Well this year has flown and suddenly the holidays are just around the corner. For many preparations are in full swing for the special day, but while it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s not the most environmentally-friendly. From food consumption, gift buying and wrapping there is a lot of waste. Can we do without some of it at least?
The festive season is traditionally the period of peak consumption, when we go all out on gifts and food to impress our guests. But, you can actually host eco-friendly festivities without skimping on the magic.
From the tree you buy (if that’s your thing) to the food you eat, everything – no matter how big or small – can make a huge difference. In fact, the average UK festive fiend will create the same level of carbon emissions as they would on a flight from London to Los Angeles. So, can we have a greener, more sustainable holiday season… Ten things to think about
1 Do you need a tree?
Turn an existing houseplant, like a large indoor palm or even some ivy, into a modern looking festive tree – add some fairy lights and away you go!
2 Wishing them all a fun festive time
A staggering 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by UK households each year, according to Imperial College researchers. Well you can send an e-card and make it totally personal to everyone you send it to… Less time, no waste and you can write as much as you need. If you worry about some not wanting to receive an e-card then give them a call to wish them good will? Be prepared to chat for a while to make sure they feel special!
3 Think about how you wrap
On average in the UK we use around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper. In fact, Defra estimates that enough wrapping paper is used each year to gift wrap the island of Guernsey. Add the sticky tape, ribbons and paper covered in glitter which can’t be recycled, and we are giving the planet extra un-needed stresses. You can switch to brown eco-friendly paper to minimise the high levels of waste produced at this time of year – and you know what they look great – rustic and fun. Use ribbon you’ve collected (and can be used again and again) to add some pizazz.
4 It’s a cracker
Oh no it’s not – the Christmas cracker can also be a huge contributor to waste in the UK. Most cannot be recycled, and the plastic toys normally end up in the bin before the meal is even over. Look for recyclable and plastic free crackers and if you hunt there are reusable crackers in some stores. Why not create your own crackers for a personalised touch this year? We found these on Amazon… click the photo to have a look.
Use recycled brown paper or there are DIY crackers to be found. Fill with plastic-free surprises for an eco-alternative.
5 The handmade with love option
A great way to help the environment and to save some money in the process is to make your own presents. If you are a lover of baking, sewing or painting, why not get creative and put your own stamp on a gift. Handmade gifts such as food made by the kids will put a smile on any family member. Add twine with a few twigs to make it special and unique!
6 Re-use or buy second-hand
Unless your baubles are broken, reuse them each On top of this you can use glass vases filled with old baubles that look really festive without costing the earth. If you feel you need new decorations, why not head to your local second-hand shop to find some pre-loved ones or search the many second-hand online stores? It’s a crime to waste your money on new decorations when you can find absolute vintage treasures in second-hand shops.
7 The living gift
Why not opt for something such as a potted indoor plant. Not only is it kind to the planet, but it means the receiver will find joy in the gift long after the decorations have come down and they are back to the zoom calls.
8 The local twist
This year more than any other there is a need to support our local retailers. Give your local shops and markets some love and as well as supporting independent businesses, you’re likely to find unique and special goodies you can’t get anywhere else. This year boost a strong, sustainable local economy.
9 The Festive Jumper
About 95% of jumpers worn over the festive period are made using plastic. The most common plastic fiber used is acrylic, which are found in about three quarters of jumpers. Why not swap, buy second-hand or re-wear them? Or make your own. Upcycle one you already used!
10 Don’t waste a thing
This year might be somewhat different with local lock-downs and celebration numbers limited all over the UK. So, make it special, local and organic. Buy good meat (if you need meat) and make sure you know where it has come from, fill up on good veggies that are in season and make sure you save left-overs, freeze them or make the next meal. Avoid buying too much stuff that will end up being thrown out or unused. Instead, make the food the best it can be (and save what you don’t eat), make every gift count by purchasing things with value, purpose and meaning. And above all don’t add to the waste.
Have a great day – be together and enjoy some time away from the screens!
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