No sooner have we packed away our Halloween outfits and turned our carved pumpkins into soup than we’re onto the next holiday. Or, as Noddy Holder repeatedly screams, “It’s Christmas!”
Now we appreciate that it’s still a little bit early to be dragging the decorations down from the attic but it’s certainly not too soon to be thinking about how to make this festive season a green as well as a white Christmas.
Not going crackers
We were really pleased to hear that retailers including John Lewis and Waitrose have said they won’t be selling crackers with plastic toys in any longer, replacing them with metal or recycled toys instead. A recent study found that in the UK, 154,000 pieces of rubbish from crackers will end up in landfill so this is a major step in the right direction, and we hope other retailers follow their lead.
Everyone loves a Christmas tree and if you have a real tree then you’re already on the right sustainable path, especially if you recycle it at the approved points. Experts reckon you’d have to use your fake tree for 20 years for it be greener than a real one. But now you can go one better. All around the UK, schemes are now running that allow you to buy a real tree, use it in the house for Christmas, then return it to the farm to be replanted and cared for so you can rent it again the next year.
Wrap it up
Miles and miles of wrapping paper will be thrown away this Christmas and even if you want to recycle it you might not be able to if it has foil, glitter or plastic on it. Why not use jute or cotton gift bags instead – that can be used time and time again – or choose recycled paper, newspaper or tissue?
It’s on the cards
About a quarter or us choose not to send Christmas cards every year but if you do still want to put a greeting in the post please look out for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) mark which guarantees that the cards have been produced ethically and sustainably. We love the trend for cards that you can plant after Christmas too – the flower or vegetable seeds are embedded into the card that you can sow when the weather gets warmer.
The amount of food waste at Christmas can be obscene. We all need to be more aware of what we’re buying, especially when you consider that the shops are only closed for one day of the year! Where you can, try to buy locally produced produce. It saves airmiles and supports local farmers and businesses. We all want to indulge and enjoy ourselves over the holidays, but a bit of clever meal planning means you can save you pounds at the checkout and avoid having to throw out leftover food. If you do have leftovers there are lots of websites like http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for some recipe inspiration.
If every British home swapped a string of fairy lights for an LED equivalent, we could save more than £11 million and 29,000 tonnes of CO2, just over the 12 days of Christmas. LEDs use up to 80% less energy so are better for the environment and will save you money too.
Christmas should be one of the happiest times of the year and there are so many small, simple ways to help make it less of a damaging time for the environment. Let us know if you have any great tips and tricks that you use.