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I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving, but the planet is facing a climate emergency and we, as consumers, are increasingly taking an introspective look at our contribution to climate change. Maybe it’s time to make Christmas a little more green?

You don’t have to be a Grinch to minimise your environmental impact

Unfortunately, the festive season can impact our environment in extremely negative ways, with 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper being thrown out or burnt and 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging thrown out. However, you don’t have to be a Grinch to minimise your environmental impact; here are some of the simple swaps you canmake.

Gifts

Black Friday sales and Christmas marketing are encouraging consumerism at a rate which our planet cannot sustain.

  • Buy second hand or vintage
  • Buy from sustainable and local producers
  • Buy experiences, not stuff – tickets to a show, Netflix/Spotify etc. subscriptions; if you want something a little more personal websites like Not On The High Street offer a range of experience gifts such as pottery classes for two or the chance to design your own perfume.
  • Buy gifts which promote sustainability – reusable coffee cups, reusable water bottles, canvas tote bags for groceries, etc.
  • Try Secret Santa with your family and friends to save money and waste

Decorations

More than a billion Christmas cards are delivered each year and 52 square miles of wrapping paper will be torn open this holiday.

  • Use recyclable or reusable wrapping paper
  • Consider switching to LED Christmas lights because they use 80% less energy
  • Try making your own wreath, or buy an eco-friendly one instead of plastic
  • Buy reusable crackers – this allows you to add your own little gifts
  • Get a reusable advent calendar and fill it with any treats you like

Six million trees are thrown out after Christmas, but what is Christmas without a tree?

Christmas Trees

Six million tress are thrown out after Christmas, but what is Christmas without a tree?

  • Recycle trees via local authorities – some councils collect them, others ask you to take your tree to a collection point
  • Rent a Christmas tree
  • Grow your own tree
  • Buy an artificial, reusable tree and hold on to it

Food

The vast majority of families serve turkey for their festive meal at Christmas, but it is estimated that 4.2 million plates of turkey are going in the bin at the end of the celebrations. On top of that, turkey produces 10.9kg of CO2, so maybe this holiday it’s time to try something new.

  • Try vegetarian and vegan recipes – you can find lots of festive recipes for a greener Christmas meal on BBC Good Food, the Vegan Society website, and Vegan Food & Living.
  • If you’re not ready to give up your traditional Christmas meal, try buying organic meat and reducing your food waste by portioning your cooking.

Hopefully, these ideas have given you some inspiration on how to be eco-friendly this upcoming holiday season. Be it one or multiple swaps, these small changes can make a big difference. You don’t have to convince your entire family to turn vegan and zero waste to be kinder to our environment, just take it one step at a time.

Nadya Boboshko

Featured image courtesy of Jinx! via Flickr. Image license found here.  No changes were made to this image. 

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