Green Christmas Cards - For a MAJOR Impact on an Environmentally Friendly Christmas
Since its inception as a tradition in Victorian England, the sending of commercially-printed Christmas Cards has become a tradition in most Western countries. The average household will send out about 30 cards each. That's about 30 billion Christmas cards that are sent out each year! In fact, over 60% of the cards sent in any given year go out during the Christmas season.
Clearly, this represents a massive amount of paper and ink. While cards have become more elaborate over time, using often toxic and non-recyclable “fifth-inks” and foils, the rate of card reuse and recycling has begun to increase in recent years. Making use of a more “green” Christmas card has become very important to ecologically-minded consumers.
Recycled Christmas Cards
Because the rate of paper recycling is relatively high in most communities, there is quite a large amount of post-consumer recycled pulp available to paper manufacturers as of the late-'aughts. As a result, there are many different type of recycled Christmas Cards to choose from, and not just different designs.
This can mean anything from newly printed cards on recycled-paper stock to old Christmas cards that are cut up and reused with fresh backings. One can recycle their own Christmas cards saved from years past into new postcards that also save on envelope paper and postage.
Recycling Christmas Cards Into Other Products
New Christmas cards are only one thing you can make with the ones you save. There are a multitude of things you can recycle last year's greetings into such as kids' jigsaws, coasters, ornaments, finger puppets, Holiday place mats, decorative boxes, gift tags or Christmas collages. This allows for quite a few creative opportunities for children as well as adults, while saving those cards from the landfill.
Using Sustainably Grown Fibres
There are things other than trees that can be used as the basis for your Christmas cards. For example, one company sends out packages of Christmas cards that are made from environmentally-friendly hemp fibres. Another deals in fair-trade Holiday cards that are made from maize wrapper leaves. While some trees are grown on plantations using sustainable methods, most trees that are cut down to make Christmas cards are still sourced from wild forest areas.
One increasingly popular type of sustainable fibre is the use of 100% post-consumer recycled paper that is impregnated with seeds. These growing Christmas cards have the advantage of avoiding the “waste-stream” entirely, by encouraging people to compost their cards and grow a garden that will remind them of the sender all season. While most of these cards are flowers, some of them are even more useful as herb and vegetable seeds.
Ecologically Sound Inks
It's not just the paper that's used with Christmas cards that can cause environmental harm. Many (if not most) inks used in the production of these cards are toxic to make and use. Moreover, when these cards are recycled, what remains after the fibres are taken out is a highly toxic sludge that often ends up in area landfills, eventually contaminating ground-water.
Soy-based inks are the most commonly used type of “green” ink. These replace the petroleum-based inks that have been used for much of the 20th century. These inks, once considered sub-standard by many printers, are now often considered superior. They have the advantage of being nearly 100% biodegradable.
Sending eCards Instead
While they may not be for everyone, you can avoid all the environmental impacts of sending Christmas cards by mailing off virtual ones. Though some people prefer the look and feel of a paper card they can touch and hang up in the home, a great many of the cards that people usually send off can easily be replaced. Increasingly, eCards are an attractive option for businesses and among close family members.
If even half the Christmas cards sent each year were replaced with eCards, some 100,000 trees could be spared, many of them in environmentally sensitive areas. The fuel used to cut, process and transport adds carbon to the atmosphere and the trees that are felled are no longer able to transform carbon dioxide into oxygen.
Links to Green Christmas Cards (I have no association with any of these sites and make no income from any puchases you may make)
- 100 Million UK Christmas Cards to be Recycled in 2008
- Easy Christmas Card Puzzles for Young Children
Fun crafts and other activities for kids and their computer. Dozens of free downloads.
- Why Soy Inks are Even Better for a New Century
Information Staff, Agricultural Research Service, USDA. Communicating news and information about scientific research
- Business-friendly Animated Holiday e-Cards
- Recycle It - Things you can do with old greeting cards
You can make it yourself... craft projects, homemade remedies, recycling crafts, and more.
- Christmas Crafts: Recycled Christmas Card Ornaments
Recycle Christmas cards into delightful Christmas card ornaments in a spherical ball shape.
- Free-trade Maize Husk Christmas Cards
- Green Ecards: Business, Professional, Corporate Greetings and Recognition; Holiday, Thank You, Birth
SaveATreeCards.com provides a quick and easy way to send professional eco-friendly greetings to colleagues, customers and business associates.
- Seed-embedded and Hemp Paper Christmas Cards
THIS HUB IS PART OF A SERIES OFFERING A COMPLETE GUIDE TO A GREEN CHRISTMAS (ECOFRIENDLY CHRISTMAS)
For other hubs in this series, please visit the index hub where you will be able to see all topics in this series and navigate between them.
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by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, and owner of international writing agency www.ExquisiteWriting.com
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