Make this festive season both merry and mindful.
Christmas is known for being a time of excess and indulgence – and rightly so – this year will be a big celebration for many, following the disappointment of lockdown last year! However, the festive season can generate a lot of unnecessary waste. In fact, every year in the UK we use roughly 227,000 miles of wrapping paper, use 300,00 tonnes of cardboard packaging during the party season alone, and waste 270,000 tonnes of food – again during the Christmas period solely. This is, of course, is an eye-watering amount of waste. But there are many ways we can all do our bit, plan what we truly need and prepare for a more eco-friendly celebration. Read on to find out how you can have a more sustainable celebration.
1. Plan ahead
You know what they say – 'fail to plan and you plan to fail!' It’s all too easy to be drawn in by BOGOF offers and discounts at the shops, which can lead to us buying more than we need whether this is food, decorations or even presents. Before you part with your cash, write a list of all the items you need and stick to it. When it comes to food, try to prepare a whole meal – buffets can see a lot of food being left and uneaten. Experiment with leftovers and get creative in the kitchen making new recipes. Check ahead with your guests too for any festive meals so you can be sure of dietary requirements, again reducing the amount of food that could potentially go uneaten.
2. Buy a real tree
Is plastic the fantastic option, or should you keep it real when it comes to your Christmas tree? The Carbon Trust (carbontrust.com) state that you’d need to get 10 years’ of Christmases out of an artificial tree in order for it to have lower carbon emissions than its real counterpart. The issue for many comes what to do with this tree once the festive season finishes, but they are many sustainable ways to part with yours. For one, you can compost them – just make sure you cut it down into little pieces and strip the branches off. If you don’t have a compost heap, head to recyclenow.com who will shred your old tree into chippings which are then used locally in parks or woodland areas. If you have one of mini Christmas trees (LINK), you’ll be pleased to know you can replant these outdoors and enjoy all year round. No need for waste here!
3. Choose your cards carefully
Christmas cards are a sweet tradition, however they can generate an alarming amount of waste. It’s said that one billion Christmas cards are sold in the UK each year (gca.cards). It takes one tree to produce 3,000 cards, (bbc.co.uk), so if as many as 1 billion Christmas Cards end up in bins, that is the equivalent of 33 million trees – yikes! You can avoid this by ensuring the cards you send have the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) mark, which means the paper is produced sustainably and ethically. Also avoid cards with glitter, instead opting for ones with eco-friendly inks so they can be recycled after use. Another option is to send e-cards – that way, there’s nothing to recycle afterwards. Look out for our e-gift cards which make a great last-minute, eco-friendly gift that is emailed directly to the lucky person!
4. Get creative
The festive season offers many chances to get crafty, which can both save you money and reduce your impact on the planet, too. Consider baking Christmas cookies or creating candles or soap to gift your loved ones with. You can create your gift wrap using existing materials you have at home, such as old scarves you never wear, or using old newspaper/magazine cuttings. You could even forage for pine cones or festive foliage outside to create decorations with. The possibilities are endless!
5. Hire a festive frock
Ah, the party season is renown to be a time of socialising. Just remember, you don’t need a new outfit for every occasion. Try shopping your wardrobe, but if nothing takes your fancy, consider hiring an outfit from places such as HireStreet (https://www.hirestreetuk.com/ ) or By Rotation (https://www.byrotation.com/ ). That way, you can enjoy the feeling of something new, while ensuring it still has a long life of wear ahead of it as it can be continuously enjoyed by others.