Waste management company Biffa says the UK creates 30% more waste over Christmas, including an extra 227,000 miles of wrapping paper and 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging. If you’re feeling a little guilty but still want to enjoy traditions at Christmas then worry no more. There are alternatives that are better for the planet, better for you and often easier on the bank balance!
Drop the Christmas Cards.
Why not send an ecard instead? There are simple free or chargeable websites where you can send an email card, either go traditional or add a songs or photos and make them special. They can be kept forever and reduce the 1.5 billion cards that are thrown away each Christmas in the UK alone. Why not try your favourite charity and see if they offer email cards? Many charities offer free cards but invite you to make a donation. Have a look at these sites for some inspiration:
Organic farming is better for the environment. Preserving our soil and insect populations are key to a sustainable future and Organic farming focuses on improving soil, doesn’t use pesticides and chemicals. Veg box schemes often re-use the box and have little or no packaging. Organic vegetables and fruit are usually better for you too.
Locally grown and made products use less energy in transport, require less packaging and support the local community and economy. Supporting local companies will also help preserve small businesses which cuts car usage.
Ideally these should be given a miss, why not have a lucky dip for the kids instead or if crackers are important to you why not try reusable ones such as www.keepthiscracker.com
If you really want to stick with the more traditional cracker then look for plastic-free contents, FSC cardboard, no glitter and foil and that are easily recycled.
If you already have an artificial tree then use it as long as you can. It takes ten years of use before a plastic tree becomes more beneficial than a real tree. If you want a new fake tree then look in charity shops, car-boot sales, buy it, sell it sites and online auction sites.
Real trees with roots are a good option if you can look after your tree outside for the rest of the year. If you want a real, traditional tree then buy a tree that is grown locally from an FSC source and recycle responsibly through your council or a charity scheme.
Eating meat in your diet has serious environmental consequences and with so much tasty food around you’ll really not miss the turkey or sausages. Just think how many more roast potatoes you’ll be able to fit on your plate! If giving up meat is not for you, why not cut back by giving up bacon or source local, organic as an alternative. Try Linda McCartney Meat Free sausage rolls as an alternative to your usual ones, you probably won’t notice the difference! If you like to make your own sausage rolls, then switch the sausage to meat free or use Paxo instead!
Many of us struggle with thinking what gift to get people and hate the thought of traipsing around over-crowded shops so why not give a different sort of gift
Sponsoring animals through charities such as Dogs Trust, WWF or your favourite charity. You can gift trees through the Woodland Trust or just make a donation to their charity of choice and forward an e-certificate to the recipient.
Rather than gift a physical gift why not send a membership to the Woodland Trust, WWF, National Trust. Choose a membership that the recipient will enjoy but that also offers a benefit to the environment.
Homemade gifts of Christmas food are thoughtful and can be very welcome. Cakes, cookies, biscuits and sweets packaged in recycled jars or tins look good and show the person that you care enough to spend time on them.