I'm dreaming of a greener Christmas
Christmas is a time for happiness, family and sharing gifts with your loved ones but with all of this comes an excess waste of food, paper and many other negative impacts to the environment. To help reduce this impact we have written a few tips below to help you enjoy an eco-friendlier festive period.
You may be thinking that one way to reduce waste at Christmas would be to have an artificial tree that you can use year after year. But on the other hand, if it’s made of plastic - surely this can’t be good either?
Artificial trees are made out of petroleum-based products and many other non-renewable PVC plastics that do more harm than good to the environment. Nearly 90% of all artificial trees are shipped over from China resulting in an increase of carbon emissions. They use up to five times more energy to manufacture and then are eventually thrown into landfill as they cannot be recycled. Artificial trees are made out of petroleum-based products and many other non-renewable PVC plastics that do more harm than good to the environment. Nearly 90% of all artificial trees are shipped over from China resulting in an increase of carbon emissions. They use up to five times more energy to manufacture and then are eventually thrown into landfill as they cannot be recycled.
Buying a real Christmas tree is sustainable resource as they are grown at farms where more seeds are planted than trees are being cut down. During the time the trees are growing they are busy trapping CO2 and using less resources than a factory manufacturing artificial trees. To check that the tree you are buying a sustainably grown Christmas tree look for the symbol of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This association also has a “Tree Tracker” where you can find a locally grown Christmas Tree to support small businesses and reduce carbon emissions.
Another increasingly popular and sustainable choice is to rent a Christmas Tree. Doing this means that there is zero-waste as the tree can be re-planted to use again for next year and you do not have to worry about what to do with the tree after Christmas. The London Christmas Tree Rental offers a service where you can rent a pot-grown tree that can also be delivered via an electric van to cut carbon emissions.
After Christmas is over, most councils arrange a pick up system where you can have your tree recycled into wood chippings for local woodland or turned into mulch for compost. If you would like to reuse your tree make sure it was either grown in a container or it is a root-balled tree so you are able to re-plant it.
Stay clear from foil or glittery paper and opt in instead for recycled wrapping paper. A little trick to know whether or not your paper is eligible to recycle is to try the “scrunch test”. If you make a ball of paper and let is go, the recyclable paper will stay scrunched up, non-recyclable wrapping paper will open back up and will need to go in the general waste. Instead of plastic sticky tape for gifts try paper-based tape for an even more eco-friendly present. Re-wrapped offers recycled wrapping paper and cards using environmentally friendly vegetable-based inks to help you out with gifts on Christmas. Furoshiki Gift Wrap also provides an eco-friendly paper alternative to wrap Christmas presents by using a zero-waste reusable cotton cloth. A traditional Japanese wrapping cloth used to wrap gifts and hold personal items, this unique and creative cloth offers a versatile and sustainable alternative to plastic materials and gift wrapping.
REDUCE YOUR FOOD WASTE
Planning ahead is key to enjoying a more sustainable Christmas lunch. Sourcing local and organic ingredients from your local produce shops, avoiding multiple shopping trips or deliveries to reduce carbon emissions, and reduce packaging from your shopping are all ways to make your Christmas environmentally friendly. Create a menu of what you are going to eat to cut down on food waste and create new recipes with any leftovers. To avoid food going into the bin see what you can freeze to have at a later date or start a compost heap so that food can be broken down into soil instead. Love Food Hate Waste has some great tips to saving and storing food especially at Christmas.
Making these small changes can make all the difference in reducing our environmental impact during the festive period. We hope that you found these tips useful and please get in touch if you have anymore sustainable tips that worked for you!