No matter the time of year, it is always important to be environmentally conscious. That is why we have put together this list of top tips to help you enjoy a more sustainable Christmas this winter.
Buy a real tree
It is far more environmentally friendly to buy a real Christmas tree, as artificial trees will contribute to plastic waste. But remember to buy a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved tree, as this will ensure it is responsibly sourced. Once the festive season is over, either correctly recycle your tree, or reuse parts for firewood and mulch. Better yet, if your tree is potted, just replant it in your garden!
Each year, roughly 70 million people in the UK receive unwanted Christmas gifts, leading to an increase in harmful plastic waste. To prevent this, instead of physical presents, gift your friends and family experiences, such as restaurant vouchers, concert tickets or a spa day. You could even donate to a charity in a loved one’s name. Not only will this be more environmentally friendly, but it might also be more memorable.
Understandably, energy usage goes up around Christmas time. By using LEDs, you can keep your energy usage down and still adorn your home with festive lights. Make sure to remember to turn your lights off at night to save energy too.
Reuse wrapping paper
A great way to stay sustainable at Christmas time is to use household materials such as newspapers or fabrics to wrap your gifts. Another eco-friendly option is to save wrapping paper from the previous year and reuse it. Tissue paper is also 100% recyclable and compostable! If these options do not work for you, recyclable FSC approved wrapping paper is available.
Instead of buying new Christmas decorations, which often come in plastic packaging, get creative and make some decorations of your own. Not only will this help reduce waste, but it also gives you a fun activity to do with your friends and family. A favourite festive DIY activity of ours is turning old Christmas cards into gift tags.
Scale back the meat
Eating less meat is both good for you and the planet. Although it may be too difficult to say goodbye to the traditional turkey, there are plenty of delicious meat-free alternatives that you can incorporate into your Christmas dinner. Even just cutting back on meat by 50% this winter can help make a big difference.
Reduce food waste
Food production is the biggest cause of tropical deforestation, so it is important to do your best to limit your food waste. Be realistic about how much food you really need and make sure to eat any leftovers. Sometimes a sandwich of leftovers on Boxing Day can be just as good as the main dinner!
Get eco-friendly crackers
Often unrecyclable and filled with plastic toys, Christmas crackers are a huge contributor to waste in the UK. They might be slightly harder to find, but recyclable, plastic-free and even reusable crackers are sold during the holiday season in selected shops. You can even make your own, so why not create personal crackers for your loved ones?
A staggering 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away in the UK each year. To reduce this waste, try sending your loved ones e-cards this festive season. As well as being more eco-friendly, digital cards can also be incredibly fun and personalised, giving them an extra special touch.
Be it shopping for presents, or on Christmas day itself, car sharing with family and friends where possible can reduce your carbon emissions. Better still, if the distance is not too large and the weather allows it, cycle and walk as much as possible during the holiday season.
To support charities and causes that matter to you this Christmas, download the Toucan app today. Use Toucan to create a portfolio of up to three charities and split a monthly donation between them. Choose from over 20,000 charities and see who, how and where they help. Support charities long term or switch every month and track all the good you’re doing via the impact statement section.