How to Have a Sustainable Christmas
Christmas is the time of year that many of us find ourselves overindulging and overspending. The month of December is universally a month where people spend the most money and socialise with family and friends. Therefore it's understandable that the Christmas period has a consequence of severe waste and a negative impact on our environment.
Let's talk about the largest Christmas contributors to an unsustainable Christmas…
The Christmas period is that time of year to indulge! Our yearly cravings of mince pies and mulled wine can finally be devoured and the cold weather gives us that perfect excuse to fill up our stomachs! However, I'm sure we can all agree that for many years we’ve taken the overindulging to the extreme and those January resolutions couldn't come any sooner.
But what do these overindulging habits have on our environment? To put it into perspective If we combined the Christmas dinners in the UK, it produces the same carbon footprint as a single car traveling 6000 times around the world!
In the UK alone we eat 80% more food during the holiday period, than we do in the rest of the year. This produces excess waste and pollution due to binning 230,000 tons of food waste. Most of the food waste over this period will end up in landfill where it’s left to rot which in time releases methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that largely affects our environment and so it is important to reduce the amount of waste and overconsumption this Christmas.
- Plan ahead… resist the urge this year to impulse buy and instead only buy ingredients that will be used and in the amounts needed. Do this by planning ahead for what guests will eat and opt for choice that will be eaten by all instead of having several options that will result in having leftovers.
- Look at use by dates… When purchasing, be sure to look at the use by dates and opt for ones that have a longer date. Also plan the dates according to your meals for the festive period.
- Freeze leftovers… Invest in tupperware so that you can freeze all your delicious leftovers ready to eat at a future date. With all the time and effort you've put into the Christmas dinner it would be such a waste to throw this away! Also it saves you having to cook after such a busy period so it's a win win!
- Less packaging… When buying fresh vegetables, opt for supermarkets or fresh markets where you can buy single items in the amount required instead of purchasing in bulk and having to waste the majority of these. Another tip is to choose the reuse and refill shopping sections that are found in some supermarkets which offer a range of products to be weighed to your needs and packaged in eco-friendly packaging.
Nothing says Christmas quite like beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, however gift wrapping can be one of the largest contributors to the dark side of Christmas. The UK is estimated to use around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper every Christmas which is enough to stretch nine times around the world... Shocking, we know! Another frosty fact for you, per 1kg of wrapping paper, 3.5kg of CO2 is emitted for its production so if we times that by 227,000 that we in the uk use it is clear how large of a contributor wrapping gifts are to our environmental impact.
So how can you beautifully wrap your presents without damaging our environment?
We love this article on 7 sustainable gift wrapping ideas and we can't wait to try these out this year!
Christmas Trees… Real or Fake?
Christmas festivities only really begin when our tree is up and decorated. But what is the environmental cost of purchasing a tree yearly and would buying one fake tree to last for years to come be the better option? Since we have spoken a lot about deforestation on this platform and the damage it has on our environment it feels only right to discuss the difference in cutting down our christmas trees and how to go about it in a sustainable way. If the tree has been farmed responsibly then there will be a tree replacement planted for every one chopped down. Tree farming also aids in absorbing carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen which helps to purify the air at home. However the afterlife of the tree is what makes or breaks this argument for opting for real trees. The problem with tree disposal is that if Christmas trees are thrown in landfill they can produce methane and CO2 so it is highly important that anyone buying a real Christmas tree this year responsibly disposes of them
How to responsibly dispose of your Christmas trees?
However just because real trees are better for the environment, it does not mean you should dispose of your fake one this year to opt for real ones. If you already own a fake tree it is far better to get the most use out of this one as these are made of plastic and therefore not easy to recycle. So by keeping your fake tree you ensure you aren't adding to the problem. If this year is the first time buying your own tree we would recommend choosing a real one and sticking to our top tips for purchasing and disposing.