It’s the time of the year known for giving and kindness, but it can also be really harsh on our environment. Every year billions of people have good intentions, buying and wrapping gifts for loved ones, decorating their homes and cooking feasts, yet so much of this results in plastic in landfill and carbon emissions that deteriorate our environment.
In the UK alone it’s estimated 500 tonnes of Christmas lights are thrown away each year, these lights can take up to 200 years to break down, if they do at all. There are also the 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging for gifts that we use every year, the carbon emissions from our meals and even the food waste that ends up in the bin. There are however simple steps we can take to make it a green Christmas, where we care and appreciate time with our loved ones whilst also minimising our impact on our earth. Here are a few of our tips 🎄✨
1). Switch to recycled paper wrapping paper or use newspaper
Traditional wrapping paper is coated in plastic and non-recyclable, meaning it ends up in landfill forever and ever. A really simple way to reduce the waste you make this year is to opt for wrapping paper made with recycled paper, the brown recycled kraft paper is usually a good bet, or get creative with old newspapers. Paper tape is also a plus to ensure everything can go straight into the paper recycling bin!
2). Buy sustainable gifts from small independent businesses
It’s been a tough year for small businesses, so if there was ever a good moment to support your locals, it’s now. Buying gifts for the people you care about can be an act of love, but when these are made with plastic often by workers who are not paid or treated correctly, there can be a lot of hidden harm within behind your good intention. You’re in luck though because there are so many amazing small businesses that have made it their priority to care about the sustainability of what they create and to do so ethically. Whether it’s a fashion piece, jewellery, artwork, or something else entirely, if you spend a bit of time looking you can likely find it from an independent business, and it will make that gift even more unique and special. Check out our list of favourite sustainable small businesses to get you started!
3). Go vegan or add a few more vegan dishes to your meal
This one is good for you, the planet and the animals. Adding a few more vegetarian or vegan dishes to your festive dinner is an easy and delicious way to reduce your carbon emissions. A turkey dinner has over double the greenhouse carbon emissions than a nut roast, plus if everyone in the UK alone swapped to a veggie roast this year, it would save 125,000 pigs and 2 million turkeys. If you’re not sure where to start Bosh’s Portobello Mushroom Wellington is an all-round winner.
5). Skip the Christmas crackers, or buy reusable ones
As you likely know, Christmas Crackers are used once and thrown away. Usually, they also have a little plastic gift that you spend 10 minutes inspecting and it then ends up in the trash. It’s estimated that 40 million crackers go to waste each year, so as you can imagine that’s a horrific amount of waste. That’s why many people are now choosing to go without or to buy reusable ones they can celebrate with each year. Plus this way you can choose what goes in them and opt for sustainable goodies you know your friends and family will appreciate.