This year, we have been thinking a lot about how to be more eco-friendly. We know that we can turn off lights when we leave the room, walk rather than taking the car where possible, and avoid products which use a lot of plastic packaging. But what can we do at Christmas time to be better for the environment? Here are some tips.
Every product which is imported, from your presents to your tree to your food on the table, has a carbon footprint. If something has travelled overseas then it needs to either fly or come by truck over a ferry, neither of which are great options. In order to reduce the carbon footprint of your Christmas, you can try to shop locally. This will also help to grow your community and support local businesses, which is a great bonus. While you might not have farms supplying everything in your locale, you can at least choose things which have been produced within your country.
Choose your tree
Make sure that you are getting your tree from an eco-friendly source if you are buying a real one. You should be able to check how the tree is grown and whether or not it is done in a sustainable way. If you are going the plastic route, buy a tree for life. Don’t throw it away after one year – plan to keep it for 20 or 30. This will offset the carbon cost of making the tree because of the amount of use that you get out of it. When you do get rid of your tree, try to recycle it or donate it to charity rather than just throwing it in the bin.
If you have gifts that must be shipped out, then make sure that you do it the green way with PACK & SEND. They have practices in place which mean that your carbon footprint will be reduced by using their services as opposed to a postal service. Think about the way that you package your gifts, too. Do you really need all those layers of cardboard and bubble wrap, or would a smaller parcel work just as well to protect the gifts?
Change your bulbs
Make sure that your fairy lights aren’t draining your electric bill and putting a strain on the environment! Pick out a set with more eco-friendly bulbs and both will be improved. LED fairy lights are a good choice as they take less electricity to run and don’t cause any heat, which makes them less of a fire hazard. It’s also fun to sit with only the lights of the tree in the evening and turn off your main lights, which will save a lot of energy! Try to watch your energy usage in general – could you turn off the television and play board games together, for example?
Remove food waste
When doing your shopping before Christmas, try to be more realistic about what you actually need to buy. So much food is wasted every year because we make such big feasts which are not actually eaten. When you have vegetable leftovers that can’t be used, try to turn them into compost or feed them to a pet. Eat up leftovers where possible. If you can’t get rid of all of your food, you may be able to find a nearby shelter which takes spare food donations.
It’s easier than you think to have a green Christmas. Just think about reducing waste and shopping local, and the rest will fall into place!