It is the season to be very careful with the environmental impact. Here’s how to go green this Christmas
“Alright elves,” Santa yells, pushing his glasses up to his nose, “let’s see who’s been good this year.” A cheer goes up around him as he traces his finger through a list, heartily ho-ho-ho-ho as he passes the names of the well-behaved.
Suddenly it stops. The workshop falls silent. “Every year the UK throws away enough wrapping paper to go around the equator nine times? “Santa asks, frowning,” and they compartment 74 million mince pies?
“I’m afraid so, sir,” says the elf to his right. “They’re on the naughty list.”
Regardless of how it is carved, the impact of Christmas on the environment is more of a nightmare than anything Ebenezer Scrooge has ever experienced.
Here’s how to make your holidays cleaner than a joke:
1. Rent, recycle or reuse your tree
The greenest way to have a tree is to rent one. “Customers love the idea of being able to contribute in some way to sustainability and a healthy planet,” says Craig Tennock of Cotswold Fir Forestry, who rents trees in Gloucestershire. “Then there is the aspect of being able to have your own personal tree year after year.”
A growing number of companies allow people to rent Christmas trees. Image: Bernard Hermant
If you can’t rent, buy a potted fir tree and grow it in your garden to reuse every year. Or buy an FSC certified tree to make sure it comes from a well managed forest and recycle it properly; most municipalities recycle trees into chips, reducing their carbon footprint by up to 80% compared to sending them to landfill.
Plastic trees, which can only go to landfill, have twice the carbon footprint of a real tree. If you already have one, keep using it.
2. make your own Christmas decorations
Take the shine off Christmas decorations when you discover that neither the tinsel nor the baubles are recyclable. Instead, make your own with hanging salt dough toppers, dried orange slice toppers, and cinnamon sticks for the tree. Each is fully compostable, while wreaths made from forage materials like pinecones, ivy, and holly can be recycled on the sidewalk.
3. Get rid of the Christmas lights outside, use solar power inside
Outdoor Christmas lights create so much light pollution that NASA can see them from space, so it may be beneficial to keep the festive illuminations inside. Decorative lights cost the UK £ 3.75th day for running around the festive period, so opt for solar powered LED tree lights. Turn them off at night.
4. Use an ethical search engine to search for gifts.
If you’re looking for gifts online, use nonprofits Ecosia. 80 percent of its advertising revenue funds reforestation efforts in countries like Brazil and Indonesia. Also, they don’t save your searches, they don’t track the websites you visit or sell your data.
5. Choose cards wisely and recycle the ones you receive
The UK sends around 1.05 billion Christmas cards each year, but 1 billion of them are not recycled – the equivalent of cutting down about 350,000 trees. 1 tree cards We sell 100% recycled cards, printed with vegan inks and using renewable energy. Also, for every card they send, they plant a tree Eden reforestation projects. Alternatively, buy recycled or FSC certified cards and avoid those with glitter or plastic.
Buying cards made from recycled paper can help prevent tree felling. Image: Annie Spratt
6. Buy less and buy ethically
A YouGov survey found that 57 per cent of people in the UK receive at least one unwanted gift, so ask people what they want for Christmas, or give them a few options to choose from. Our own ethical gift guide You have a lot of great ideas, but focus on buying less and buying better.
7. Second-hand and reward gifts
According to a study, the amount of artificial material created each week weighs the same as the total population of the Earth. Add nothing else: register unwanted gifts, look for second-hand gems at charity stores, craft your own sustainable wards, and avoid anything that requires batteries.
“The pre-loved movement has completely changed the way we think about gifts. Many people do not want to receive a pile of new gifts that they know have had a negative impact on the environment, “says Helen Elfer, founder of Stork, a favorite market for families.
Forage materials like pineapples can be used to make sustainable decorations. Image: Annie Spratt
8. Wrap gifts in Furoshiki or recyclable brown paper.
The UK pulls obscene amounts of wrapping paper and the plastic, aluminum foil, glitter, and duct tape on many sheets make them unrecoverable. Furoshiki, a traditional, reusable Japanese wrapping cloth is a great alternative, or use recyclable brown paper.
9. Buy sustainable Christmas cookies
According to BusinessWaste.co.uk99 percent of British people throw plastic gifts into Christmas cookies. Or buy plastic-free biscuits through charities like RSPB or try doing yours using toilet roll holders, brown paper, and a little tongue-out craft.
10. Buy food made through resilient farming systems.
“By buying locally, we can talk to people about the origin of our food, to make informed decisions about the type of food we want to eat and the agricultural practices we want to support,” explains Lucia Monje-Jelfs from Sustainable Food Trust.
Do your research for Christmas dinner. the Farms to feed us The database highlights small-scale producers who grow food using resilient agricultural systems, while Large barn brings together more than 600 artisan and specialized producers who support sustainable local agriculture.
The Olio app allows people to share Christmas leftovers with the people in need. Image: Monika Grabkowska
11. Avoid meat (if not, opt for organic and free range products)
Having a plant-only diet is the best thing we can do to reduce carbon emissions and with so many great vegan and vegetarian cookbooks (try Anna Jones or Vanilla Black), now is the time to go all out (no meat) . If meat is your holiday fantasy, buy local, organic, and free range produce. Here is a guide to buying organic products with very little money.
12. Plan Better, Eat Less, and Donate Leftovers
UK scraps a report 2 million turkeys at Christmas, crowning 270,000 tons of festive food without eating. To reduce waste, clean out your refrigerator before Christmas and plan and distribute your meals wisely. Share the leftovers in Petroleum, an app that connects you with neighbors who might need them, and provides recipes to make the most of leftovers.
13. Drink in a sustainable way
“Drink all those things that have been in the back of the closet forever,” advises Tim Etherington-Judge, co-founder of Avallen, a brand of Calvados with the aim of being the most sustainable spirit in the world. Drinking seasonally is also important. “Avoid citrus, avoid summer fruits. Don’t drink passion fruit daiquiris at Christmas, ”he says.
Aim to buy locally, from beverage producers who are trying to make a difference like Cooper King Distillery Geneva, Nc’nean Distillery whiskey, Young spirits vodka and effervescence of Sustainable wines from Great Britain.
Lead Image: Markus Spiske