Christmas is a period of great indulgence, from the food that we consume to the products we buy as presents for our loved ones. During this special time of the year, we have an opportunity to reduce our impact on the planet by choosing eco-friendly options.
It is estimated that 7 to 8 million Christmas trees are dumped in the UK every year. If you chose to buy a real tree, get one which has roots so you can replant it in your garden after Christmas. When buying a tree without roots, make sure that you chop it up and burn it on a bonfire or take it to the local recycling centre where it can be added to the other green waste after you have finished with it. Christmas tree rental is also becoming popular in the UK, where you can have a tree delivered to you. It is then picked up after the celebrations have ended and lovingly cared for until it is hired again the following year.
When we open our gifts, the wrapping paper usually gets torn and instantly thrown away. A lot of Christmas wrapping paper is not suitable for recycling, as it contains plastic, foil or glitter, so it goes into landfill. A great way to make your presents look wonderful in an eco-friendly way is to use brown wrapping paper with different coloured ribbons or string. The paper, ribbons and string can then be recycled. You can also look online for recyclable wrapping paper, as there are many companies that sell this now.
We all love to eat a lot at Christmas. Not only does it affect our waistline, but it affects the planet too. Sometimes we buy so much food that it goes to waste and gets thrown away. Being mindful about the amount we buy combats these kinds of issues. Another way of helping the planet is to cut down on our meat consumption by choosing vegan or vegetarian options. There are so many great alternatives around these days. The Soil Association said, "Food is the single most important, everyday way for people to reduce their own environmental impact".
Around 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away every year in the UK. Giving cards to our closest family members whilst sending e-cards to everyone else on your Christmas card list will save trees and save money. Getting creative and making cards is also a good option. People are more likely to treasure them and keep them rather than throw them in the bin after the special day is over. You can use recyclable materials and make sure that you do not use things which are harmful to the environment, like glitter.
Christmas decorations are also things which we can make ourselves. There are some wonderful online tutorials which can help you make wreaths from natural foraged materials, and you can even make edible Christmas tree decorations like beautifully designed biscuits. Using natural materials like holly, mistletoe and pine cones can make our homes feel cosy and authentically Christmassy.