Christmas is often the most wonderful time of the year for us, but not our environment. From food to wrapping, our wastage is staggering. It’s estimated in the UK alone we go through 125,000 tonnes of plastic food wrapping over the festive season – that’s a lot of plastic! Despite ‘increased consumption’ over the festive period, around 54 million plates of food go to waste during December.
Christmas presents shouldn’t cost the earth. From buying locally to choosing sustainable products (and avoiding companies that aren’t eco-friendly), there are plenty of ways to show your loved ones, and the planet, a little love this Christmas.
1. Think outside the box with gifts
Want to get someone a gift voucher? Why not email one or put the money with a nice message inside an envelope. Does someone you know always use single use water bottles? Why not get them a reusable one? Want to get someone some bathbombs? Check out lush! There are loads of ways to get your loved ones gifts that doesn’t cost you or the environment extra.
2. Choose the right wrapping paper
In the UK, we roughly use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper during the festive season. It’s not common knowledge that a lot of wrapping paper can’t be recycled because of certain elements such as glitter or foil, that’s a lot of paper going to landfill. Try changing to recyclable paper such as brown parcel paper (it’s cheaper too!) or check out sites like Re-Wrapped that produce 100% recyclable paper.
3. Send forest friendly cards
Look for the FSC on cards when you buy them, this means the paper used was produced sustainably and ethically. If you want to use a local vendor, double check with them if their products can be recycled. ‘Planting Cards’ are also growing in popularity, Wildflower Papers has a brilliant range of seed packet cards that the recipient can plant in spring. Not on the High Street’s illustrated cards embedded carrot seeds are as cute as they are eco-friendly.
4. Buy your food from the right places
Use your annual festive feast as an opportunity to show your support local small scale producers. Source your meat from a local butcher meaning you’ll use less miles but also know where your meat is coming from. Check out local farmers markets or grocers for your vegetables and fruit, you’ll use less plastic and be support local vendors. Don’t throw away your leftovers!
5. Don’t throw out leftovers!
Let’s be honest, we always have leftovers after Christmas Dinner. Instead of throwing it out, save what you can and pop it in the freezer or try to finish in over the next couple of days instead of buying more food. If you have left over sealed food that you want to get rid of, donate it to local food banks – they’re always looking for donations.
6. Swap to LED Christmas lights
If every UK household swapped a string of incandescent lights for its LED equivalent, we could save more than 29,000 tonnes of C02 over the ’12 Days of Christmas’. LED’s use up to 80% less energy, meaning they’re not just more environmentally friendly but also save you money on your electricity bills.
7. Invest in a reusable advent calendar
Advent calendars are great for the whole family, but they do use a lot of plastic. Why not invest in a reusable advent calendar? As your family grows their daily treats can change too.
8. Not enough glassware for the party!
Throwing a Christmas or New Year party? Don’t buy plastic cups rent some for free from your local Waitrose store.
9. Get a real tree
Over the years, artificial trees have become more and more realistic and can be cheaper than buying a new tree every year, but they take enormous amounts of energy to produce and its future synthetic waste to dispose of in the future. Check out local Christmas Tree farms (make sure they are grown sustainably by looking out for the FSC or Soil Association logo) and take your family for a fun day out. If you have a fake tree, make sure you look after it so it lasts for as long as possible.
10. Find eco-conscious Christmas crackers
Traditional Christmas crackers come in handy should you ever require a miniature screwdriver or paper hat but they produce a lot of waste. Try reducing your cracker waste by sourcing recyclable crackers or reusable ones.
Found any of our tips useful? Why not tag us if you use some our ideas on socials and spread the eco love this festive season!