It’s almost the season to be jolly and we’ve been thinking about how you can make it a more sustainable one too. Santa Claus may get around on a zero emissions sleigh, but the reality of Christmas is that it often comes with a huge amount of waste and excess. Here are five ways you could reduce your Christmas carbon footprint this year.
- Choosing a tree – real or fake?
The real or fake tree debate comes up every year amongst people who wonder which is better for the environment. Despite what many people may think, real trees are generally far more environmentally friendly than fake trees. How so? Well, as the millions of trees produced for the Christmas market grow, they can actually absorb enough carbon to result in a negative carbon footprint (provided they are disposed of properly). If you buy a locally grown tree, often the tree can be taken away by your local authority and used for woodchip, mulch or even fish habitats. On the other hand, the plastic trees produced for Christmas have a huge carbon footprint and even if you use the same tree for your entire life, once you throw it out it can take more than 400 years to decompose!
Check out this video on the topic from One Tree Planted:
- Wrapping paper alternatives
Did you know that most wrapping paper can’t be recycled? Due to the foils, plastics and sticky tape that usually adorns decorative paper, recycling it becomes difficult. The good news is that there are plenty of sustainable alternatives that can be just as appealing but are friendlier to the planet. One of our favourite options is simply using traditional brown craft paper - which is recyclable. To brighten it up, you can decorate it with a pretty ribbon, sprig of greenery or draw your own designs onto the paper. You can also make use of unwanted packaging boxes – 2020 has certainly seen a lot of online shopping and cardboard boxes! Or how about trying reusable drawstring bags (perfect for those awkward to wrap presents). If you like learning something new, why not take inspiration from the Japanese art of “furoshiki” which involves wrapping packages in fabric? Here’s how to:
- Green gifts
Most of us have received a Christmas gift at some point that wasn’t needed or wanted. Perhaps the unwanted gift ended up tucked away in a drawer for years, maybe you re-gifted or donated it. Whatever you did with that gift, we hope it didn’t end up in landfill! This year why not endeavour to gift eco-friendly items or experiences to your loved ones? There are so many beautiful products out there which have been sourced and produced sustainably, leaving minimal waste and carbon emissions in their wake. We particularly love gifting items from small businesses and artisans. Our versatile scarves designed by Vino and our competition winners make wonderful, affordable gift options with some of the proceeds going to support textile workers. You can shop for our scarves and our new face masks here (but be quick as they’re selling out fast!).
- Eat responsibly
Christmas Day usually goes hand-in-hand with the consumption of plenty of food. It can be easy to misjudge exactly how much food you need, particularly if you’re cooking for guests too. In the lead up to Christmas, we recommend making an effort to eat whatever’s in your freezer, so that you have plenty of room to store leftovers from the big day. When you’re shopping for your Christmas dinner, try to choose local produce from small-scale farms. Buying local means your food has had less distance to travel and has been produced more ethically – it will most likely come with less plastic packaging too. After Christmas, think about giving any unopened food items that you won’t be using to a food bank.
- Avoid single-use advent calendars
From November onwards (sometimes even earlier!) stores become flooded with chocolate advent calendars. They’re typically marketed towards children but these days, luxury versions are readily available for adults too. These calendars are generally made of carboard, foil and single-use plastic packaging, making them hard to recycle. When you consider the usual contents inside these calendars (24 small chocolates), it’s such a disproportionate amount of waste. But if you’re a fan of advent calendars, who are we to spoil your fun? You’ll be pleased to hear that there are so many cute and sustainable options out there made from fabric or wood, which can be used every year for generations ahead.
If you’re celebrating Christmas, we hope this blog post has inspired you to make Christmas 2020 a more sustainable one.