Sustainability and Christmas
The festive season is almost here - it's almost time to celebrate along with those we love, and have a well deserved break. It can also be the perfect time to adopt new habits, to reduce our consumption and help the planet and people around us. If each person takes a small step into having a more sustainable festive period, we can celebrate with even lighter hearts as we have taken steps to reduce the impact of our behaviours. From reducing your food waste and wrapping your gifts in a sustainable way, to donating clothes and toys and your time to a local project, there are many changes you can adopt to make a difference. Let's start this journey together!
A big part of Christmas, that so many of us look forward to for months beforehand, is the Christmas dinner! Whether it's the turkey, the yorkshire puddings, or even the brussel sprouts that you've been looking forward to, there are ways you can have this meal whilst reducing your environmental impact. In the UK we waste alsmost 270,000 tonnes of food in the second half of December, which is something we want to encourage you to help to change! Firstly, plan ahead for your shopping trips so you know what you need to get in advance - this will save you chucking lots of things in the trolley that you don't actually need, which will more likely find a home in your bin once it's gone out of date. To get to the shops, consider greener travel options - could you walk or cycle, use public transport, or share a lift with someone else in your household, rather than jumping in a car by yourself? Once you're in the shop, do your best to reduce the amount of packaging you're putting in your trolley (for example, getting loose carrots rather than a pack of carrots). Or go a step further and get all of the items you can from a local zero waste shop! You can also consider what meals to make - could you have a day or two where you eat vegetarian to reduce your meat consumption, or could you challenge yourself to a more local shop (avoiding items that you can see have travelled significant distances to make it into that shop aisle)? Finally at the checkout, pack your items into bags you've taken with you - a good tip is to take a bagpack for some items, to reduce how heavy the bags in your hands are)! For more special tips on how to reduce your food waste, during Christmas and all year round, take a look at our Green Consumer Guide, and our Festive Recipes guide!
Donate this Christmas
The festive season is nearly here, and the Christmas spirit is back as strong as ever after a long and unexpected year. 2020 is a year not to be forgotten, and now is the perfect moment to make someone else's Christmas extra special, and continue to show the support and kindness that we saw so many examples of whilst banding together through this pandemic. One great way to do this is to donate warm clothes and other essential items to local organisations and charities, who will be distributing these items to people who need them most. Not only will this help people who need support most in this time, but there's the added benefit of keeping items in use for longer rather than them ending up in your bin because you don't use it anymore. And how about putting the money you would have spent on Secret Santa with your friends into a donation to a local charity that you all care about? If you're short on money or items to donate, you could donate your time instead in the form of volunteering.
Christmas is a time for giving and receiving - which often also equates to a time for chucking packaging and unwanted stuff in the bin. That's why we wanted to highlight some special tips to help you to be more sustainable with your gift giving this year! Firstly, one of the best gifts you can give is an unforgettable experience, whether that's treating a loved one to a trip somewhere, to a meal in a new restaurant, a relaxing spa day, or even a photoshoot session. This reduces the amount of 'stuff' we buy for one another, whilst still giving someone a memory they can remember with you. If you are buying physical gifts, why not shop locally to support smaller businesses who are making lovely items in your area? Or have a go at creating a homemade gift such as a knitted jumper, photograph print, or plant hanger. Once it comes to wrapping these items, rethink if you need to wrap it at all. Instead of producing unnecessary rubbish, why not use a beautiful re-purposed box, or a nice scarf to keep the gift in? Or if you don't have an item like this lying around already, prioritise recyclable wrapping papers or brown paper instead - if in doubt, do the scrunch test! If you scrunch wrapping paper into a ball and it stays ball-shaped, you can recycle it. If not, try your best to reuse the paper for a gift you are giving, rather than throwing it in the bin. Remember, when buying your gifts, try to first consider the damage to the environment (as well as to your wallet!).
It's possible to create gorgeous and festive decorations for all over the house, whilst also being sustainable at the same time! Use recyclable and natural materials to decorate the house - for example you can use a combination of dry leaves and fruit to create a beautiful table centrepiece, or cut some holly leaves to make a wreath for your door. Not only will these reduce your use of plastic alternatives, but making them can also offer a fun activity for you and the family. You could also rent a Christmas tree, instead of buying one, or keep using an artificial one you already have for as many years as possible! 250 tonnes of Christmas trees are thrown away after Christmas every year, when they could be used for compost or even be replanted. You can also help the planet, and keep money in your pocket, by opting for LED lightbulbs in any Christmas lights you're putting up - it really is a win-win!