How to have an eco-friendly Christmas
If ever there was a year that we needed Christmas the most, it’s got to be 2020. After such an obscure year, we deserve to dive into festive fun, with bells and tinsel on — even if it is with a reduced party size this time around. When we think about Christmas, we often look forward to spending time with family and friends, overindulging in festive food and drink, and marvelling at the twinkling decorations brightening our homes.
But how often do we think about the impact that the festive season has on our planet? From excessive packaging and wrapping waste, to over-bought and uneaten leftovers, the Christmas period is the most wonderful, yet wasteful time of year.
So, what can we do to protect our planet while enjoying all the festivities?
Rent a Christmas tree
Christmas trees are a staple in most British households during the festive season, and whether you choose real fir or plastic, both have environmental impacts. Britain imports more than one million Nordmann Fir trees from Denmark each year. Add that journey to your personal trip in the car to pick it up from your local stockist, and the carbon footprint for one family Christmas tree is pretty big. Plus, that’s another one million deforested trees in the world each year, all for the sake of a few festive weeks, never to be used again. Once we’ve finished with our tree, we strip it of its twinkles and burn it on a bonfire or throw it into landfill; neither of which are any good for our planet.
Many conscious consumers have been turning to artificial trees in recent years. However, a study by The Carbon Trust discovered that you would need to use a plastic tree for at least 10 years before its environmental impact equalled that of a responsibly-disposed natural tree.
So, rent a real tree instead. Many local Christmas tree farms are now offering a rental service that enables you to decorate a real tree in your home for up to three weeks and give it back to the supplier to be re-planted and used again next year. This not only means zero tree waste, but the trees will continue to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide habitats for wildlife throughout the rest of the year. Sounds tree-rrific!
Share leftovers with people in need
An average of 270,000 tons of food is thrown into landfill over the Christmas period in the UK alone. In fact, according to Love Food Hate Waste, enough potatoes will be thrown away in UK homes this year to make enough Christmas roasties for the whole country for 48 years. Making the most of leftovers with sandwiches, curries and stews can help to reduce the waste, but you can also help others by giving leftovers away. That’s why community sharing app OLIO has teamed up with Love Food Hate Waste to help people turn leftovers into meals that people need, while protecting the planet from food waste and the dangerous greenhouse gases that go with it. A wonderful way to reduce waste and spread some festive cheer.
Make festive tipples planet friendly
Christmas is the season of over-indulging, but with Britons collectively drinking almost six billion units of alcohol between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, the number of bottles heading to landfill is extortionate, as is the carbon cost of transporting them. Garçon Wines is changing the future of wine packaging with multi award-winning, flat bottles which utilise smart cross-section designs of the traditional wine bottle shapes to save space and substantially lower carbon footprint. Each bottle is made from pre-existing, recycled PET — not single-use plastic — to save energy and weight and ensure that plastic already in circulation is put back to good use. In fact, the bottles are so slim that they can be posted through your letterbox — reducing the risk of second visit deliveries if you’re not in to receive the parcel. So why not treat your friends and family to a flat-bottled festive tipple this year instead.
Small efforts to protect our environment and help one another really add up at this time of year, and planet-friendly brands like OLIO, Garçon Wines, Love Food Hate Waste and many more are on hand to make little changes go a long way.