With Christmas just around the corner, we thought we would show you some fantastic ways for your Christmas to be the most sustainable you have ever had!
1. Every year 8 million Christmas trees are bought in the UK alone. This Christmas, look at buying an FSC certified Christmas tree, ideally grown in the UK. With 100 million trees grown in the UK at one time, buying a real tree will help to keep tree farms in business, resulting in negligible or even negative emissions. Besides, nothing beats the smell of a real Christmas tree!
2. When the time comes to take down your Christmas tree make sure you dispose of it correctly by either taking it to a dedicated recycling point or turning it into mulch and chips for compost. 9000 tonnes of Christmas trees are thrown away each year and only 1/6th are recycled.
3. Buying eco-friendly or second-hand presents can be a fantastic way to support our planet. Either look in charity shops or buy new eco-friendly clothes or products from environmentally friendly organisations such as WWF-UK, RSPB or the National Trust.
4. Why not buy a living present for Christmas this year? A tree or plant is a fantastic gift for your loved ones, that if looked after properly lasts forever.
5. We all love our food at Christmas time whether it be gingerbread men or Christmas pudding. This year have a look and see if you can find any vegetarian or vegan recipes for these delicious snacks and meals. Not only are they brilliant for the planet but they taste fantastic.
6. On Christmas Day, if you’re having a turkey or a big roast ham, make sure you know where it is coming from. Is it from a free-range market and sustainably and kindly produced? With over 2 million turkeys eaten at Christmas each year, you can make a massive difference with this one small step.
7. With huge amounts of fruit and veg eaten at Christmas, make sure you buy seasonally. Importing from overseas creates a huge carbon footprint so buying local and seasonal foods such as cabbage, sprouts, carrots and pears can make your Christmas more sustainable.
8. Buying a shop-made wreath can be very detrimental to the planet. So why not look at making your own? Go for a walk in nature and see if you can forage for any materials such as pine cones or holly. Make sure you do this with nature in mind and be kind to your surroundings.
9. A little known fact is that most baubles can’t be recycled. See if you can make your own using recycled materials, fabric or even wood to give your Christmas tree an eco-friendly touch.
10. 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are used each year, that’s enough to go round the world 9 times! Try and use alternatives like brown paper, recycled paper, fsc certified wrapping paper, or even old newspapers. A brilliant idea I’ve seen before is using a scarf. Adding your own handmade decorations gives a unique touch.
11. In the UK each year we throw away 1.5 billion cards so try and use e-cards or FSC certified cards to reduce your footprint when spreading the Christmas cheer.
12. No matter how fun Christmas is for us, wildlife can find this a really challenging time of year. Look at making a Christmas tree for nature that you decorate with bird feeders and food as well as insect hibernation boxes or hotels and give our wildlife that much needed boost this Christmas.
13. Crackers are very harmful to the environment and are used in massive quantities at Christmas. You can make your own environmentally friendly crackers using linen or cloth that are reusable and that you can add your own unique gifts to. Or, organisations such as the RSPB sell recyclable crackers.
14. Another decoration idea for you to try and craft is eco-friendly bunting. With any leftover crackers, Christmas cards or other decorations you can add them to a piece of string and make brilliant bunting that can be used over and over again and save lots of your decorations that are destined for the rubbish.
15. Thousands of advent calendars are bought and disposed of each year. A reusable calendar will save you time and money. You can either buy one or make it yourself from wood, fabric or any other material you can think of. Adding your own presents for each day gives a personal touch
16. Incandescent Christmas lights are incredibly damaging to the environment and if every household in the UK swapped to LED string lights we would save 29,000 tonnes of CO2 and £11 million. Making sure your Christmas lights are LED can ensure you are a part of the solution.
17. Glitter is used everywhere at Christmas and it is very easy for it to find its way into the ecosystem. Using plant-based and biodegradable alternatives means that your Christmas won’t leave its mark on nature.
18. Over Christmas, we all get dressed up in an array of outfits. But these outfits can really affect the environment. Try to avoid buying brand new and look at used or vintage items to make up your outfits. Avoiding sequins and looking for eco-friendly cotton is a must as well.
19. With millions of gifts given each year a huge toll is taken on the physical resources of our planet. Instead of giving a physical present look at giving an experience. Whether it be a wildlife conservation course or archery lesson, this will reduce the burden on our planet’s resources while giving your loved ones an opportunity unlike ever before.
20. Planning ahead is one of the best ways to stay on the right side of sustainability. Ensure you buy the right amount of food for your Christmas meals and if you do have to leave some, try and save it with tupperware or wax cloth covers. There are loads of delicious leftover recipes for you to try. 270,000 tonnes of food is wasted at Christmas by households so let’s make sure to take your name off that list.
21. Are you going on holiday this year? If so, here are some tips for you to stay sustainable on your travels: do your research before you go, buy local, travel light, travel slow and offset your travel.
22. Even the neatest of us need napkins at Christmas lunch, but try to avoid paper or disposable napkins and stick to reusable cloth. These can be washed after each meal and ideally done so on a cool setting.
23. Make sure you get out there and get exploring this Christmas. Nature never stops and there are some incredible sights to be seen even in the winter cold. Use the Seek app to identify, log and share any species you find along the way.
24. 95% of Xmas jumpers are made with acrylic or plastic and have a big footprint on nature. Buying used or sticking to your favourite one each year makes sure you don’t throw more plastic into our beautiful planet.
25. With the huge amount of items binned at Christmas make sure you’re disposing of the right ones in the right places. Compost your food and safely recycle your batteries. Tens of thousands of tonnes of cardboard is used at Christmas and can easily be recycled if you take off the tape and any foil. As always make sure to check your local council waste rules.
Most importantly, make sure you enjoy yourself this Christmas and keep nature in mind with your festivities.