First & foremost, Happy December! The Festive month is upon us and I can’t wait to get stuck in to all things Christmas. Have you decorated your house yet? I think we are doing it tomorrow! I have lots of festive content planned throughout December… But, I wanted to kick-start the month with some eco-conscious and sustainability at Christmas posts. Nothing drastic, just little changes you can make/things to be aware of whilst you are planning your celebrations & buying your presents.
In the UK alone, around 8 million Christmas trees are bought each year. That is potentially a lot of waste. On the flip side, artificial trees (whilst they last longer) are made of mostly plastic, and use a lot of energy to manufacture. So is there a right or wrong?
Honestly? Not really. But there are a few things you can do to be a bit more eco-conscious with your tree this year. Firstly, if you have an artificial tree, look after it best you can. Make it last as long as possible. Fix any broken bits and spruce it up rather than just tossing it to one side & buying a new one.
If – like me – you love a real Christmas tree, then try to buy it from a local supplier. In the West-Country we are lucky enough to have many independent places selling trees grown on their own land. Or – if you have the space – you could even grow one (bit late now, but worth thinking about). Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to be surrounded by local tree-growers. But if you are then please do!
You can also look out for trees with FSC certification. And make sure you recycle your tree come January!
This is two-part. Firstly, wrapping your gifts & reusing your cards. Secondly the gifts themselves (which I will come onto in a different blog post later…).
Last year (in the spirit of being eco-conscious) I ditched the very tempting Christmas wrapping paper. Instead, wrapped all my presents in brown paper & string. Most ‘normal’ wrapping papers cannot be recycled, whereas brown paper can. Plus, if you’re savvy you can find brown paper that has already been recycled – win win! Doing this also allows you to get creative with gorgeous ribbons & extras (but remember to keep hold of them for reusing next year too!).
Another point about gifts… Don’t buy for the sake of buying. And if you have to buy, maybe try consumable products instead. Everyone always ends up with presents each year that they are never going to use. These presents either get left in a cupboard or thrown away. If you feel like you have to send someone a gift, but don’t know what they like, go for chocolates/cheeses/wines/hampers/sauces etc etc – things they can eat! That way we can cut down the mass-production of pointless and unused gifts. And if you can get away with not buying too many gifts, or perhaps donating to a cause instead, then do that. The less we buy, the less is produced, which in turn reduces our carbon footprint massively (and the footprint of the world!).
Personally, I love sending & receiving Christmas cards but I know they are not the most eco-friendly of items. Most people throw away their Christmas cards (1.5 billion in the UK alone each year – wowza), which is of course a huge waste. Instead, why not keep them in a box for the year and use the fronts of them as gift tags for next year? My granny used to do this and I think it’s a great way to reuse beautiful cards!
Alternatively, you could always send e-cards (which I think is the direction we’ll end up going in), and there’s always the option of getting creative & making your own (using recycled materials, obvs). Or – of course – not send any at all (but I don’t like this idea much – I’m a sap for tradition!).
General Eco-Conscious Awareness
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do it to just be aware of having an eco-conscious Christmas. When it comes to your food shop, buy locally as much as you can (especially your meat!), which not only cuts your carbon footprint but also supports local businesses at this expensive time of year. Be aware of where your items are coming from/being made etc, and maybe think twice about buying them if they have been shipped from the other side of the world.
Christmas is such a hectic time of year, but it’s also a time when we experience the most waste. So if everyone could do just a small thing to try and help reduce the waste/carbon footprint and be a bit more (yep, you guessed it) eco-conscious, we could make a huge difference!
*All pics in this post are from previous years… I haven’t decorated my house just yet!!*
Next up, I’ll be chatting about some sustainable gift ideas, so keep your eyes peeled for that! You can also find some more sustainability content & other Christmas content in the posts below…