Our Top Tips For Having A Sustainable Christmas
Christmas is the most wonderful time of year and is something we all look forward to.
It’s a time for gathering with friends and family, watching the Christmas classics, sipping on mulled wine, exchanging gifts and devouring the best festive foods.
Although, the environmental impacts that this annual occasion has is huge, with 30% more waste being produced than at any other time of year!
Whilst we’re not trying to be the bearer of bad news and spoil the festivities, there are a few sustainable Christmas tips you can take on board.
Environmental Impact From Christmas
Unfortunately, our annual festivities have a massive impact upon the environment with the biggest contributor being food wastage.
Research shows that 5 million Christmas puddings, 2 million turkeys, and 74 million mince pies within the UK end up being thrown out whilst still being edible.
Let’s be honest, we all end up throwing away loaaads of food due to buying more than we need.
It’s easily done but it’s important to think about how this effects the planet.
There are tons of other environmental costs from the general waste we throw away, to the wrapping paper and packaging we discard, to the unwanted gifts that get tossed away as well as the fast fashion impacts during the holiday season.
Not to mention, there’s other terrible impacts on the environment like the greenhouse gas emissions caused by artificial Christmas trees and the pollution caused by online deliveries and excess travelling.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg too, but we’ll stop as we don’t want to be a scrooge and focus too much on the environmental impact that Christmas has, it can be quite depressing.
Although, there’s plenty of online articles that focus on the waste and over consumerism of Christmas if you want to find out more!
Tips To Have A Sustainable Christmas
Now you know a little more about how the environmental footprint that the holiday has, there are some sustainable Christmas tips for you to discover.
We know, it’s not just about our individual carbon footprints at Christmas time, it’s a global issue that everyone needs to help tackle.
However, making small change can make a difference.
Here are some ideas to help you have an eco friendly Christmas– do your part and help the environment!
1. Get Creative With Gifts
First up for our sustainable Christmas tips is to get creative with gift giving.
As we mentioned earlier, unwanted gifts that get tossed away can have a huge impact on the environment with research suggesting that approximately £42 million of unwanted presents end up in landfill every year.
Whilst it can be hard to think about gifts that people will like and make use of sometimes, don’t just buy people tons of things for the sake of it – quality over quantity always!
If you’re really struggling for gift ideas why not get someone a gift card instead so they can choose something they’ll like?
You could even gift an experience whether it’s an adrenaline filled day out, a spa trip or even a craft workshop.
This way you can ensure they’ll use it, and if they’re someone who already has everything it’s a winner.
Vice versa, if you receive a gift for Christmas that you won’t use, rather than throwing it away after a while why not donate it to charity or re-gift it to someone else?
2. Give Homemade Gifts
Gift giving is a huge part of the holiday season, but you don’t have to go out and splash the cash on presents to take part in the tradition.
Making a DIY present for your family and friends is a great way to save some money, after all we are in a cost-of-living crisis.
Gifting someone with a homemade gift is super thoughtful and beneficial for the environment too.
A few ideas include candles, trinket dishes, a care package, clay coasters, the list goes on.
You could even gift people food like homemade Christmas cookies or a grazing platter.
If we’re honest, one of the best parts about Christmas is the delicious food on offer.
Ditch the bath set and make some tasty festive treats to give your nearest and dearest!
If you’re buying Christmas gifts rather than giving homemade presents, try to be wary with your shopping habits by ordering from small businesses.
3. Use Eco Friendly Wrapping Paper
The wrapping paper we use at Christmas has a huge environmental impact with research showing that within the UK we use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year.
This equates to enough to wrap up Guernsey – whaaaat a whole island!
A lot of wrapping paper is made with shiny foil and glitter meaning these materials can’t be recycled.
This year, make a sustainable swap and use recyclable wrapping paper.
Or keep your wrapping paper from previous years to use again – just make sure gifts are opened carefully!
If you’re unsure about whether the wrapping paper you’re using is recyclable there’s a method for checking called the scrunch test.
If you scrunch it up into a ball and it stays scrunched up, it can be recycled.
However, if it doesn’t stay scrunched up and springs back up, it needs to be placed in your general waste.
4. Send E-Cards For Christmas
Annual greeting cards are a great way to connect with family and friends and to send well wishes, especially for those who are further away.
However, Christmas cards can be hugely wasteful for numerous reasons.
Did you know that 1 billion cards are discarded each holiday season?
Chances are, you’ll end up throwing your Christmas cards away after a few weeks of sitting on your kitchen side.
Not only is there the environmental cost from cards that cannot be recycled and end up in landfill but there’s also the emissions caused by postal delivery service.
There’s also the deforestation impact from the thousands of trees that are cut down to create paper products every year.
Instead, why not send e-cards to your loved ones this year?
You’ll save time and money opting for a digital greeting card option, and it’s better for the environment.
Your card will go straight into the recipient’s inbox rather than waiting for delivery times too – it’s a winner!
5. Be Cautious With Dressing For The Festivities
When it comes to dressing for the festive season, a lot of people tend to order brand-new outfits and Christmas jumpers year after year.
It’s understandable, we all want to look our best for this time of year whether it’s for parties, dinner get togethers or nights out.
Unfortunately, there is a massive environmental impact from the fashion industry during this time of year.
Instead, change your shopping habits and think about whether you’ll re-wear a piece of clothing again before hitting that order button.
Why not see if you’ve got anything in your wardrobe already which you can re-wear?
If you’ve already got a Christmas jumper, there’s no need to buy a new one, wear last years!
There are tons of sustainable options for dressing for the festivities.
Such as buying from eco-friendly fashion brands or shopping in charity shops.
You’ll save yourself some of your student loan and help save the planet!
6. Reduce Food Waste
As we said earlier, food wastage is the biggest problem for the environmental impact of Christmas.
We all buy heaps of food from party food to Christmas dinner bits to snacks to chocolates, but a lot of this ends up getting thrown away.
There’s a few things you can do to reduce the amount of food that gets put in the rubbish.
Firstly, if you do have tons of leftover food, make room in your freezer so you have plenty of space to store your Christmas bits.
If you end up with too much food that you’ve ran out of space for it, rather than putting it in the bin consider donating to a local homeless charity, someone in need or a food bank within your area.
You could even drop off a plate of food to a neighbour if you have too many leftovers from your roast dinner.
We’d also suggest not shopping when you’re hungry and keeping a list of things you need, rather than buying multiple of the same items by mistake.
Think about how many people you’re cooking for and plan ahead to see how much food is needed rather than overbuying.
It’s always worth checking your cupboards and seeing what you already have in too.
If you haven’t downloaded it already, get Too Good To Go to get delicious unsold foods from local businesses this festive period.
Planning a Christmas dinner with your flatmates? Order from the app to save money on tasty scran and help stop food waste!
7. Travel Responsibly
Lastly within our post of sustainable Christmas tips is to travel responsibly.
Shrink your carbon footprint by using public transportation where possible.
Such as, if you’re travelling home, opt to get the train or a coach rather than driving, or getting your parents to drive to your uni city or town.
With a 16-25 railcard you can save tons of money on trains which will probably work out cheaper than the cost of petrol.
If you are wanting to travel home from uni by car for the holidays, why not car share with others to reduce the amount of cars on the road?
You can split the petrol costs and you’ll be helping the environment!
As you can see, you can still have an amazing time whilst being that little bit greener with our sustainable Christmas tips.
We hope our guide has been helpful in learning about the environmental toll that the annual holiday has, and what you can do to be more eco-friendly.
That’s it from us, we wish you a greener Christmas whether you’re celebrating in your student accommodation or at home with family or friends!