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…
A question I’m sure you’re all dying to know the answer to… Truth is, I absolutely love knowing what people have in their handbags/work bags… Is that weird? Anyway, I thought – since I love others doing this so much – I’d write a what’s in my work bag post!
I haven’t written much over the past couple of weeks, so wanted to write something fun & lighthearted today (to help get back into it more than anything else).
So, seriously, what’s in my work bag?
I hate packing my work bag before work, so I try and keep it as simple as possible (as well as not taking too much out of it). Here we go…
My diary. I am stationery obsessed, and a yearly diary is a must have Christmas present for me. In recent years I’ve got the ‘Perfect Planner’ from the Busy B online stationery shop (aka the place of dreams). Although for 2020 I’m thinking about mixing it up, and going for one of their other diaries… #rivetingstuff
Notebooks. My notebooks of choice tend to vary depending on where I’m going/what I’m doing. But this is my blogging/business notebook and I love it. I’d also be totally lost without it as I write all my ideas/plans/goals/etc etc in there.
Lipsticks, naturally. I mean, you’ve always got to have one handy, right!?
Pencil case. Really, I’m still 11 at heart… I bloody love a pencil case! Highlighters, pencils, and an assortment of different colours pens are all must-haves for my work bag.
Perfume – always. Work days are long and I always like being able to freshen up if I need to (especially when I have client meetings!).
I also have various keys, plasters, pain relief, wet wipes, tea bags (herbal, obvs), plus snacks/lunch/water (which always weighs my bag down…). Somehow I never use everything in one given day, but always keep it all with me because you just never know!
Whilst I get caught up on blogging, have a read of some of my previous autumnal posts. May as well make the most of autumn whilst it’s here! And I shall see you soon with some more fascinating blog content…..!
I was thrilled with the response to my recent Instagram story about shopping locally, and figured there’s a conversation to be had here.
If you didn’t catch it, I filmed a short clip of the fruit & veg at a greengrocers where I live and wrote about how I’ve started shopping locally (aka from independent stores, rather than supermarkets) predominantly for fruit & veg, but to be honest I try to get as much as I can! Afterwards, I had many messages about others trying to do the same thing, which is brilliant! And definitely something we should be raising more awareness about.
Save Monday & Feel Good About It
For me, saving money is brilliant but not quite as brilliant as feeling good about where I’m spending it. We’ve all got to spend money on food, so why not spend it in local places and support local businesses & farmers (particularly in the West Country!).
That aside, shopping at a local greengrocers has been financially beneficial too. I compared what I bought this week to the prices at Morrisons and as it happens I saved about £7. That might not seem like much, but £7 every week adds up pretty quickly! Plus, that’s not a gram for gram comparison. The veg I bought from the greengrocers was definitely bigger than the veg I usually get in Morrisons, so I’m sure if I compared them gram for gram I’d be saving even more!
Shopping Locally & Saving the Environment
Being strict about where my food comes from has always been a big thing for me. Where absolutely possible, I buy produce from inside the UK. Fruit, veg, milk, eggs, meat etc goes without saying, but I’m also conscious of where my cupboard products are from too.
This is so important when it comes to the environment. Now, I’m not one to preach… But I’m going to anyway!
It is our responsibility to be more aware of where our food is coming from. Yes, it’s lovely to have an unlimited supply of out-of-season fruit whenever we want it, but we need to be thinking about how my poison is being spat into our atmosphere from the amount we import from overseas. (I appreciate the topic of imports/exports is a tad touchy at the moment… *Don’t mention Brexit*). Still, we do have to be aware of the environmental impacts.
Now, let’s talk about plastic… The carbon footprint from imports is only a small part of the environmental impact. We are all aware of the plastic epidemic, and there has already been a huge push to reduce the amount of plastic that are ending up in our oceans. Still, you walk into a supermarket and are bombarded by so.much.packaging. Unnecessary amounts of single use plastic.
Yes, supermarkets have now started trying to eliminate the amount of plastic used in packaging, but we’ve still got a long way to go.
I’ve found that 90% of items at a greengrocers are loose, and they provide paper bags that can be reused and recycled. So, you can do an almost entirely plastic free shop. What’s not to love! Something to consider when trying to reduce your plastic consumption or carbon footprint…
REDUCE . REUSE . RECYCLE – we’ve all heard it before, but are we all doing our bit?
Before I get any backlash, I’m very aware that not every town has a greengrocers or something similar, and not every person is able to shop like this. This post is just about raising awareness, and if you’re able to, then do.