As the festive season is around the corner, the preparation is underway, and markets are already tantalising us with the glistening tinsel and sparkling lights. Soon people will start buying presents and decorating their homes to celebrate the eve, and it’s very unlikely for them to turn their thoughts toward the waste, which is around 30% extra during the Christmas season.
According to the waste management company BIFFA, more than 100 million bags are sent to landfill each Christmas. Besides this, almost 500 tons of lights are discarded each year, and 8 million Christmas trees are thrown away, which people have bought specifically for this season.
The facts and figures associated with Christmas waste are both surprising and eye-opening, but from now on, we should promise ourselves to not make Christmas a burden on the planet. As small changes can make a big difference, with little effort we can make this festival more sustainable & eco-friendlier.
However, the question arises, how to make this big difference and be kind to the environment to have a more sustainable Christmas ever? Well, don’t worry, as we have put together some secrets to help celebrate the season while caring for the earth.
1. Shop locally, organically & support small sustainable business
Organic products aim to work with nature, not against it. As these products contain no synthetic chemicals, no preservatives, and no artificial colours, not only are they good for the planet but are also better for your health. Therefore, avail of this opportunity to promote sustainability in your gift choice and opt for products and gifts that are eco-friendly and have environmental benefits.
Besides this, to make the statement and play your part in a more eco-kindly Christmas, visit your local market, and support small online sustainable businesses. It is important because transportation contributes heavily to global warming and greenhouse emission and by being local will also support the growth of your country economy and so family small business.
2. Reuse or rent a Christmas Tree
The UK uses as many as 8 million natural Christmas trees each year and sadly, about 6 million of these are discarded. The USA discards a record of 30 million trees.
As trees provide many benefits to the planet, cutting them in any form is not suitable for the environment adding more festive waste to the landfill. How to choose the best sustainable Christmas tree for you? One of the best suitable options we found is this fantastic Christmas tree rental service called Rental Claus in the Cotswold.
How tree renting works?
Your order a tree in a pot, return your tree to the farm after festivities is over, return it to the farm, where it will live for another year. It’s possible for you to have the same tree next year, people even name them "They shoot up at about a foot a year, meaning families can pick one to literally grow with their children, they call them trees for life.” Their potted trees last for around 12 years – after that, they’re better off in the ground.
Christmas Tree farms, and their ability to absorb carbon emissions and clean the air makes them more environmentally friendly. Not only this, but after decorating and caring for the tree during the festive period, you can replant as well.
Alternatively ensure to reuse your old Christmas tree and reinvent with sustainable decoration, like recyclable materials or wooden ornaments.
Make sure you chose the right tree for your family and space and if you choose not to rent, buy sustainably, if your tree can't be returned, recycle it properly
3. Find an alternative to wrap the gifts & refuse plastic stick tape
Gift wrapping is one of the major concerns, and during the Christmas season, it reaches a whole new level. According to the research, only in the UK, people use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper, and as not all of it can be recycled, it ends up in our bins. Therefore, in a bid to be less wasteful, there are certain things you can do:
Always use a newspaper to wrap the gift or choose simple brown paper and decorate it with colourful pens instead of actual gift wrap. When combined with twine, it will look festive, and you can also recycle it afterward.
Save your gift wrap
As you are sending the gifts to your loved ones, they will also send you some in return. So, get ready to play your part to ditch the gift wrap waste by unwrapping those gifts carefully and saving the paper for later use.
Refuse plastic stick tape
Say no to the plastic stick tape as it is not environmentally friendly. Besides this, it doesn’t allow the recipient to reuse the wrapping as paper having plastic stick tape cannot be reclaimed. Therefore, instead of using tape to jazz up your present, take some branches, wintery flowers, and leaves and finish off your wrapping in style.
4. Give gifts that are useful, sustainable, and fair-trade
As a consumer, be responsible and give gifts that are useful and sustainable. It is important to not only reduce the waste stream but also make use of the naturally available material.
Research suggests that in the UK alone, nearly 40 percent of children's gifts are unused and thrown away that end up as landfills. Not only does it cost around £760 million, but also adds a lot to pollute the environment. Therefore, always give presents that are useful, budget-friendly, and are according to the receiver's needs.
And to make things easier for you, Eco Kindly has developed eco-friendly and sustainable gifts using recycled products. These Products will last forever without compromising on the environment and your health too. Check out here.
We should also normalize re-gifting to cut short the wastage as the gift you don’t need is wasteful. However, while re-gifting always make sure it doesn’t offend the original giver.
5. Avoid the shiny glitter
Although shiny stuff makes the product pleasing to the eye, they are hard to recycle and contain non-biodegradable materials that are toxic to the planet. Therefore, make sure to avoid foil, glittery, or shiny patterns and do the beautiful wrapping job for your gifts with an eco-friendlier color option, gift tags, and sticky tape.
6. Buy green crackers or make your own
Replace single-use crackers with green crackers and get one step closer to a more sustainable Christmas. You can make your own from recyclable material, like cardboard, loo roll, we love this sustainable idea from who gives a crap these crackers don’t contain any harmful chemicals and leave a lesser impact on the environment as you are reusing & repurposing all the materials. Eco-friendly crackers are 30 percent less polluting compared to ordinary ones and reduce air pollution. In short, these eco-friendly\green crackers are the perfect alternative while ensuring you don’t miss out on any fun over the festive season. Perfect activity to do with kids at Christmas time.
7. Bring home LED Light
Modern LED lights are the perfect solution to get rid of incandescent bulbs that not only emit greenhouse gasses but also consume up to 80% more energy. Research suggests that if every UK household switches to LED Christmas, it can save up to 29000 tons of Carbon dioxide and 11 million pounds in just 12 days during Christmas. So come forward and swap your traditional Incandescent bulb with LED light and lower the environmental impact as well as an energy bill.
8. Drink without generating plastic
The planet is drowning in plastic pollution as we are producing a whopping 380 million tones of plastic every year. The irony is where the festival brings joy and happiness, it brings pollution and waste as well, and the study suggests that we produce an estimated 125,000 tones of plastic on Christmas each year. So, without any doubt, we have become addicted to this nearly indestructible material, and there seems to be no solution. From gifts to fruits, to crackers and even the beverages come in plastic packaging, which only harms the environment. Therefore, make sure to incorporate drinks that don't generate plastic waste and are eco-kindly.
9. Save leftovers in airtight containers
According to the official statement from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, nearly 30 to 50 percent of the food prepared on Christmas is wasted. That’s plenty of food that should not be wasted and used later for yourself or feed the poverty-stricken community around you.
However, many people raise the concern of how to save leftovers as they can quickly get rotten. Well, you can use an eco-friendly air-tight container to save the leftovers and keep your food fresh and contamination-free. When sealed carefully, the airtight container doesn’t allow the moisture to get in and prevent the growth of bacteria. Besides this, such containers are safer to use than plastic boxes as plastic boxes contain BPA elements, get easily stained, and can not be recycled easily.Check out some of the best eco-friendly airtight containers
10. Use/gift plastic-free, organic, and natural beauty products
As you are already contributing to the environment with eco-friendly measures, why stay behind with your Christmas look?
When preparing for the Christmas parties, everyone looks excited about a classic Christmas look. However, when it comes to sustainability over the festive season, even small changes matter a lot and make a huge impact on the environment. Therefore, make sure to use beauty products that are plastic-free and are made with natural and recycled products.
Using these products will not only provide natural protection and care to the skin, but it will also significantly contribute to the environment.
Check out our Sustainable Gift Guide for some more eco-tips.
In the end, it's everyone's responsibility to be more conscious and be part of the solution, and this is only possible by practicing eco-friendly and sustainable measures.
ECO HO HO !!
Merry Christmas from everyone at Eco Kindly