The festive season is upon us again, the halls are being decked, the mulled wine is being poured, and those songs we all know too well are back on the radio. Fresh with our freedom, this Christmas is set to be a big one with no restrictions on seeing friends and family. Amidst the festive hysteria and excitement, no one wants the rather gloomy reality, but whether we like it or not, the climate crisis doesn’t disappear over the holiday season.
The fact is, Christmas is one of the most polluting times of the year, and most of us actively engage in easily preventable carbon-emitting behaviour. Let’s have a look at how we can all have a greener Christmas this year.
1. Christmas Gifts
It has become second nature for us to go crazy buying gifts this time of year, but we have started to measure gifts by volume rather than by value. The problem is we usually opt for buying lots of cheaper, worse quality gifts rather than getting one knock out present.
Why not turn the tables this year and instead of buying store-bought presents, gift an experience! There are so many things to choose from, and most likely, the recipient will get way more out of it than a material gift.
2. Wrapping, wrapping, wrapping
In the UK alone, we use 125,000 tonnes of plastic each Christmas wrapping our gifts. Although Christmas gifts usually come wrapped in paper if it’s glossy, glittery or laminated, that is not recyclable; it’s plastic.
Most wrapping paper now says on it whether it’s recyclable or not, but if you’re struggling to decipher the wrapping paper code, the safest bet is going for something matte. Better still, why not use brown paper or newspaper? Add some twine or ribbon to the mix, and you’ve got some seriously artsy looking gifts.
3. Veto the Christmas Crackers
Yes, they are fun to crack around the table, but these little firecrackers are the very definition of single-use and unsustainable. Food for thought, but would Christmas be over without them? Probably not.
4. Christmas Cards
Given the interconnectivity of social media, this particular tradition is dying out of its own accord, but if sending out Christmas cards gives you a rush of festive cheer, make it a sustainable one!
Consider buying Christmas cards (and all celebration cards, for that matter) that are made from recycled materials or are plantable. Instead of picking up plastic-covered cards from the supermarket, do your card shopping at places like Oxfam, where you can get your cards and make a donation to charity at the same time.
5. Party Plating, Cups & More
After a long night of hosting, the last thing you want to do is clean up a massive pile of dirty dishes, but given the damaging rise of single-use plastics, it’s time to reclaim the crockery! Disposable paper plates are usually coated in an unrecyclable plastic film, and those plastic cups end up nowhere but the landfill.
If the clean-up is too much to bear, wooden cutlery and compostable cups are the next best option. However, if you don’t have a council or private composting facility, these are still really damaging for the planet.
6. Christmas Jumpers
In recent years Christmas jumpers have become commonplace outfits from the office to the pub. Of course, we all want to have the most hilarious, dazzling jumper to impress our colleagues and friends but buying a new one each year is seriously bad for the planet. Christmas jumpers off the high street are filled with plastic and usually end up in landfills when we throw them away for next years better jumper.
There is no harm holding onto that oldie but goldie jumper from way back when. Even better, if you know a knitter, get them to make you a jumper can keep for a long time!
7. The real v artificial tree debate
Whilst Christmas traditions from family to family, a Christmas tree is a staple across the board. However, hotly debated is whether it’s best to have a real fir tree or an artificial one. Let’s solve the question once and for all.
In the UK, we cut down 8 million trees a year to dress them in our homes; however, having a real tree is still better for the planet than an artificial one. Fake trees are made of toxic PVC plastic, meaning when they break or you get a new one, they end up in landfills emitting hazardous gases. The obvious bonus of a real tree is that it is biodegradable, and most councils offer a tree collection service where they put the trees to good use. For example, by the coast, towns are using unwanted Christmas trees as sea defences.
But these aren’t the only two options! For those who want to be adventurous, there are a lot of companies being set up right now across the country where you can rent a tree for the holidays. You get a live tree from a nursery, and once the festivities are over, you take it back, and it can carry on growing. What can be more wholesome than that?
Where you rent a Christmas tree in the UK:
Cotswold Fir, Gloucestershire
Love A Christmas Tree, Leicestershire
London Christmas Tree Rental, London
Rental Christmas Tree, Stroud
Festive Tree Hire, Reading, Berkshire & Surry
8. Finally, the feast
A central aspect of everyone’s Christmas festivities is sitting down to a huge turkey complete with all the trimmings. But in the UK alone, 150 million miles worth of carbon are created in getting food to our tables for the big day. Not only do we use so much carbon to get our food, but we also bin over 230,000 tonnes of Christmas food each year – that’s the equivalent of 2 million turkeys!
This year to combat food waste, make sure you stick to your list, buy what you need and use your leftovers for other recipes. Another excellent way to address the Christmas carbon problem is to have a veggie dinner this year. Meat-free alternatives are getting scarily good, and not only will the planet thank you, but your wallet will too.
Hopefully, these tips have answered some tricky holiday-related questions and helped you get on track for a more planet-friendly Christmas.
As the world moves forward in a more eco-conscious way, establishing an engaging brand identity allows you to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do this is with a winning digital marketing strategy. At dmt, we can help with that! Get in touch and discover our other services set to get your business performing at its best.