We’ve talked about our goal of trying to have a sustainable Christmas this year. Now we want to share some practical tips on how to achieve this.
It’s not always possible to go completely green for Christmas, but every step in the right direction, no matter how big or small, is a great improvement. By taking a few steps we can all reduce our carbon footprint this festive period and have fun whilst still being responsible!
Let’s start with the greenest part of Christmas, the tree.
There are a few different ways you can make your Christmas tree greener. One is to make sure you purchase your tree from a sustainable seller. Whilst you might think that buying an artificial tree is more eco-friendly as it can be reused many times, buying a real tree from a sustainable seller is actually better for the environment.
An artificial tree is still better than a real tree from a non-sustainable seller, however.
But even better than buying at all is renting! You can now rent a Christmas tree for a month or even just a few weeks, returning it once the rental period has expired. Rented Christmas trees need to be watered, but this is to keep them alive so they can be replanted and reused once you’ve given them back.
Rented Christmas trees are the best of both worlds – they’re natural as well as being reusable.
More plants, less meat
Whilst turkey is a major part of a traditional Christmas dinner, it’s also one of the main contributors to landfills. Poultry is one of the ten most wasted foods in the UK each year, and this coupled with the fact that raising animals for food produces 14% of all man-made greenhouse emissions means Christmas dinner hugely impacts the atmosphere.
Switching to a meat-free alternative can help on both counts.
You don’t have to remove the turkey if you want to keep your Christmas dinner completely traditional, but you can adjust the trimmings. In some households it’s traditional to cook two or even three meats, with beef and ham being cooked alongside turkey. By stripping down the amount of meat you cook, even if you still cook some, you’re moving in the right direction.
Pigs in blankets are becoming a more common side dish too, so by cutting these out and swapping for vegetables you can help improve your carbon footprint.
Recycling is more important than ever
This is a nice and easy – it’s one we can do without too much effort.
We all love receiving Christmas cards and presents, unwrapping them to see what treats are hidden within. However, it’s easy to just cast the paper aside, sweep it into a binbag, and throw it into the bin – this begins its journey to landfill.
Recycling wrapping paper and card envelopes massively impacts the environment. An average of four rolls of wrapping paper are used by each household in the UK every Christmas, and recycling it uses 70% less energy than binning it and producing more the following year.
It’s estimated that up to one billion Christmas cards are sent each year. Can you imagine the impact of recycling just a small percentage of them?
Lots of retailers are now selling recyclable cards as well as selling cards from forests grown sustainably. Plantable cards are becoming more popular too – these are cards that you can bury once you’ve finished with them which will grow into beautiful plants and flowers in your garden.
When considering wrapping paper and cards, look out for the FSC mark: this ensures the paper used has been grown sustainably and ethically in a registered Forest Stewardship Council forest.
And many more
These are just a few of the ways you can make your Christmas greener.
As well as these, you could also:
- Buy fewer presents, or give homemade gifts
- Wrap your gifts in newspaper or other paper you already have
- Use eco-friendly crackers, or avoid crackers entirely
- Reuse old Christmas outfits, avoiding buying more clothing
- Avoid using the car if possible, using public transport or car sharing if necessary
- Reconnect with nature rather than watching TV to save on electricity – although make sure you’re wrapped up warm when you do!
Making your Christmas greener doesn’t need to impact your enjoyment. It’s unreasonable to expect everyone to do all of the above, but implementing sustainable practice, even if it’s just in a single way, will ensure your Christmas is greener and much more sustainable.