nlhEnvironmental Top Tips For a Greener Christmas
It’s that time of year again and as the countdown to Christmas begins, you’re probably stocking up on Christmas treats and ticking presents off your shopping list. And although this time of year can be a lot of fun, it’s easy to get carried away, so we’ve put together our top 5 tips to help make your festive period lean and green as well as merry and bright.
1 . Did you know that in the UK we throw away an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper around Christmas time – that is enough to stretch 9 times around the world!
Plus if your wrapping paper is glittery, it’s not even recyclable. Why not try the Japanese art of Furoshiki to wrap your presents in reusable cloth or you could opt for the shabby chic look and go with recyclable brown paper and add a few of your own decorations like a sprig of holly.
2 . One of my favourite things about Christmas is the smell of a real tree in the evening with the fire roaring and loads of twinkly lights. (I grew up in the Middle East so this was not something I got to experience as a child!)
To be sure your tree is truly green, buy local so that you’re not adding a load of carbon emissions to the atmosphere by importing it or transporting it across the country and make sure to take advantage of local recycling (find your nearest recycling spot here). Yes, you can recycle your Christmas tree – it will be shredded into chippings and used in local parks and woodland areas. Alternatively, why not plant it in your garden? You could add some solar lights to brighten up your garden over the winter months.
3 . Food waste. Yes, you knew I was going to have to touch on this one. I love Christmas dinner and am equally as guilty for piling my plate high with roast parsnips, pigs in blankets and sprouts (anyone else love sprouts?!) on Christmas Day but we waste a staggering amount of that food every year. It’s estimated that in the UK we throw away 74 million mince pies and 4.2 million plates of turkey and trimmings every year. That really is ridiculous.
So, yes, we need to be conscious when we’re buying but it’s not always possible to predict exactly what you might need or any expected guests that might just pop in. So, have you considered food donations? Can you donate anything you bought too much of and just won’t use to a food bank at your local supermarket? Or can you make extra plates of food to deliver to local elderly or vulnerable neighbour? Take a look at Casserole Club which is a fantastic project that connects people who are happy to share an extra portion of their home-cooked meal with a neighbour.
4 . It’s estimated that £1 million Christmas cards get thrown in the bin after the holidays have ended.A great tip from Green and Mean UK is to punch a hole in Christmas cards and added a bit of twine so that the recipient can hang the card up and cut off the unused portion to use as a gift tag the next year. So creative and yet so simple. Check out her Facebook page here for this and other great tips.
5 . I think we’d probably all agree that we live in a consumerist society and Christmas time is probably one of the worst times for consumerism. It’s estimated that in the UK, we waste around £5 billion on unwanted gifts every year. We can’t really avoid getting presents we don’t want but there is always the option to donate it. Pass it on to someone who would love it or donate it to a charity shop.
We can’t control what we receive but we can certainly control what we give. Consider gifting an experience instead. Take your mum out for afternoon tea in the new year or book a weekend away with your bestie or hubby. There are some great deals available after the Christmas madness so you could gift the idea and wait until January to book a bargain (after that long awaited January pay check has arrived!). Not only will you have something to look forward to while you wait for Spring to arrive, but you’ll also be spending time with those you love, which is surely the true joy of Christmas, after all.