As we head into the holiday season, a reminder about where our Christmas decorations are made, and the connection to the Pacific Northwest.

60% of all Christmas decorations are made in Yiwu, a city of 600 factories in China. Many of those decorations are made with plastic. Plastic is made from fossil fuels, more specifically hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) and natural gas. China has proposed building three large methane refineries in the Pacific Northwest to create methanol, which will be shipped to China to make more plastic.

The United States has lots of cheap natural gas right now due to the explosion in fracking in this country, which makes it cheaper for China to buy, refine, and ship from here instead of using their own gas and coal stocks in the western part of China.

I don’t know who took the photographs of the Christmas factories in Yiwu, but they are quite stunning. You can see some of them in this article, and also if you do an image search on google.

For more on the Chinese refineries being planned for the Pacific Northwest, see the most recent Sightline article in their fantastic series on this topic.

And a gentle reminder: if you need Christmas decorations this year, please find used ones! The Facebook groups Buy Nothing Bainbridge and Free On The Rock are great resources to find and swap decorations. Thank you.