Have an eco-friendly and more sustainable Christmas

If you have not completed your Christmas planning and gift shopping yet we have some great ideas to think about this year. 

The choices we make every day as consumers can make a big impact on the planet and our community. Whether that’s in our use of single use plastics or in the gifts we choose to give.

This Christmas, purchasing your items and gifts from brands which give conscious weight to sustainability can help us meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.

We’ve compiled some ideas to hopefully inspire you to have an eco-friendlier Christmas and to minimise waste.

1. OH CHRISTMAS TREE!

The most eco-friendly option is a real Christmas tree – one study recently concluded that you would need to use a fake tree for 20 years for it to be ‘greener’!  However – seven million real trees are reportedly dumped and not recycled each year. 

A great idea is to ‘rent a tree’ – you can rent a tree from £20 and have the supplier pick it up and replant it in January! You get a real tree and there is zero waste as it does not die. Plus you could support a ‘local’ business while doing it. 

Festive Tree Hire are based in Reading and Wokingham

If you buy a tree, ensure its been grown as locally as possible and after Christmas visit recyclenow to find out drop-=off points in your area where your old tree can be recycled into chippings for local parks and woodlands. You can take it to your local dump and add to green waste or chop it up and stack the wood in your garden to create a habitat for birds and bugs. 

Or you could go a different route and consider an eco-friendly wooden tree instead of plastic. 

2. WRAPPING AND RECYCLING 

More than half of us use wrapping, boxes, or present bags from previous years. But many wrapping rolls of paper contain non-recyclable elements like foil, glitter, or plastic. If you are buying new – look for recycled wrapping paper or try wrapping gifts with fabric squares that can be used again and again. 

3. CHRISTMAS GREETINGS! 

The writing and sending of Christmas cards are on the decline – bah humbug or eco-friendly decision? IF you do purchase cards – look for those with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark. This guarantees the paper has been produced sustainably and ethically. Plantable cards are ‘growing’ in popularity too! (see what we did there?) Cards with seed packets that the recipient can grow in spring can be found through a lot of online shops. 

Recycle or compost your cards in January or turn them into decorations or gift tags for the next year.

4. ECO-FRIENDLY CRACKERS

Replace single use crackers with reusable ones. Some are made from natural materials and allow you to add your own personalised gifts. The RSPB do a really pretty range or these Scandi style reusable ones from Not on The High Street. 

5. THOUGHTFUL WREATHS

Avoid wreaths with plastic adornments and glittery decorations. Not only are they single use plastics and non-recyclable but they can be harmful to birds and wildlife if hung up outside. 

Go for fresh, real wreaths or make your own from seasonal natural foliage; there are many guides online to show you how. 

6. ADVENT CALENDARS FOR YEARS TO COME 

Investing in a reusable advent calendar means you can personalise the gifts to add to it and it can become a family tradition and heirloom that passes on to future generations. Not to mention how much waste you will avoid! 

7. LOCAL CHRISTMAS FESTIVE FOODS 

Use the annual main gastronomic event as an opportunity to support your local, brilliant ethical small-scale producers. Turkey and any other cuts of meat you plan to serve are a good place to start you’ll use fewer food miles; less packaging and you can feel confident that you haven’t supported any intensive farming practices.  Local farm shops and butchers can be part of your festive preparations. 

Eat the food up in your freezer in the run up to Christmas so that you have plenty of space to freeze leftovers or food you don’t get to eat in time. 

8. BUY 'GREEN' OR PLASTIC FREE GIFTS

Third party certification is the best way to determine if a product is environmentally friendly. Look out for respected eco logos, such as 
•    Fairtrade 
•    Rainforest Alliance
•    Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)
•    Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
•    Energy Star
•    Palm Oil Free.

Have a look at The Plastic Free Shop, The Ethical Superstore or Zero Waste gifts on Etsy for inspiration.

9. SWITCH ON LED LIGHTS TO SAVE SAVE SAVE 

If every UK household swapped to LED Christmas lights, we could save tonnes of CO2, just over the 12 days of Christmas. When it comes to eco-friendly Christmas decorations, LEDs are better than traditional twinkling incandescent lights, because they use up to 80% less energy.

Switch to solar-powered lights outdoors and put sets on a timer. You'll not only make environmental savings, but your energy bills will be reduced too.

10. IF YOU MUST GLITTER…

If you can't live without a bit of sparkle, opt for plant-based, vegan glitter like that from Eco Glitter Fun. Their biodegradable glitter comes in glass bottles and packaging is made from recycled cardboard, shredded newspaper, and paper packing tape. Be eco-friendly as you SPARKLE. 

Ask yourself about the true meaning of Christmas…. A few of the above choices will make it special and more kind to the environment. 

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