‘Tis the season of excess and this, unfortunately, can do a lot of damage to our planet. The good news? There are small changes you can make to have a more eco-friendly festive period, without losing any of the good bits we know and love. Read on for our top sustainable Christmas ideas and holiday hacks.
Overhaul Your Holiday Trees, Lights & Decorations
According to the Carbon Trust, 7 million trees go to landfill after the holiday season. And if a 2-metre high real Christmas tree goes to landfill, it releases 19kg of CO2 into the atmosphere. Lights and decorations can be harmful to the environment too, depending on the materials you choose.
- The most sustainable thing is the thing you already own. If you’ve got an artificial tree, don’t chuck it. Instead, show it some TLC so you can carry on using it - artificial trees need to see a minimum of 10 Christmases for it to be less environmentally harmful than a real one.
- If you can’t do without a real tree, look for a pot-grown tree with its roots intact so you can replant it in your garden. If you can’t replant it, recycle it through your council’s chip and recycle scheme, so the wood can be reused as woodchip or compost for parks.
- According to NASA, the earth is up to 50% brighter between Thanksgiving in the United States and New Year’s day thanks to all the lights we use to get festive. Swap to solar-powered lights or opt for energy-efficient LED bulbs instead. You’ll help decrease your carbon footprint AND save money - they last up to 20 times longer than regular bulbs.
Don’t Go Crackers Over Crackers
No festive meal is complete with a cracker, in our opinion. But it probably comes as no surprise that so much of the cracker goes to waste. Those small plastic toys that no one actually wants? They’re nearly always non-recyclable - as are crackers that are glittery, thanks to the microplastics it contains.
- Buy plastic-free reusable crackers made from recycled materials. Keep This Cracker’s are a great option.
- If DIY isn’t your thing, there are plenty of eco, plastic-free options. We like Nancy and Betty eco crackers, that are plastic-free, and use vegetable ink and sustainably sourced materials.
How’s this for a shocking stat: £700 million is spent on unwanted presents each year! We’ve all been there - feigned delight at a gift that’s not really us, and no doubt we’ve done the same for other people too. Time to send gifts that won’t go to the back of the cupboard - or worse, landfill.
Sustainable holiday hacks:
- It seems obvious but buy things that people actually want and need. It may take the surprise factor out of it, but ask people what they’d like before you buy. Where you can, buy second hand or vintage so you’re not always buying new.
- Seek out low-carbon gifts that are durable and will last a long time.
- If ordering online, try and group items in the same order where possible and avoid quick deliveries. Climate Lab has found that rush deliveries tend to use more diesel vehicles and be less efficiently organised than slower couriers.
- If you do receive a gift you don’t love, take it to a charity shop. It’s bound to be loved by someone else.
Looking for more holiday and Christmas gift ideas? Read our post on sustainable gifting for the festive season.