are associated with food but Christmas food, as you can imagine, is a whole new level. 

The intense preparation, the mass volume of food to cook, the inevitable waste and the water footprint of all the evening snacks due to be gouged on. All with their own water footprints. As we said, we’re not here to be scrooges and ruin the Christmas fun, but we often ask if there’s a way to manage the fun so that it doesn’t harm the planet. 

Christmas dinner water footprints

So, we took a look at the variety of Christmas dinners that are eaten in the UK and what their water footprints are. As far as we’re concerned, the trimmings of roasties, brussels sprouts, carrots and Yorkshire puddings are a staple. The one element of Christmas dinner we never want to alter – but the meat – that’s a different story. 

To produce 1kg of turkey meat, 4,325 litres of water is used. The same (or thereabouts) can be said for Chicken, Goose, Duck and other types of poultry meat. Pork is slightly more at 5,990 litres and beef nearly triple at 15,415 litres per kilogram.  

When it comes to food, you’ll always reduce a carbon or water footprint simply by avoiding meat. It’s because, in order to ‘grow’ the meat, it must be fed and cared for like a human; and we all know us humans have the biggest impact on the planet of all living creatures. 

When it comes to wasting water at Christmas dinner, try these veggie alternatives: 

No matter how you intend to reduce your water usage at Christmas, make sure you take a look at chocolate too! It has one of the largest water footprints of all with 17,000 litres needed to produce 100 grams. Indulge this festive season, but not so much that you leave the planet dry and desperate for nourishment. It struggles enough during the summer months already. What about making some peppermint creams from the ingredients you have in the cupboard for a sweet treat! If you need any other quick tips on reducing water usage while you spend more time at home over the holidays, check out one of our previous blogs for quick tips at home. 

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