Whether we like it or not, Christmas is coming and it can be a time where lots of waste is produced, meaning (despite the traditional use of the colour) it isn’t a very green occasion. In fact, according to waste management company Biffa, the UK creates more than 30% more waste than usual over Christmas.
To make the most out of the festive season without costing the earth, there are lots of things consumers can do to reduce their waste at this time. Below are just a few examples, to help set you on the road to green festivities.
Stop sending Christmas cards
In this day and age, sending Christmas cards is universally recognised as being a waste of paper. Then why do we still send them? Consider making your Christmas cards virtual and sending them via email. Although this still uses energy, it is a much greener alternative to sending Christmas cards that will just be thrown away.
With that in mind, be sure to recycle your Christmas cards where you can. Cards with glitter are not recyclable, and must be disposed of in general waste. For those cards you receive and can’t recycle, why not cut them up into smaller rectangles and use them as gift tags next year?
Can you reduce your travel?
In the days leading up to the big day, hundreds of thousands of people will be crossing the UK to visit friends and family. These “love miles”, as some environmentalists call them, contribute massively to greenhouse gas emissions and congestion. Where possible, avoid air travel. If you have a lot of people in your party, do your best to share cars to and from where you’re staying, or take public transport. This will result in less traffic on the roads and the added bonus of splitting fuel costs for the driver.
Eco-friendly wrapping paper
One of the most wasted materials at Christmas is wrapping paper. In fact, in 2018 it was estimated that Brits threw away the equivalent of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper after Christmas was over. It’s so easy to find out if the paper your gifts were wrapped in is recyclable. Firstly, if it is decorated in glitter it can’t be recycled. If it’s not decorated in glitter, try the “scrunch” test – anything that doesn’t hold its shape when scrunched into a ball is not recyclable.
Consider opting for a more eco-friendly paper option. Brown paper, newspaper and textiles are all viable options for wrapping that offer a shabby chic look, while being eco-friendly.
Of course, being environmentally conscious isn’t something reserved for Christmas time. We can be environmentally conscious in all aspects of our lives, all year round. At this time of year, we might find ourselves being sparing with the heating in order to cut carbon emissions and save a few quid. Consider looking for ECO funding for installers to cover the cost of installing more eco-friendly heating measures to your home. Then you can enjoy your Christmas feeling warm and guilt free!