Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s certainly not the most environmentally-friendly. With the festive period upon us, and Black Friday just around the corner, now is the perfect time to think of ways to reduce your festive footprint.
Best-selling sustainability author, speaker and leader of our corporate Sustainability workshops shares her 5 top tips for a more sustainable Christmas without skimping on any of the festive magic.
1. Make a list, check it twice
Christmas is a time of joy and love and giving is one big way that we have come to show our appreciation and love for friends and family. But it’s getting out of hand – each household in the UK receives an average of three unwanted gifts a year, and 1 in 10 of these end up in landfill!
Could you suggest a Secret Santa if you have lots of nieces and nephews to buy for, so that each child gets one decent present instead of lots of smaller ones? Could you (whispers) not buy for the grown ups and meet up for lunch or dinner in the New Year?
2. Ditch the glitter!
Wrapping paper and cards with either glitter or shiny metallic bits on them can’t be recycled, so keep your eye out for ones without. One great tip is to scrunch up wrapping paper into a ball – if it stays in a balls (and hasn’t got glitter on it) it can be recycled. If it start to unfurl, it’s probably got plastic in it and can’t be recycle. Also look out for cards in plastic-free packaging, and recycle them in the New Year.
3. Make a meal plan for the Christmas week
Food waste increases by up to a third over the festive season, and it’s a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Grab a piece of paper and scribble down a rough plan for the week, thinking about any days when you’re going to be out or will have extra people in the house. Try to factor in leftovers, and remember to make good use of your freezer if you end up buying more stuff than you can eat!
4. Dig out your old Christmas jumper
In the UK we spend around £220 million on Christmas jumpers each year. A quarter of these will end up in the bin or only be worn once! If you need a ‘new’ one, check out your local charity shop, or have a look on eBay. And if you’ve got one you no longer need or like, pass it on to someone else.
5. Remember the ‘ish’
Making sustainable changes at any time of the year can feel difficult, and this is especially true at Christmas. Think about the things that are in your control, pick the low hanging fruit, and be kind to yourself. You won’t ‘green’ your Christmas in a year (or if you do, you’re a better person than me!) – see it as the start of a journey, and remember to carry on the good work in the New Year!