It’s nearly that wonderful time of year again, when we love to indulge our way through the cold December days and nights, all the way up to Christmas. There’s always lots of blogs about our expanding waistlines and shrinking wallets. But what about the effect on our wonderful world?
In this article, we going to do our upmost not to be ‘bar humbug’, but share a few ideas of how to create that splendid seasonal feeling while reducing your impact on the environment, with a few helpful tips.
Christmas Cards and Wrap
Many people buy charity Christmas Cards.(Earth Wit and Style’s chosen charity is Variety, which supports children and young people throughout the UK). Sustainability is all about looking after people as well as the environment, so if you’re doing that already, that’s a good start.
Try to buy cards with recycled, FSC or PECT logos, as these are sustainably sourced, so less damaging to our planet. Then there’s the packaging – you could make a decision to only buy boxed cards, not ones which are contained in rigid plastic.
Here’s our NUMBER ONE TIP in this section! Avoid glitter as it can’t be recycled.
For a fun activity with the kids, instead of throwing cards into the recycling bin when it’s all over, get your scissors out. Cut around the designs and use a hole punch to make next year’s gift tags.
Instead of using masses of shiny gift wrap and oodles of sellotape which also can’t be recycled, invest in a few stylish gift bags to put around the tree. You can save them for next year, and whilst we understand that may not sit too well with you at the moment, we really do all need to shift our thinking to being more sustainable. You probably don’t think twice about re-usable shopping bags anymore…
There’s a few things you can do in the gift department. Firstly, find out what people really want. It’s a waste of your money, apart from anything else, if you buy presents which are simply going to end up in landfill. Consider pooling resources, to get the thing a relative really craves. What’s better; six rubbish gifts or one more expensive item which will be really appreciated?
Another idea is to buy experiences, rather than a ‘thing’. Last years stanout present was a hovercraft experience for two. Whizzing over a field in a mini hovercraft created a few laughs and photo opportunities plus it was more memorable than, well, that ‘thing’ you can’t remember!
Be realistic about the food you put on the table. A shocking £17.2 million worth of sprouts alone are chucked out every year, not to mention all the other stuff. We all love to eat a bit too much on and around December 25th, but aim to use everything you cook. If no-one is going to eat the sprouts, then don’t cook ‘em!
Consider quantities too. It’s tempting to overcook and fill the dinner table with more than it’s possible to eat. If you’re going to do that, it can make mealtimes for the next few days easier which is a definite bonus. Plan what you’re going to do with left overs and aim for no food waste. There are lots of recipes online to help you out with a bit of inspiration. Once again less in the bin is better for your wallet, as well as the world, at this expensive time of year.
Making Christmas Spiritual Again
Whether Christmas is a religious experience for you or simply a great time to get together with the family, it’s a perfect opportunity to reduce your environmental impact. When you go for that crispy, frosty walk on New Year ’s Day, you can feel good about your latest steps towards protecting the planet.
Michelle Marks is a Sustainability Consultant who runs Coral Mountain. She helps company leaders add value by reducing their environmental impact at work.
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