And while we are aware of the harm caused by things such as carbon emissions from transport, did you know that Christmas is one of the most polluting times of the year?
Here are some top tips on how we can all be a little more eco-friendly and sustainable this Christmas:
Don’t Forget the Bags!
This one can apply to any time of year, but at Christmas you might find yourself heading out to the shops more often. It’s so easy to forget re-usable bags, but this can make such a difference. And while it might only feel like a 5p problem at the time, the pollution adds up. Keep some extra reusable bags in your cars, handbags, or at work for those impromptu shopping trips.
Christmas crackers have become a huge tradition. But crackers are mostly made out of plastic, as well as the little toy inside. These single use plastics amount to a huge pile of waste each year. You don’t have to stop pulling crackers however, there are some alternative options. Some shops now offer plastic-free crackers, or you could DIY some goodies instead.
Down the Local
Christmas isn’t just damaging to the planet, it can also impact our local shops. These local business often rely on Christmas to be a main source of income which is why it hits them the hardest when we head over to the national chains. Buying local can help you find unique gifts for hard to buy for friends and family, while saving you a pretty penny.
As well as shopping locally for gifts, we should also be sourcing local food. Buying the Christmas turkey and fresh produce from butchers, markets and farm shops means the food is travelling less to your plate, a huge win for the planet.
Consider the Baubles
A huge part of the festive season is decorating the house in the run up to Christmas. With ever-changing trends, it’s become fashionable to change the theme of you decorations year-after-year. This just isn’t sustainable, so unless you’re replacing broken pieces, try to reuse your decorations. If you do fancy a change, buy second-hand from charity shops, swap with friends or try your hand at DIY with knitted stockings or recycled tinsel wreaths.
Driving Home for Christmas
Of course a huge (if not the main) part of Christmas is spending time with your loved ones. In a world where we expand our horizons, it often means we have to travel to spend the time together which causes extra emissions. Plan ahead with your relatives, and where possible, car share or use public transport to make your trips.
O' Holy Light!
We love Christmas lights! They brighten up the street, the insides of our homes and our places of work. But the electricity used on Christmas lights can really add up. Most modern lights have a fairly low wattage, but if left on for days at a time this can still pollute the night (and day!). Luckily we can buy timer plugs which automatically turn of sockets to a time you have pre-set (check out this bargain from Wilko - but do your research first as not to overload your plugs!). This means you can get the maximum enjoyment out of your lights, while saving money on your electric bill and help the planet. Win-win-win!
Does it Need Posting?
According to Imperial College researchers, a staggering 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by UK households each year. This alarming number is made worse with the limited selection of plastic-free cards on the market. While they are available, the majority are lined with plastic, glitter or other non-recyclable materials.
A popular alternative is to send an e-card. Nowadays we have the luxury of free design tools such as Canva to get creative and personalise a special message. If that’s not an option and sending a card is needed, look for plastic free cards that can be recycled. You can even buy seed-cards that can be planted after use! You can check them out here.
That’s a Wrap!
Like cards, wrapping paper is also extremely polluting. According to House Beautiful, the UK uses approximately 230,000 miles of wrapping paper each year, most of which is not recyclable.
To tackle this, we can switch to brown paper wrap (which can be cheaper than the foil equivalent that is so popular!) and use natural ribbon or string to add some rustic decoration. Making these changes are super simple, and doesn’t have to cost a fortune (just remember to tell people to recycle their gift wrap after!).
Christmas Jumper Day raises money for various charities, something we completely support (stay tuned for our office photos!) but did you know that most Christmas jumpers are made up of over 80% plastics.
Most people buy a new Christmas jumper every year and only wear it for the day. We can combat this wastage by swapping jumpers with friends, buying from charity shops, or even trying to make your own!
There’s lots more ways we can make Christmas a little greener without changing our whole lifestyle. We love this time of year, and want to celebrate while being sustainable! We hope this guide can help you, help the planet this Christmas.