As a general rule I try to be eco-friendly on a daily basis but when it comes to Christmas, it’s a definite must as it’s surprising how much we waste on plastics, paper and transport to and from holiday destinations. Just think how much we waste on Christmas cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, then there is the Christmas presents, the plastic bags to carry them in, oh and let’s not forget the food we’ll be eating and what about our carbon footprint while travelling? Christmas might be a happy time for many but, is it a happy time for the environment? There are so many small changes as individuals we can make this Christmas. This year I’m going to try to be as eco-friendly as I possibly can while still enjoying the festive holidays. So here’s some of my goals to achieve an eco friendly Christmas.
First step, recycling
Like most, recycling has simply become the norm in my household. But at Christmas, it’s a good time to keep on top your recycling game especially with a weeks worth of recyclable waste made in just one day. Get the whole family involved and refrain from throwing anything in the non-recycle bin.
Cut back on plastic decorations
If you’re looking to update your festive décor this year, please don’t opt for plastic baubles and artificial wreaths. Instead, decorate your home using foraged natural plants and cuttings. Cuttings of holly, eucalyptus and ivy from your garden can also be fashioned into stunning festive wreaths like this one below. There are many wreath making workshops locally around this time of year and you get to keep your homemade wreath.
If artificial is your thing or allergies force you away from the real thing, try to recycle and reuse year on year decorations and simple update. Making your own garland or wreath are great ways to update and recycle Christmas decorations..
Use Brown wrapping paper & string.
Like many, I assumed ALL wrapping paper is recycled. Turns out I was wrong, foil wrapping paper is unrecyclable. This year I’m opting for brown wrapping paper and craft tags, it looks rustic and modern but most importantly it’s fully recyclable. If this is not your thing, remember to check out the labels of wrapping paper or switch to paper gift bags and tissue paper.
Send Christmas e-cards
Substitute physical paper Christmas cards for eco friendly e-cards. Not only will it save you on postage stamps but it will be better for the environment. Better yet, let family and friends know that this year you are donating to your chosen charity instead of giving out Christmas cards. This is an option many have adopted in the last few years.
Go meat free on Christmas day
Trying Vegetarian or Vegan options for a more eco-friendly Christmas is a great way to not only be eco-friendly but it’s better for your health too. Let’s face it, many of us hate dry turkey anyway. Although this may not go down well with everyone, but try opting to have an alternative fish dish or a meat-free roast with vegetables, trust me it tastes amazing and can keep even the meat eater in the family happy!
Cut down on food waste.
I believe we’re all guilty of this one, we consume so much more food over Christmas. If like me you buy too much of foods we don’t normally eat other times of the year and guiltily leave it too go waste. Why not try budgeting for food this year or keeping to strict food lists. For example I won’t be buying five variety of cheeses to eat, knowing we’ll only eat three, might not be the best option this year. If you find you do have a lot of food waste, don’t just chuck it in the bin, search online for recipes to use up any leftovers, you’ll be amazed what you can make.
Use LED bulb Christmas lighting
Make this year, the one to upgrade to LED lights, they are not only brighter than standard bulbs but also use 75% less energy. The great news is, less energy used equals cheaper electric bills and it’s better for the environment too.
Buy an eco-friendly Real Christmas Tree.
Artificial trees may last longer than living varieties, but currently they cannot be recycled in an environmentally friendly way. This means that, even if you re-use your tree for a number of years, it will still eventually end up in a landfill. Unlike plastic artificial versions, a real tree not only makes your home smell of fresh pines, it can also be easily recycled by either chopping up to use as fire wood or by composting it. Some councils even offer a free collection service in the New Year.
Do you have any other tips on how to make Christmas more eco friendly? Let me know!