The Festive season is upon us and with it comes plenty of occasions for eating, drinking, and of course, gift-giving!
The season is notorious for excess. Think mountains of presents, a glittering Christmas tree, and a table filled to the brim with delicious food.
Although this seems like a joy, its cost on the planet has become evident. With all the excitement of Christmas, it's easy not to think about what happens to all our festive waste. Once the party is over, landfills and our oceans begin teaming with wrapping paper, discarded gifts and more. Christmas is just one day, but the effects on the planet can last for years.
But, all is not lost!
Over the years people have been coming up with ways to curb the waste problem without compromising on the festive fun. It is well within your power to have a festive eco-friendly Christmas this year.
Christmas can be a hectic time for most, with the addition of new gifts, especially if you have children. Go through your home and assess what you truly need and what you could donate. If you have anything spare such as old toys, this can be a great time of the year to donate somewhere. Some great charities to try include the toy project and the salvation army.
Each year in the UK alone we use 27,000 miles worth of wrapping paper, most of which can’t be recycled. While beautiful gifts are a staple of the festive season, wrapping paper is almost immediately thrown away after use. This year, why not try using recycled wrapping paper. You can look to stylize it with stamps, twine and foliage. If you don’t have the time, try using reusable gift bags or fabric reusable wrapping.
As the consumerist idea of Christmas has grown, so has the pressure to buy presents for everyone you know. Due to this, around 150,000 tons of plastic packaging will be thrown away and not recycled in the UK this Christmas. I’m sure everyone reading this has received at least one gift over Christmas that is unwanted, probably more! This is why it’s important to not feel pressured into buying gifts just for the thrill of it. Instead, try purchasing a gift card for a service you know the recipient likes. Or, try shopping for organic, natural and fair trade products from independent businesses. This allows for a more unique gift that likely has a smaller carbon footprint and less plastic packaging.
Christmas cards are unseemingly a large problem, they cause a huge amount of waste and are usually only held onto for a month at max. Yet, it's still possible to give and receive Christmas cards sustainably. Instead of glittery cards that can’t be recycled, try eco-friendly cards, or if you're feeling adventurous - plantable cards! If you have children, get them involved with a “Christmas card workshop” at home. Use last year's cards to cut out and create your own craft this Christmas.
If you're looking to find the perfect sustainable Christmas jumper look no further than the back of your very own wardrobe. A Christmas jumper can be created using no more than an existing jumper and a bit of creativity. Pom poms are super easy to make and can be attached to your jumper for an immediate snowy feel. Attach them with safety pins if you want to reuse the jumper after the festivities are over. This up-cycling hack is something that anyone can achieve, and will be most rewarding when complete.
Not got time for the DIY, no worries! Another way to celebrate with an ordinary jumper is with a badge from Charity Save The Children, who offer 200 festive “Christmas Jumper Day” badges for £40.
Did you know that an artificial Christmas tree must be used at least 10 times for it to offset its C02 emission? Have no fear, there is an easy solution! As we have seen with the fashion industry, rentals are on the rise. This is also the case in the Christmas tree industry. When you rent your Christmas tree you don't have to commit to the same tree every year, and you can rest easy knowing your last tree is making the centrefold of another's home this year.
By enacting these small changes you will be well on your way to a greener Christmas that hasn’t compromised on the festive feeling.
A sustainable Christmas is a fun Christmas.