Whether you love it or aren’t so keen, theres no denying that the festive season places a burden on not just our wallets, but the planet too. The high energy usage and excess waste produced at this time of year is not very good news for the planet, but never fear! With these tips you can still have a wonderful christmas time, while keeping an eye on your carbon footprint…
FOOD AND DRINK
- Take reusable bags when you go food shopping
- Use in-season fruit and vegetables in your cooking
- Buy loose fruit and veg at the supermarket- you don’t need the little plastic bags!
- If you have time, make your own mince pies and Xmas bakes- its fun and saves on waste packaging.
- Remember to use up leftovers- delicious trimming sandwiches are always a Christmas highlight! For more tips on reducing food waste check out the work of The Great Food Upcycle.
- Buy locally produced turkey- reduce food miles and support local farmers. Or better still; attempt a meat-free Xmas- the meat and dairy industry is the single biggest producer of greenhouse gases in the world.
- If you have spare time over the holiday, why not volunteer at your local Foodcycle? Foodcycle is an organisation which uses produce that would normally go to waste to cook up delicious meals for the homeless. For more info go to https://www.foodcycle.org.uk
- If you are buying 6-packs of alcohol for the party season, remember to cut up the plastic rings to prevent wildlife becoming ensnared if the packaging ends up in the natural environment.
- Don’t use straws! As fun as they seem, more often than not plastic straws end up littering our beaches and oceans and have e detrimental impact on wildlife through choking and ingestion.
10. Turn off your Christmas lights (and other appliances) when not in use.
11. Save and reuse last year’s wrapping paper. If you would rather buy fresh, try and source recycled paper or why not decorate your own? Remember; foil based paper is less easy to recycle.
12. Can you deliver your Xmas cards on foot? A nice way to get some fresh air on a winter’s day.
13. Recycle, recycle, recycle! Remember to recycle all the waste that you can to avoid it going to landfill. A compost bin is a great way to avoid food waste.
14. Take an extra bin bag if you are going on a boxing day walk and try a 5-minute litter pick while you or on the beach or in the park- every little helps!
15. Use public transport if you are going to town to buy food and gifts- a great way to cut down on your CO2 emissions.
16. Up-cycling old or broken Xmas decorations instead of buying new ones is a nice activity for children (and adults!) on a cold winters eve. *If you are buying new decorations try and avoid plastic and glitter-coated objects- as magical as glitter seems, it is in fact a micro plastic which can easily end up in water systems, posing a threat to wildlife and it’s habitats, as well as humans.
17. To avoid chucking batteries- which are a hazardous waste- set up a box to collect the dead ones throughout the year and then take them to be disposed of safely at the end of the year.
19. Try and shop locally- reduce air miles and support local independent businesses.
20. Avoid buying gifts made of plastic- even when its chucked, it’s never gone.
21. Try buying second-hand presents- you can find an amazing selection of books and trinkets in most charity shops or if you have a little more money to spend why not peruse some nice antique shops?
22. Remember to take a refillable water bottle and/or coffee cup when you go into to town for your gift buying. Most cafes will fill up water bottles for free and you will save money on a pumpkin spiced latte if you bring your own mug. For more tips and hints relating to this check out the Bring Your Own Bottle campaign and to find your nearest free water top-up point visit Refill.
23. As great as it seems, try and avoid online shopping, the carbon emissions involved in shipping and airfreight are huge.
24.If you have time, try and make your own gifts! It’s always wonderful to receive something so personal that has clearly had time and effort put into it. There are lots of ideas for winter crafts, winter jams, and secret Santas to be found online.
25. Finally, when shopping for Xmas and new years, try and avoid single-use plastic toys like party poppers. For a second of excitement, the plastic will stay in the environment for up to 1000 years.
So that’s it, a comprehensive list of tips to reduce your environmental footprint this Christmas. If you would like to find out any further information regarding environmentally friendly living check out the list of websites below. Seasons Greetings to one and all!