‘Tis the season to be jolly and eco-conscious! Did you know that during the festive season, the UK generates about 30% more waste? This Christmas let’s embrace sustainability and make conscious choices to reduce our environmental footprint. From gifts to decorations, here are some simple yet impactful ways to have a sustainable Christmas.
Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas:
- Every year, the UK throws away around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper. Opt for experiences instead of material gifts to cut down on this waste.
- Choose locally made products to support small businesses and reduce transportation emissions.
- Consider gifts that promote sustainability, such as reusable water bottles, bamboo utensils, or eco-friendly skincare products.
- Buying second-hand gifts e.g. from charity shops, Facebook marketplace, eBay; this is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, reduce a load of plastic packaging and save some money!
- Did you know that charitable donations often spike during the holiday season? Donate to local charities or volunteer your time to spread the holiday spirit to those in need. You can even gift memberships for your charity of choice to your loved ones this year!
- The UK discards an estimated 108 million rolls of wrapping paper each Christmas. Use recycled or reusable wrapping paper, or get creative with old newspapers, maps, or fabric scraps.
- When shopping for wrapping paper, look out for the FSC® mark. This guarantees that all materials come from an FSC® forest, where no more wood is cut down than the forest can reproduce. This means better protection of the animal- and plant life, and all foresters have proper training, safety equipment and a decent wage.
- Ditch traditional tape for eco-friendly alternatives like paper tape.
- Sew or craft small fabric pouches to hold gifts. These can be reused for other purposes or regifted.
- Try the Japanese art of furoshiki, which involves using a square piece of cloth to wrap and carry items. The fabric can be reused or gifted along with the present.
- Encourage recipients to save or recycle the wrapping paper for future use. Top-tip: Gift bags are easier to save and re-use!
Sustainable Christmas Trees:
- Artificial trees are typically used for about 6 years before being discarded. One study found that it takes over 20 years for an artificial tree to be ‘greener’ than a real tree, so if this is your preferred option, try to use it for as long as possible to reduce the environmental impact.
- Consider getting a potted tree with roots that you can re-plant in your garden, and bring it in again every year. This way, it becomes a part of your family celebrations! You can also leave it outside and decorate it with treats for winter wildlife.
- If a real tree is your tradition, choose a locally grown, pesticide-free option to support local farmers. Again, look out for that FSC mark, for a sustainable option!
- Real Christmas trees have zero manufacturing process and are entirely recyclable. You can take them to a recycling point, or you can recycle them yourself – you can turn them into wood chips or logs for personal use. It is really important to dispose of them properly, as seven million real trees are dumped in January instead of being recycled.
- Did you know that for every £1 spent at a local business, about 63p stays in the community? This Christmas, explore your local high streets and markets for unique gifts and decorations crafted by local artisans.
- Explore farmers’ markets and local Christmas markets. These often feature handmade crafts and local products.
- Gift local services: Instead of physical gifts, consider giving experiences or services from local businesses, such as spa treatments, classes, or restaurant vouchers.
- Support our Sherwood pubs and restaurants by celebrating locally (and save yourself from the washing up!)
- Look for holiday markets, fairs, or events hosted by local businesses or communities. Attend and enjoy the festive atmosphere while supporting local vendors.
- Using local businesses not only reduces carbon emissions but also strengthens your community.
- Embrace DIY decorations using recycled materials, such as paper snowflakes or fabric garlands.
- Opt for energy-efficient LED lights to decorate your home.
- Consider natural elements like holly, pinecones, cinnamon sticks, and dried fruit for a festive and eco-friendly touch. Hunting for these in the forest could be your new yearly tradition for all the family!
- Repurpose old holiday cards into unique and sentimental decorations
- Cut down on plastic consumption by using wooden, knitted or paper ornaments and decorations around your home and on your tree.
Zero-Waste Festive Feast:
- Plan your holiday menu with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
- The UK wastes about 9.5 million tonnes of food each year. Encourage guests to bring their own containers for leftovers to reduce food waste.
- Include meat-free meals over the holidays. About 14% of all emissions come from meat and dairy production. Simply reducing our intake of these two foods can make a big impact!
- Buying local and organic food produce is also best for nature. Organic farms have lower emissions and use less energy.
- Organise your fridge before the big shop, and make sure you have plenty of room in your cupboards, fridge, and freezer to store leftovers without being forgotten about.
- Simplify your menu. By offering fewer choices, you’ll have less shopping and cooking to contend with. Win win!
This Christmas, let’s make a difference by adopting sustainable practices that benefit the planet and our local communities. Small changes in our holiday traditions can lead to a more eco-friendly and joyful season for everyone. Cheers to a green Christmas!
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