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Christmas Gift Wrap

How to have a Sustainable Christmas

 

 

Since COP26 we have heard lots of people planning to make changes in their lifestyles to make eco-friendly choices.  Christmas is the most wasteful time of year – so why not start with a sustainable Christmas!

It is estimated that each household will create 1/3 extra waste. This comes from food, wrapping paper, gift packaging – approximately 6million trees are thrown out after Christmas!

So, we thought we would put together some ideas of how to have a more sustainable Christmas.

Sustainable Christmas Food

Gingerbread biscuitsQuite possibly the best part of Christmas – all the delicious food! We always find ourselves questioning why so many ‘Christmas foods’ are only eaten at this time of year when they are so delicious! Here are a couple of tips on eating more sustainably:

  • Think carefully about how much food you are planning, try to reduce waste by not purchasing it in the first place AND save yourself money too.
  • Buy from local markets and suppliers, then you know the food will be extra fresh and you are helping the local economy.
  • Purchase ethically sourced luxuries such as coffee and chocolate, lots of these products will be easy to spot with the fair-trade logo on their packaging.
  • Would you miss the turkey amongst all the other items on your plate? Have you thought about reducing your meat intake!?

Sustainable Christmas Gifting

Second hand bookshopThere are lots of eco-friendly gifts available whether they are made from environmentally friendly material, upcycled or second hand – here are a few ideas for you:

  • Clothing – doesn’t have to be from charity shops. Take a look at Depop , Vinted and other similar clothing websites. You will find a lot of clothes have only been worn once and may even still have their tags on.
  • Wooden toys for children are made from a more sustainable material and often come with less packaging. If you have a choice of toys and can’t decide between them then take a look at the package – which has less plastic, which will have more going to landfill? Hopefully this will help your decision.
  • If you are buying for a true book lover then they won’t mind second hand books – think about purchasing online from places such as Oxfam.
  • Take a look in your local charity shops and see if you can find a bargain! If you are buying for someone who supports a charity such as Macmillan nurses or your local hospice then check their shops out or even look at gift vouchers! Oxfam is a great shop to look in (or online!) They don’t just do secondhand items, they do new ones too. All their new items are ethically sourced and produced. They also do donation vouchers such as “food for a family” which shows that you have purchased the gift of giving a family in crisis the gift of a food basket.
    Colourful gradient tote bagBuy Upcycled Gifts – not just from ourselves (but please do feel free to view our gifts here) , although that would be an excellent decision! There are SO many great items to choose from furniture to baby clothes found online.
  • Buy your gifts from local or independent companies and small start ups.
  • Introduce someone to a new eco-friendly item such as Who give’s a crap toilet paper or Wild Deodorant. Get them addicted to a fantastic new product they will want to replace, making them change a little of their life to be more eco-friendly.

Sustainable Christmas Cards and Wrapping

Gifts wrapped in paper and string

  • Buy Christmas cards carefully, avoid glitter or ones with sound batteries as these will go to landfill. You can buy cards which gives proceeds to charity, or maybe think about making your own!
  • We love glitter! But it doesn’t breakdown and is a hazard to animals who digest it so it is best to avoid buying any items with glitter – unless its biodegradable!
  • Use recyclable gift wrap and cards or purchase wrapping paper made from recycled paper! You could also think about reusing packaging, mason jars, old books, newspaper or old fabric/cut up clothes. Get creative, your recipient will love it! Just avoid shiny or glittered paper – this can’t be recycled.

Sustainable Christmas DecorationsChristmas candles

  • Unless you already own tinsel, avoid buying it – no need for more plastic to be created when there are loads of fun alternatives. Make paper chains with the kids that can be fully recycled after.
  • Have a quick search online for eco-friendly Christmas decorations, there are loads of beautiful hand made items that are made sustainably.
  • Rent a tree! These are becoming more popular with several places across the UK delivering living trees to your door. As they are alive, they do not drop needles. Then after they are planted back into the ground!
  • Instead of filling your house with fairy lights and using electricity it is the perfect time of year to light candles (please do this safely!). Soy or bees wax candles are best for the environment. If you want fairy lights, then think about LEDS or solar lights.
  • But new decorations responsibly – avoid plastic, buy items that will last or even make your own (plenty of ideas and tutorials on Pinterest!).

After Christmas

Recycling Logo

  • How much food do you throw away after Christmas? You could freeze leftovers for future dinners or turn them into something else such as turkey pie or curry, soups. There are lots of great recipes online.
  • Save your gift bags! Get a pencil and write who gave you the bag, then next year you can reuse it but know who not to give it back to!
  • The local council will state what can be recycled, sometimes rules are changed allowing more items and more cardboard.
  • Give unwanted items that have been replaced such as electrical items, clothing or toys to charity.
  • Most local councils will take your Christmas tree but alternative check your local zoo, wildlife park or farm. They may take trees and toys or food for their animals. Trees can also be made into shelters for wildlife.

There are SO many changes you could make to have an eco-friendlier Christmas… which one will you make first?

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