Most of us like to indulge and go all out at Christmas time and why not, it only comes round once a year, but while we’re feeling festive, our planet is suffering.
Christmas creates 30% more waste than normal.
So how environmentally friendly is your Christmas and how can we help the planet, without compromising on festive fun?
Ever opened a present that you don’t need nor want? You might use it once, and then throw it out. It can be difficult to know what to buy for people, but choosing gifts that limit the amount of waste is a good idea.
There are a number of online shops, selling eco-friendly products. Here are just a few of the best ones:
– Green Tulip has a wide range of eco-friendly gift ideas.
– The Ethical Superstore has some fantastic presents that you’ll love and are also good for the planet.
– Protect the Planet allows you to choose how much money you want to spend on gifts.
– The Wise House has a range of gift sets that can be customised to suit you.
Don’t forget about gift cards. Buying vouchers for shops, cafes, and restaurants is hassle-free and you minimise waste at the same time. If art and crafts are your thing, why not make your own Christmas gifts.
So my top tip is to ask people what they want, rather than buying something they’ll never use.
Wrapping paper & cards
The next challenge is wrapping the gifts. Each year, the equivalent of over 100 million rolls of wrapping paper ends up in the bin.
Some councils will recycle wrapping paper, others won’t because it’s either dyed, laminated or contains glitter or small pieces of plastic. If it’s still got sellotape stuck to it, you can be sure it won’t get recycled.
You could ditch the paper altogether. Research has shown that almost 70% of Brits would be happy to receive unwrapped Christmas presents to cut down on waste.
A staggering one billion cards end up in the bin each year, even though many of them could’ve been recycled. Remember, if they don’t contain any glitter or sellotape, they can usually be recycled.
The big question is are real or fake trees better for the environment?
Up to eight million real Christmas trees are bought every year in the UK and if they’re not disposed of correctly can cause a lot of waste. If you’ve got a fake tree, try to get as much use out of it as you can, good quality ones can last for many years.
But if you are opting for a real tree this Christmas, you can ensure it’s been grown sustainably by looking for the FSC-certification logo. Then when it comes to disposing of it, most councils allow you to take it to your nearest recycling centre, where the trees are shredded and used as compost or mulch.
Even better still, you could grow your own tree!
The best way to reduce waste from decorations is to make your own. You could make a wreath, baubles or paper chains from recycled coloured paper.
If you’re going to buy decorations, be sure to use them each Christmas, rather than just using them once.
Food is an essential part of Christmas, but so much of it gets thrown out. The equivalent of 260,000 turkeys are thrown away, as well as 7.5 million mince pies and a staggering 17.2 million Brussels sprouts.
Why so much waste? Most people are concerned there won’t be enough for the whole family and so, therefore, cook more than they need.
If you end up doing this, see if you can use the leftovers in other recipes to eat the next day. Here are some ideas.
When you’re shopping, choose items loose, or with little packaging if possible. To save on packaging, you could make your own mince pies or Christmas pudding.
So there you go. Those are my top tips for reducing waste and having a more environmentally friendly Christmas. Let us know how you get on by Tweeting us @JaM_at_Marjon.