2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but one thing it has taught us is that we cannot go back to the status quo. And what better place to start than changing what and how we consume over the Christmas period.
Amongst all the joy that the festive season brings, comes a catastrophic level of waste and overconsumption. According to a study by waste management company Biffa, the UK creates 30% more waste than usual over Christmas. This includes an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper and 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging.
We’ve highlighted 10 simple switches you can do to make this Christmas more sustainable.
1. Buy a Tree for Life
Why not plant some roots for life this Christmas? There are lots of Christmas plant alternatives over at our friends Patch or if you can’t live without a traditional Christmas Tree look at Pines & Needles - sustainably grown on their own Scottish Christmas Tree farms.
2. Forage for your decorations
Instead of buying wrapping or decorations that will only be thrown away at the end of the festivities, why not search closer to home for natural alternatives to add that extra bit of style to your presents. Try making your own decorations with oranges, cloves and cinnamon to bring an incredibly festive smell into your home.
3. Switch out the wrapping paper
Thanks to the mix of materials used on some of the flashiest of wrapping, like metallic or glitter, many wrapping materials can’t be recycled and contribute to our climate crisis. Switch these out for more sustainable options including reusable bags, sustainable wrapping from Re-Wrapped or simply old newspaper.
4. Avoid the Crackers
Notoriously full of pointless plastic novelty items, crackers might be fun for a second but a BusinessWaste survey revealed that a staggering 99% of people will throw away cracker gifts by the time Christmas Day is over. You can buy sustainable crackers made from recycled materials and no plastic toys in sight. Our favourites are Nancy & Betty all made here in the UK using sustainable materials. Or if you are feeling really creative you can make your own!
5. Aim for Zero Waste
Did you know that each year in Britain the equivalent of four million Christmas dinners are wasted. That’s the equivalent to two million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and five million Christmas puddings. Need we say more about planning your meals to avoid food waste?
6. Swap Your Christmas Jumpers
The definition of ‘fast fashion’ Christmas jumpers are often bought, worn once, and thrown out almost immediately. Last year alone over £230million was spent on Christmas jumpers and Hubbub’s analysis of 108 garments found that 95% were made wholly or partly of plastic materials.
So think twice before purchasing a new one this year. Instead reuse old jumpers, buy them from charity shops, hold jumper swaps with your friends or even create your own!
7. Gift Experiences Not Things
Offer your presence as a present this Christmas. Buying experiences as a gift instead of consuming more means you can spend time with loved ones and enjoy creating memories.
8. Find an alternative to your Advent Calendar
A traditionally wasteful element to Christmas, now there are many reusable alternatives to count down the days till Christmas Day. Or you can purchase the Advent For Change Calendar that reveals a new charity recipient every day to give back during the holiday season.
9. Turn the Lights Off
Fairy lights festooning every room, the heating turned up, the cooker always cooking, toys charging, music playing. Household energy consumption skyrockets during the Christmas period. At a time when we need to be thinking about the global climate crisis we can all play our role and save energy with a simple act of turning off the Christmas lights every evening.
10. Come Together
It’s been a challenging year for everyone. This Christmas is a time to come together and support all those around you. In particular when thinking about doing your Christmas shopping, turn to your local retailers, those small businesses. Purchasing gift cards from small brands will not only allow the recipient to get something they will cherish for years to come, but will allow that business to continue that bit longer.
Head over to our Gift Guide to find inspiration for more sustainable presents here.