All the details of how and why to go green this Christmas…
Some holiday gifts fill a practical need and need to be bought new. But many gifts are really gestures of thoughtfulness. You can give more while spending less.
Look for Locally Made Gifts – Many gifts in today’s marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Local craft fairs and artisan shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation. And gifts made locally often have a story which goes with the gift, since the artisan and the origin of the gift are known.
Say NO to Boxing Day sales! – In fact, plan a walk instead. Go out, enjoy the beauty nature has to offer
Alternative presents – You could treat someone to an “experience present” such as theatre tickets or a trip to the cinema – they very personal gifts and don’t come surrounded by stacks of packaging. You could even make the voucher out of an old Christmas card!
Avoid using the holidays as an excuse to consume and buy – Try to ignore all the sales and promotions and most definitely avoid ‘cheap’ items. If a t-shirt costs the same as a coffee, chances are that someone else, somewhere in the world is paying the price.
Eco themed presents – the Queenswood shop has lots of “eco” presents so why not use the opportunity to buy some of those lovely plastic free goods and start the New Year with a resolution to replace your use of single use plastics.
Eco friendly Christmas trees
In the UK an estimated 6 million Christmas trees are sent to landfill every year, equalling approximately 9,000 tonnes of extra waste. Each tree sent to landfill has a carbon footprint of around 16kg (the average UK person has a yearly carbon footprint of around 1,000kg).
But don’t be tempted to switch to an artificial tree this year. Plastic Christmas trees are made from a combination of unrecyclable materials that can be potentially hazardous to health. The majority of artificial trees are shipped from China, adding to their large carbon footprint.
If you have an unwanted artificial tree lying around somewhere, rather than throwing it away try advertising it on an exchange website such as Freecycle or see if anyone you know would like to reuse it.
The Soil Association has a list of organic, eco-friendly Christmas tree growers in the UK, helping you to make a greener choice when it comes to your Christmas spruce.
150 million cards per day are delivered on average by the Royal Mail in the run up to Christmas. Considering how simple most of these cards are to recycle, 1 billion still end up in landfill and can take up to 30 years to decompose.
As well as recycling the cards you receive in the post, why not get crafty with the kids and make your own eco-friendly Christmas cards to send. Use recycled card and envelopes and cut down on plastic packaging, or you can buy recycled cards if crafts just aren’t your thing.
Try and hand deliver to friends and family who live close by and further reduce your Christmas carbon footprint total.
Consider sending e-cards, it’s much cheaper for you and the environment!
It’s not just the packaging that some shops use that can make your Christmas presents problematic for the environment. Over 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper are used in Briton over Christmas, equating to 83 square km of rubbish – that’s more than enough to cover Guernsey!
Do your bit to reduce this figure by using recycled wrapping paper and always recycling the wrapping you receive wherever possible. If you’re not sure if your wrapping can be recycled, give is a scrunch. Unless it springs back into shape, you can recycle it in your green bin.
Consider gifts which don’t have excess packaging, such as experience days. Where packaging is unavoidable don’t forget to recycle as much as you can in your green recycling bin.
Hold on to your Christmas cards and use these to make gift tags for next year. Remember, cards can also be recycled in your green bin.
Take any old toys, games or clothes to charity shops or find a new home for them through your local Freecycle Group.
Energy Saving Lights
There’s isn’t a more festive sight than when the Christmas lights start appearing on houses. As we all know, electric lights are costly both to our pockets and to the environment, but you can still enjoy the twinkle of fairy lights at home whilst remaining environmentally conscious.
Indoor LED fairy lights are a great option when decorating your home for Christmas. They don’t need much energy to run and are much more efficient than standard or even energy saving bulbs. LED lights generally don’t produce heat, making them ideal for decorating your Christmas tree and reducing the risk of fire hazard.
Low Impact Decorations
Rather than buying new decorations this year, you can revamp your old baubles and give your tree a whole new theme. By re-covering them with recycled papier-mâché or even newspaper, you can create a cheap, eco-friendly home spun look that saves money, packaging and energy.
For an even more organic approach, why not use nature to decorate your home? Holly branches, berries and ivy all help to give your home a rustic Christmas aesthetic, what’s even better is you can forage for them for free! Be careful to use gloves when handling plants if you have sensitive, allergy prone skin as some can cause irritation.
Lots of ideas for decorations can be found here: https://www.naturallivingideas.com/32-homemade-eco-friendly-christmas-decorations-that-look-stunning/
Leftovers – Use leftover items for your New Year recipes and save money – check out www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for recipe suggestions for all your leftover ingredients.
Buy locally – Get your Christmas food locally from butchers, farmers markets or direct from the farmer. This reduces the travel miles of your food and helps sustain your local economy. Not buying from the supermarket will also reduce excess packaging. Farmers Markets https://www.eatsleepliveherefordshire.co.uk/farmers-produce-markets/ are particularly good for picking up fresh, locally grown bargains.
Buy seasonally – Cut down food miles by buying fruit and veg that is in season.
Go Veggie – As well as the meat industry being responsible for producing high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, meat is often the most expensive part of a Christmas dinner. So save pennies and the environment by going veggie this year. Not having the turkey doesn’t mean you have to miss out – see https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/vegetarian-christmas for some tasty vegetarian Christmas recipes!
Go organic – If you can’t handle the thought of going all-out veggie this Christmas, then try going organic. Organic turkeys will have enjoyed a free-range life and are reared in a less energy intensive way. They taste much better too!
Composting – If you haven’t got a compost bin, consider one as they are a great way to get rid of all those vegetable peelings from your Christmas lunch! Did you know you can also add nut shells and wooden cocktail sticks from your parties!