Christmas can be a favourite time of year for children, but it is also a time where tonnes of waste is produced. It is estimated that we produce over 30% more waste during the holidays with over 100 million bags of rubbish being sent to landfill. Try out our ideas for some things you can do to have a more sustainable Christmas this year and still have plenty of fun.
Sustainable Christmas Gifts
Experience gift-giving can be a great gift idea that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. There are plenty of ideas to choose from that can be fun for all the family, including learning a new skill, going to the pantomime or days out to visit wildlife or museums. Give a gift that keeps on growing and get a tree planting gift for a fun way to encourage being more ethical. There are lots of companies out there that offer tree planting gifts including The National Forest, Trees For Life and the Woodland Trust. If you do prefer to give someone a physical gift then try to opt for one that is Fairtrade, ethical and sustainable, such as plants, seeds, Fairtrade clothing or homemade food gifts in reusable jars.
Sustainable Christmas Wrapping
In the UK, we use more than 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each Christmas and most of this cannot even be recycled and ends up in landfill. Try wrapping gifts in reusable cloth, offcuts of material or scarves from charity shops that look great and can be used again and again. Try the Furoshiki wrapping method to make it look even more creative! Using brown paper with Christmas stamps is another creative way to wrap your gifts and be made more festive using holly, dried oranges or pine cones. Alternatively, try using recyclable paper that has been made from recyclable materials.
Sustainable Christmas Trees
Did you know that around 8 million trees are used in the UK every year? This can leave a huge carbon footprint, but there are various ways we can all help to reduce this:
- Rent a Christmas Tree that can be picked up again in the new year and replanted
- Buy a real tree that can be taken away by your council to be recycled
- Re-use the artificial tree that you already have
- Buy a second-hand Christmas tree and give it a new home so that it does not go to waste
Sustainable Christmas Decorations
Try to use decorations that you already have or explore creative ways to upcycle old decorations so that they can be used again. Get crafty and make your own decorations with your little ones for a fun and festive activity. You can easily avoid using plastics or glitter by getting outside into nature to find some festive ideas for your creations.
Sustainable Christmas Cards
Christmas cards contribute to a huge amount of paper waste with more than 1 billion cards being sold that will end up in the bin. Here are a few ideas that you can try over the holidays:
- Get your loved one’s email addresses and send them Christmas eCards that can easily be designed online
- Did you know that plantable Christmas cards exist? These are embedded with seeds that can be planted and grown into something beautiful once planted after use
- Buy recycled cards that do not contain glitter
- Keep your cards for next year
Sustainable Christmas Food
- Reduce the amount of food you buy to tackle food waste by making a list and sticking to it
- Buy local to support your local suppliers as well as reducing your food’s carbon footprint
- Make some tasty Christmas soups, pies or casseroles from your leftovers to freeze rather than throw away
- Try out a plant-based Christmas from the many options that supermarkets now provide
Switch To Re-usable
In the UK alone, it’s estimated that 100 million crackers are pulled over the festive period. Try using reusable crackers to save money as well as waste, there are plenty of ideas online for ideas on what to put inside. Avoid spending money on plastic or paper tableware just because they are Christmas themed and use what you already have in your kitchen.