We’ve all sadly come to the conclusion that it’s not going to be a normal Christmas this year.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be the best one yet!
Especially when you can stand up and make a difference by being as green and sustainable as you possibly can whilst you soak up all the festive cheer. But you might be thinking – ‘Sustainability? Christmas?’ Where’s the connection there?’
Well, put down that mince pie and we’ll tell you! You might be surprised to know that Christmas racks up a hefty impact on the environment through things like thrown away Christmas trees, excessive spending, packaging, cards, wrapping and a whole lot of other stuff that doesn’t even cross our mind after we toss it in the bin. So, amongst leaving the turmoil of 2020 behind us through a lot of chocolate and buck’s fizz, how can we make Christmas 2020 a little easier on our planet?
Three words: Artificial Christmas Trees
Yes we know – for some it’s a tradition to go and grab that real Christmas tree, but chopping down a bunch of trees every year just for them to sit in your living room and then eventually sit browning at the back of the garden, is really having an effect on the environment! The Carbon Trust revealed that the cutting down of trees and the eventual chipping and burning produced a whopping 16 kg of CO2 emissions due to its production of methane gas as it decomposes. Yikes.
So, why not go artificial!
However, there is some debate between real and artificial trees and their impact on the environment. It’s true that creating artificial trees takes a lot of energy and that they are non-recyclable – but with 8 million real trees being chopped down and sold each year, that’s a lot of additional carbon emissions compared to someone keeping their artificial tree for a good 12-20 years.
According to stats, the average person in the UK sends and receives 17 Christmas cards each year, and every year they all end up in the bin. That is so much waste! So, since many of us have become online whizzes over lockdown, why don’t you give e-cards a try!
There are plenty of sites out there like Blue Mountain, Green Envelope and even MoonPig that allow you to send fun, animated e-cards to your friends and family so you can share the Christmas spirit all whilst saving the trees.
A less meaty Christmas
Let’s not lie – for many of us, the highlight of Christmas is the feasting, especially the big Christmas roast dinner where meat is usually the star of the show. But were you aware of the impact the meat market has the environment?
According to Green Peace, it massively contributed to matters such as deforestation, climate change and the endangering of species. That said, one way you could be greener this festive season is to ditch some of the meat, and with the amount of vegetarian/vegan now readily available – you have no excuse!
Take these for example –
Wrapping paper (time to get creative)
Paper and packaging are two big categories when it comes to waste around Christmas. Stats suggest that in the UK, the amount of wrapping paper we throw away amounts to 108 million rolls of wrapping paper. So, when the time comes around for you to wrap all those goodies – why don’t you get creative!
Use old wrapping paper from last year or recyclable wrapping paper in which you can decorate yourself or even better, ditch the wrapping paper and go with a nice hamper that they can keep long after Christmas had finished.
Use those leftovers!
You should know by watching Friends and the introduction of the ‘moist maker‘ that a leftover sandwich can be better than the initial meal.
That said, this Christmas you can combat food wastage by jazzing up your leftovers! Each Christmas, over 7 million tonnes of food is just thrown away and wasted, but this can be prevented by turning your leftover turkey into curry, your leftover veggies into ‘bubble and squeak’ and why not throw that leftover Christmas pudding into a blender with some milk and ice cream and make it a milkshake! And that is just the beginning. Click here to see a whole database of Christmas leftover recipes.