Christmas is the most magical time of the year for ALOTTA people!!
The festive period is filled with mulled wine, ice skating, Christmas shopping and cheesy music! Then there is spending quality time with family and friends, sharing gifts and home cooked meals together and making memories that will last a lifetime. But memories arnt the only thing left from the festive period that last a lifetime, so does plastic and other non recyclable product waste equating to around THREE MILLION TONNES every single YEAR! Yes, that’s right, experts reckon that during the festive season alone, we produce an extra 30% of rubbish, that’s around three million tonnes consumed and discarded.
Our mass consumption over the festive period, thanks to everything from excessive food to gifting, is linked to environmental damage of epic proportions – hardly great when we know the state the planet’s in already. Want to do better this year?
Here’s how to have a very merry sustainable Christmas season…
WRAPPING & CARDS
It’s time to do away with not eco friendly wrapping paper, once and for all, and here’s why: Most wrapping paper ends up in a landfill and cannot be recycled! A lot of the paper you might think is recyclable is actually lined with plastic, glitter encrusted paper is especially terrible (which is really quite sad I know!).
The options for eco friendly wrapping paper have really improved over recent years!
WELL I have scoured the internet to find all the best eco-friendly options so we can fill our recycling bins this Christmas, not the landfills!
- Paperchase have a excellent Kraft eco range of wrapping paper with all sorts of fun patterns, colours and classics. All 100% recycled and recyclable!
- Re-Wrapped specialize in the production of high quality ECO Friendly Wrapping Paper and Cards all made in the UK. They only use 100% Recycled Unbleached Materials and Vegan Friendly Vegetable Inks and all their products are biodegradable and compostable and can themselves be Recycled!
- Etsy has such a incredible range of eco-friendly gift wrap, as you could probably imagine. Every taste, theme, colour and pattern you can imagine, all while supporting independent businesses and creatives.
- Peace With The Wild offer a range of eco gift wrap and eco wrapping paper that is made with eco-friendly, recyclable, biodegradable materials. With eco-friendly and reusable alternatives they stock all the eco gift wrap essentials you need to wrap the perfect zero waste, eco gift! Supplied in plastic free packaging that can be recycled or reused.
Some of my favourite finds…
There are plenty of eco friendly ways to up your wrapping paper game! You can use regular parcel paper, paper string and tie a lovely bow, you could even draw or paint on a bow and other patterns if your feeling crafty!!
(I have the drawing skills of a blind T Rex so I will not be putting my family through that!)
Here are a few fun ideas for designing your own gift wrap….
Then you have the options of gift boxes and bags! Now… the best part of these are they are quick, easy and reusable. Instant win!
There are TONNES out there to buy but be sure to check they are eco friendly, again Paperchase have a fab selection but so do websites such as the plastic free shop. Eco friendly everything including recyclable gift bags and boxes to paper ribbon, tissue paper, paper bows and even plastic free tape!!
You can get your hands on all these easily at the same cost as any other brands but they will be a MUCH lower cost to the planet.
Check out the full selection of paper ribbon from paperchase HERE
Another simple way to a more sustainable christmas are plantable cards! The idea is that these are not only beautiful cards, but then come January, you can plant them and beautiful bee friendly, wildflowers will grow!
SAVE THE BEES!
What a FAB idea!! The amount of christmas cards thrown out each year is astounding and while I am aware many people have stopped giving them altogether, plantable cards are a lovely guilt free option for those who still want to do cards.
Having a christmas that’s kinder on the planet shouldn’t mean sacrificing anything on your decorations! In fact here are a whole bunch of sites and ideas to make your more sustainable christmas a reality…
Wooden, fruity and natural…
Wooden decorations, cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices… your home has never smelt so good with all natural christmas decorations. John Lewis and Etsy have fantastic selections of paper baubles, stars and other decorations, in fact Etsy is absolutely chock full of FAB handmade decorations and it is a double win because you support a small business while also doing your part for the planet!
Another great perk of buying handmade is quite often there are personalised options, initials on baubles, names on stockings, you name it!
Or how about trying your hand at making your own? Pictured just above are 11 fun, creative but simple ideas to make your own decorations!
Here are a few fab ideas…
– Felt christmas trees
– DIY paper houses
– Clothes line pegs stars
– Sugar cookies
– Dried fruit
– Printable ornaments
– Wrapped yarn or twine ornaments
– Salt dough or clay ornaments
– Scrap ribbon trees
– Wine cork reindeers (A personal fave of mine!!)
– Peppermint cocoa christmas ornaments
– Photo transfer wooden ornaments
CHRISTMAS TREE & LIGHTS
There has been some debate on this the last few years. And although the carbon footprint of a real tree depends on the method of its disposal, it is invariably lower than that of an artificial tree. … If you want to be environmentally friendly this Christmas, your best option would be to buy a potted tree which can be replanted and re-used year after year. There are even companies who you can actually rent a real tree. If this isn’t a option for you then a real tree that is disposed of properly and burnt, not just left in a landfill, still has a much lower carbon footprint than an artificial tree.
When it comes to lights, believe it or not some options are definitely better than others. If every UK household swapped a string of incandescent lights for its LED equivalent, we could save more than £11 million and 29,000 tonnes of CO2, just over the 12 days of Christmas.
LEDs are much more environmentally-friendly than your regular twinkly iridescent lights because they use up to 80% less energy. So by simply switching to solar-powered lights outdoors, and putting all sets on a timer. You’ll not only make environmental savings but your energy bills will be reduced too!
Now don’t hate me but those cheap advent calendars with chocs in that you love… yeah the planet HATES them! For a few reasons these are not usually environmentally friendly, the inner part is almost always plastic and because they are made so cheaply and in such high numbers, the carbon footprint is absolutely shocking. There are a tonne of fun, unique ways to do your own reusable advent calendars that you can have a lot of fun with!
Growing up one of my happiest Christmas memories was my advent calendar, my wonderful mum made this hand sewn wall calendar with pockets for each day and every morning I would run downstairs to see what was in today’s pocket! It could be a small toy, a little present or chocolate. It was personal and so so special.
FOOD & DRINK
Being more eco friendly at christmas, a notoriously excessive time of year, means also being a more responsible cook. By cutting back, cooking smart and planning ahead, we can all make a difference to the planet and run our homes more efficiently!
Shop at your local greengrocers buying loose fruit and veg and at butchers who source their meats from local farms. They use minimal packaging, most of the produce is locally sourced and your supporting a small business!
All of which is of huge benefit to the environment and the community. PLUS often times the quality is much better than large supermarket chains.
When you do your shopping … there are a few things to be mindful of.
– Crisps and snacks often come in packaging that can’t be recycled. so buy bigger packs rather than individual portions to cut down on how much you need to throw away.
– Remember to take your own reusable shopping bags to the supermarket.
– If you order online try to make sure you get everything in one order, rather than multiple deliveries in separate vehicles.
– Choosing seasonal, locally grown veg cuts out the carbon emissions from flying them in from all over the world.
– The less miles your food has had to travel to your plate, THE BETTER!
– FREE RANGE meat and eggs from local farms are the absolute best way to go.
REMEMBER – Your feeding your family or friends… not a small army!
Try not to buy more than you know you will need! Especially fruit, veg, meat and other perishables. If you know that only 1 person will eat sprouts… do not get 2 bags ‘just incase’. The mentality that ‘Id rather have to much than too little’ is crazy, you have got this far in life you can decide how much will be just enough with enough for leftover (because you’ve got to have leftovers!!).
Just stay conscious of how much your buying compared to how many your feeding.
BEFORE YOU GO THROWING GOOD FOOD AWAY
– Can you use it in another meal?
– Can you freeze it?
– Can you donate it?
Other ways to keep your christmas feast eco friendly are to think about the small things, the crackers, napkins and even the cutlery if your hosting large groups.
Here are some fab eco friendly options…
Christmas is a time of love, sharing and giving, we need to give back to the planet too. We only have one planet and the best we look after it now, the better it will be for future generations. Simple, small changes make a bigger difference than most people realise and by switching your wrapping, crackers, decorations or anything else for something which is kinder on our planet, we can all do our part to ensure the planet survives for many generations to come.
Be sure to check out our Ultimate Gift Guide (coming soon). This will include sustainable gift ideas and small businesses you’ll love!
I ALWAYS love to hear what you love, please do let me know in the comments what your doing to have a more sustainable christmas or email me if you have a small business or suggestions I should include in future blogs!
Have a fantastic festive season, and a very, merry christmas