Christmas is the season of excess, that’s why it’s so enjoyable. But our annual festivities have shocking environmental consequences.
For example, in the UK alone 8 million Christmas trees are cut down annually, over 230,000 tonnes of festive food is wasted and more than 227,000 tonnes of wrapping paper, which per kilo emits 3.5kg of carbon dioxide, is thrown away.
To enjoy a greener, more sustainable Christmas this year, follow these 7 clever tips from Lifestyle Packaging…
#1 Real vs fake
A real tree sourced from a local sustainable grower is the greenest option if you can’t do without one. Look out for the FSC Certification when you buy and community “Treecycle” schemes when you need to get rid.
Artificial trees are made from plastic and can’t be recycled but if you have one in the loft keep using it until it’s time to part ways – responsibly of course.
#2 Deck the halls
The urge to transform your home into a miniature Santa’s Grotto can be hard to ignore, but this Christmas, think twice before putting up your decorations.
Opt for LED or solar-powered festive lights and restrict how long you have them turned on, pay a little extra for decorations which will last a lifetime, say no to glittery baubles and book yourself onto a wreath-making class.
#3 Shop small
No one can deny the convenience of shopping online but local is king when it comes to greener gift-giving.
Buying locally drastically reduces a gift’s carbon footprint, products also come with less throwaway packaging and they’re usually better quality too. And while you’re at it, remember your reusable shopper!
#4 That’s a wrap
Gift wrapping generates huge amounts of waste. Just think of your living room floor on Christmas morning.
Avoid using wrapping paper with a foil, glitter or laminated design. These can’t be recycled and take a lot of energy to produce.
Do as the Scandinavians do and keep things simple with brown paper and natural ribbon instead of tape. You could even use a Sharpie to draw a bow or gift tag directly onto your wrapped gift. Or simply don’t wrap presents at all. At the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
#5 Don’t panic buy
We’ve all been there. It’s Christmas Eve and you’re forced to buy the first thing you see.
Give your gift the best chance of avoiding the bin by planning ahead. You’re also likely to get a better price with seasonal deals.
Or, if you have the time, you could even look at making the gift yourself. Edible gifts are becoming increasingly popular. From homemade jams and chutneys, truffles and biscuits, to infused gin or vodka with seasonal flavours, the options are endless.
#6 Supermarket sweep
Catering for a large crowd isn’t easy. Plan your meals and snacks carefully before battling your way around the supermarket. Ordering online can help you skip the queues and avoid the temptation of seasonal goodies you just don’t need.
Limit the environmental cost of your Christmas dinner by opting for plant-based alternatives to meat gravy, stuffing and sauces, buying frozen veggies to cut waste, choosing bigger size packs of snacks to minimise packaging and sourcing your meat or fish from a local butcher or fishmonger.
#7 Get creative with leftovers
UK shoppers spend £1bn more on groceries at Christmas and sadly more than 4.2 million Christmas dinners get wasted.
If you do end up over-catering, don’t bin what’s left. Get creative with leftovers to cut waste with crowd pleasers like turkey curry, bubble and squeak with roast veggies, gammon mac ‘n’ cheese and Christmas pud sundaes.
By Rich Quelch, Global Head of Marketing, Lifestyle Packaging