'Tis the season for consumption frenzy and over-doing it. Here are six easy tips on a greener Christmas.
Use recycled paper for wrapping gifts.
Did you know that most wrapping paper is not recyclable? Wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated and contains non-paper additives like glitter, metallic material and plastic which cannot be recycled. This Christmas why not try using recyclable paper and recycling gift wrap instead— from newspapers to old wrapping paper you have lying around? Avoid ribbon or tape as they are not recyclable.
Or try furoshiki. This centuries old Japanese method of wrapping requires cloth or fabric and is an elegant and eco-friendly solution to our ugly plastic problem. Wrap your gifts in natural linen, scrap fabric, recycled clothing textile, or silk which can be part of the gift and worn as a scarf or bag.
If you’re going to buy gifts, choose gifts from ethical and eco-friendly brands, and support small and local businesses. Or try vintage and second hand.
Avoid panic buying. Instead, buy less, choose carefully, and opt for things that will last and have meaning. Last year in the UK alone people received 70 million unwanted Christmas gifts, much of which probably ended up in landfill. By buying less you could reduce the amount of waste you contribute to. Or, consider gifting an experience, or donating to a cause in a loved one’s name. Here are some more ideas.
Do it Yourself
Make gifts yourself. Got a flair for baking? Bake a fabulous cake or cookies for a friend. If you're a whizz with plants and flowers, put together a gorgeous floral arrangement with locally bought blooms. You can even create a lovely food basket with seasonal fresh produce from a farmer’s market. Or put together a stack of books you’ve read and loved that you may want to pass on to a bookworm friend.
Buy Local Produce
If you’re in a city or town that has farmer's markets, buying locally grown is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint, and enjoy fresh food. Plus, you’ll be supporting small and local businesses.
And remember, waste not, want not! Don't prepare more food than you need, and save those leftovers for Boxing Day. You won't want to be cooking with a hangover anyway.
Reduce Your Meat Consumption
The meat and dairy industry is one of the leading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss and water pollution, and responsible for more emissions than all the world's planes, trains, cars and boats put together. Cutting down on your meat intake is the simplest thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
There are loads of meat alternatives nowadays, and eating more veggies is not only good for the planet, but also good for your health, of course. So, include more vegetables in your Christmas recipes. And if you need some recipe ideas check a few out here, or these great vegan cook books.
Say No to Plastic
Avoid plastic bags for your Christmas shopping—grab a reusable bag instead. While you’re at it, try to cut down on plastic overall. From artificial Christmas trees to Christmas decorations and Christmas crackers, think about what you can better substitute with eco-friendly alternatives.