Pass me the baubles, December is here and I am more than ready for a bit of Christmas cheer this year! However, behind all the gifts, trees and piles on piles of food comes a price - wastage. Since our dreams of a White Christmas will most likely be met by a light frost, we may as well make it a Green Christmas! Don't worry, I'm not about to go all Scrooge on you, this post just goes over a few easy ways to stay eco-friendly this Christmas.
Eco Christmas Tips
The perfect tree
Finding the perfect Christmas tree is all part of the fun of Christmas but this year why not add a few extra criteria to list, other than tall and green of course! For one, make sure that your tree is FSC certified, this label ensures that your tree is replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally. If possible, try and get a tree that is sustainably grown near you to help reduce its carbon footprint!
There is a large debate to whether artificial trees are better for the environment than real ones. The production of artificial trees and the shipment (usually from China) leaves these trees with a very large carbon footprint. You would think that preventing trees from being cut down would be beneficial, however clearing and management is one of the best ways to protect forests and these trees wouldn't be growing at all if it weren't for the Christmas tree market. One of the biggest issues is that most artificial trees end up in landfill straight after Christmas too and can't be recycled like real trees. On the plus side, a study by WAP Sustainability Consulting found that if you reuse an artificial tree for over five years it has a smaller environmental impact than buying a real tree every year. My family have been using the same tree since I can remember, so I think we are in the clear!
Support Small Businesses
Whether you are buying gifts or treating yourself (which is 100% allowed after this shitty year) make sure to support small businesses this Christmas. Not only are they the more sustainable choice but again, this year has been hard on everyone and now more than ever they need your support! I've often found that small businesses tend to have more heartfelt gifts with a personal touch, in times like these I think we all need a little bit of that! Plus, let's be honest, Jeff Bezos really doesn't need anymore of our money. Places like Etsy and Not on the Highstreet are a great place to start!
Ahh present wrapping, a skill I am yet to master. There are only two types of people, those who give perfectly wrapped presents and those who give overly sellotaped disasters (it's the thought that counts). Which ever you are, avoid laminated, glittery or foiled wrapping paper this Christmas as it can't be recycled. Instead, look out for brown printed paper, or recycled alternatives. If you want to get really creative you could use other items such as scarfs, fabric, newspaper or old maps! To go all out eco, switch to paper or biodegradable tape to reduce plastic!
IMPORTANT: remember to remove all the sellotape for your wrapping paper or it can't be recycled (this is when being a neat wrapping comes in handy) unless you are using paper/biodegradable tape.
There are so many ways to get creative this Christmas that also help out the planet! Me and my sister had lots of fun making tags out of old Christmas cards last year, all ready to use on our presents this time around (yeah Saturday nights at the Devereux's are crazy!!!). At the end of the season, instead of throwing out all those pretty cards you got grab a hole punch, a pair of scissors and some ribbon, which you can also recycle this from your presents. You don't need any arty skills (I certainly don't have any) just start cutting!
Plan Christmas Dinner ahead
Food waste is a really big problem here in the UK and is only amplified at Christmas! It's a day of indulgence and we love it that way but we can stuff our faces and still not leave anything behind. Try and plan ahead, how much do you normally eat? What got left last year? Ask everyone how much they think they'll have of each thing (and then make fun of them for having eyes bigger than their belly). Most importantly, enjoy it!!!
Give back to your community
2020 has been a very strange year and I'm lucky that my biggest complaint is that by uni experience is a bit weirder than it would have been. Not everyone has had it so easy though, so why not give something back this Christmas! Whether it's donating to your local food bank, a mental health charity or an animal shelter or just dropping your neighbour off some Christmas pudding, this year more than ever we all need to stick together! Sustainability isn't just about the planet but the people on it too and the more connected we are, the better we become.
Note to Readers
I haven't been writing much recently due to being preoccupied with 3 fabulous assignments all to be handed in, in the same week, all before Christmas... much fun! I really wanted to do this write one though because it's been a year since I started Greener Grasses and Christmas makes us think of everything we are grateful for. So thank you to anyone who has read, liked or talked to me about any of my posts, I really love writing it and it means a lot. Have the most lovely, magical and green Christmas ever, even if it's a little different to usual...
As always, thanks for reading!
P.S Merry Christmas from the Devs