Environmentalists call Christmas “our worst annual environmental disaster”. In the UK alone, our nationwide Christmas dinners have carbon emissions equivalent to 150 million miles worth of carbon emissions. We get through 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging. For every 1kg of Christmas gift wrap, 3.5kg of CO₂ is emitted and we throw away 108 million rolls of it each year. We cut down 8 million trees. So how do we have a more eco-friendly Christmas that we can all still love, whilst saving our planet? Here’s how:
Wrapping paper. Yes, unwrapping a gift is super exciting, but we need to think about how we can get that same pleasure in a more eco-friendly way. Buy recyclable paper or use a reusable sustainable fabric gift wrap so you won’t have to buy wrapping paper every year.
Reduce food waste
Food waste is a huge problem in the UK and across the world. In the UK we manage to throw away 74 million mince pies, 2 million turkeys and 5 million Christmas puddings. Given the levels of food poverty in the UK, this is staggering, even before we consider the environmental impact. So please please please, eat what you know you can eat and make sure nothing gets wasted, if something is still in date but isn’t going to be eaten, donate it! Help those in need!
Sending Christmas cards is a yearly tradition for millions of people. Yet most of those cards simply end up in the bin. An eco-card is the most eco-friendly option. There are cards that have embedded seeds that will grow flowers, herbs, or vegetables when planted. Some designs are a 100% recycled paper card with an attached piece of seed paper.
If you are vegan, then this isn’t an issue for you but if you aren’t it’s something to consider. If like me you don’t want a vegan dinner then that’s okay! This list has multiple ways for you to go sustainable at Christmas! Remember you don’t have to do everything at once!
Buy food from local businesses e.g. Local farm shops
Get your turkey and veg from a local farm shop or try avoiding the big supermarkets, one because you are supporting local businesses and two, because you know who and where your food is coming from. We don’t know for sure where the supermarkets source their products from and how much the workers who pick them are being paid.
Use LED lights instead of halogen, they last 25 times longer and are cooler should you touch them, reducing the chances of you get burnt. As they last longer, you will save money having to buy new ones every year, you can even go for solar-powered lights. Buy handmade sustainable materials for mantel piece decorations or recycled/recyclable decorations.
Buy sustainable gifts
Try to choose gifts which are designed to last, rather than anything disposable, and avoid plastic packaging. Why not gift a gift, we have all had gifts in the past where we haven’t used them or don’t like them, so why not give it to someone who might! If you need help finding gifts, check out my previous posts on sustainable gifts for men, secret Santa gifts or use my eco-friendly brands guide to find some gifts yourself!
Buy a Real Tree
If you’re ready to have an eco-friendly Christmas, one good place to start is with your Christmas tree. Even though you might think getting an artificial Christmas tree is more eco-friendly because you can use it year after year, it can actually contain some very dangerous chemicals and substances you don’t want your family exposed to.
Real Christmas trees are the more eco-friendly option. Real trees clean the air when they’re growing, provide jobs to local communities, and can be turned into mulch or compost when the holidays are over. But let’s be honest, neither a real or fake trees are perfect solutions. For an artificial tree to have a lower carbon impact than a real tree. It needs to be used for at least 10 years, so it’s up to you!
Christmas Clean Up
Whether you’re preparing your house to receive guests or simply cleaning up after, you don’t want to turn to store-bought cleaners that can contain all types of dangerous chemicals. Instead, you can clean up the natural way by making your own cleaning products or buying natural cleaning products from sustainable businesses.
What are you doing to have a more sustainable Christmas? Let me know your ideas in the comments, I’m intrigued to know!
Thank you for reading!