15 Tips For An Eco-Friendly Christmas
- Written by Alicia Drewnicki
- December 11, 2018
- 4 min read
With all the festive fun, Christmas splurging, and general overindulgence, have you ever wondered how you can be more sustainable at Christmas time? There are lots of things you can do to make a more positive impact on the planet during the season of goodwill. Here an Honestly Good Guide on how to have a more eco-friendly Christmas.
1) Choose your wrapping paper wisely
Did you know that a large proportion of commercial wrapping paper contains plastic and isn’t recyclable? As a general rule – any wrapping paper that’s glittery usually has a thin coating of plastic and can’t be recycled.
Make your Christmas more eco-friendly by opting for brown paper and jazzing it up with your own drawings. An alternative is buying 100% recycled paper online or taking influence from Japanese traditions (furoshiki), and using fabric to wrap your presents.
2) Ditch the paraffin candles
Paraffin candles are not only bad for the environment, but they can also be bad for your health. They emit harmful byproducts and create indoor air pollution. Pick a soy or beeswax candle instead, which are biodegradable and smoke-free.
3) Buy locally
Reduce your carbon footprint by buying locally. This could range from food suppliers to buying presents made locally. Swap mass-produced convenience food for something made with local produce. It’ll be healthier and better for the environment too.
4) Use material bags when shopping
Cut down on plastic bags by taking re-usable material bags with you when shopping.
Mountains of food are wasted every Christmas. Instead of disposing of your food waste in the bin, do some good for the environment and use a composter.
6) DIY decorations
Get creative and consider making your own decorations with products you’d usually throw away. Here are some great ideas from Country Living.
7) Buy Secondhand
Before buying new, consider heading down to your nearest charity shop to see what pre-loved goodies are available. Books are a great idea – especially when there are so many rare and old classics on offer. You’ll be helping the planet and donating to a good cause too.
8) Pick the right tree
It can be a big dilemma weighing up whether to have a real or an artificial tree. Artificial trees are often non-recyclable and have a long-haul trip from overseas. If you have one already, be sure to try to get as much use out of it as possible, rather than disposing of it after a year and contributing to landfill.
If you opt for a real tree, make sure it’s grown in the UK (ideally locally). Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved trees are grown in a forest that protects its plants and animals, and doesn’t use pesticides.
Another option is renting tree which is then returned to the ground after Christmas. Check out LoveAChristmasTree where you can buy, rent, or adopt a tree.
9) Buy organic and seasonal vegetables
We all love our potatoes, parsnips, and (for some of us) sprouts, but where do yours come from? Instead of opting for veg that has been flown over from the other side of the planet, get to know your local suppliers in your area. The Soil Association has a useful search tool to find an organic box scheme in your area.
10) Use your leftovers
Rather than chucking away your delicious Christmas leftovers – get creative and incorporate them into new dishes. Examples could be the classic bubble and squeak, using leftover bread for bread and butter pudding, or making a pie which uses leftover veg/meat. Here are some awesome leftover ideas from Jamie Oliver.
11) Consider giving experiences rather than possessions
Rather than adding to the Christmas landfill of unwanted gifts, why not offer an experience rather than an object for a gift? This could be a theatre show, a cooking class, a ticket to a botanical garden, or even an organic herbal soy candle and air freshener workshop.
12) Make your gifts
Stuck for ideas for the perfect present? How about making your own gifts? This could homemade chutneys, jams, chocolates, or even body scrubs, soaps or candles. All are easy to make and you can use old jam jars to store them.
13) Send out sustainable Christmas cards
Just like wrapping paper, Christmas cards are often coated in plastic, so make your Christmas well-wishes more ethical by opting for an e-card or making your own card out of recycled paper. Another option is a seed card, where Christmas cards contain wildflower seeds you can plant. Here’s a wonderful one from PlantableSeedPaper.
14) Light up your house with LED lights
LED lights can use up to 80% less energy than traditional Christmas lights, so before lighting up your tree, consider solar-powered or rechargeable battery-powered LED light sets.
15) Use A Food Waste App
Olio is a food waste app that connects you with local people in your community. The concept is simple – if you have spare food (or even household goods), you take a photo then list it on the app. If someone who lives nearby is interested, they’ll message you and you can arrange the pickup.
So that’s it, from homemade decorations to getting creative with leftovers, we hope that this post has inspired you to have an ethical Christmas! Merry Christmas from all at Honestly Good HQ!