Green issues finally found centre stage this year, and as a result an increasing number of Britons are making an effort to be more environmentally-friendly in their choices over the festive period. From the presents we give to the food we eat, we can make every part of Christmas a little greener without being a Grinch.
Presents are half the fun of Christmas, but great presents are ones that people will enjoys for years to come. Sometimes this will be a book or a games console, but similarly it could be a new skill to learn or a memory to treasure. We waste millions of tonnes of plastic every year on last-minute presents that nobody wants, so this year if you’re struggling to find the right gift for someone, maybe buy them tickets to a a gig or the theatre, or day-long painting or cookery course.
Use recycled packaging
Selfridges made headlines this year by replacing all its Christmas packaging with more environmentally-friendly options made from recycled card or NatureFlex, a home-compostable cellulose film. However, you don’t need to spend the earth to choose greener packaging this year thanks Re-wrapped’s low-cost recycled wrapping paper and Bestbuyenvelopes UK‘s recycled Christmas envelopes for all those last-minute cards.
Christmas is a time where we eat and drink to excess, but that does not mean the environment has to suffer. Most of the food in a traditional British Christmas feast can be grown in the UK, and so choosing local to reduce food miles is an easy first step. And where you can make sure to choose groceries that do not come in plastic wrapping, whether that is grabbing a paper bag of loose potatoes or getting your sausage-meat and bacon from the butcher’s counter rather than pre-packaged on the aisle. A vegetarian Christmas will have the lowest environmental impact, but the traditional options of turkey or goose are some of the lowest impact meats you can choose.
Use public transport
Trains may not get your door-to-door but for longer journeys they have a significantly lower carbon footprint than making that same journey by car, especially with just one or two occupants. If the train is not an option for you then instead it might be worth exploring car sharing services like Liftshare and GoCarShare, where you share the car journey with others and reduce your individual impact.
Fresh trees are more sustainable and eco-friendly than their plastic counterparts, but either way it could make a good tradition to offset each tree you cut down by supporting ten more to be grown in its place. You could even dedicate one as a gift for that family member who already has everything else!