How to Have a More Sustainable Christmas
The festive season is without a doubt, the most wonderful time of year but it can be the most wasteful too. And at &SISTERS, we're all about wasting less and choosing better - especially when it comes to your period care. So, if you're looking to have a green Christmas, join us as we take a look at how you can have a more sustainable Christmas with a few simple swaps…
1. Opt for Reusable Wrapping
Everyone loves tearing into a beautifully wrapped gift, however all that paper adds up. In fact the GWP confirmed that the UK uses 300,000 tonnes of card during the festive period - enough to cover Big Ben 260,000 times! So, how can we combat all this waste? Opting for reusable wrap, like recycled fabric that can be used for future gifts or a scarf is perfect for your Christmas gifts. Plus, it’ll ensure that your gift is even more personal if you choose a colour or pattern you know the recipient will love.
Remember: glitter can’t be recycled. So, if opting for fabric isn’t viable then go for recyclable wrapping paper. The trick to working out if your wrapping paper can be recycled is scrunch it up and then let go - if the paper stays scrunched then it can be recycled! If it bounces back into shape, it likely contains substances that can’t be recycled.
2. To Go Real or Fake?
The debate that’s gone on for decades. When it comes to the tree, do you opt for real or fake? Here’s the facts when it comes to choosing which is best for you.
According to the Carbon Trust, you need to reuse an artificial tree 10 times to negate its 40kg carbon footprint. This is more than twice that of a real tree that ends its life in landfill and more than 10 times that of a real tree that’s burnt.
An artificial tree is also made from plastic, so it’s not recyclable. So, when anyone inevitably decides it’s time for the tree to go, it’ll end up in a landfill.
If you like the convenience, ease & look of a pristine artificial tree, go for it. However, do your research, treat it like an investment and treat it like you’ll be using it for years to come, rather than get a new one after a couple of years. And if you already own an artificial tree, it’s important to stick with it, but if you want to make the swap to a real tree, find a new home for your old one first.
Yes, they’re harder work, but the joy of a real tree is hard to beat. However, there’s more to buying a real tree in a greener way than meets the eye. According to the Soil Association, the best way to buy a real Christmas tree is to ensure it’s been locally sourced or at the very least grown in the UK with an FSC certification to avoid any emissions from transporting or importing.
And once the big day is over, you need to think about saying goodbye to your tree. Most local authorities offer a collection service for real trees where they are shredded and used in gardens & parks. You could also chip the tree yourself and use it in your own garden.
Whichever way you get rid of your tree, it’s important to not send it straight to the landfill as this could cause a carbon footprint of 16kg due to the methane gas produced.
3. Give a Gift that Gives Back
Gifts shouldn’t cost the Earth, so when it comes to ticking off your list consider opting for more sustainable options.
- Gift Mindfully - is this something they’ll love and use time and time again? Buy with intention in mind and not just because you feel like you need to fill a stocking.
- Choose Conscious Brands - why not look into brands who use recycled materials or donate to charity with every purchase.
- Shop Locally - shopping with independent stores or brands who create local produce is one of the best ways to reduce your Christmas carbon footprint.
4. Decorate Mindfully
Try not to be suckered into changing up your Christmas look year in and out. Scour online sellers, charity shops or your parent’s loft for vintage pieces that you’ll be saving from landfill. Fresh pine cones, holly or pine also make wonderfully festive finishing touches that won't impact on your carbon footprint.
Swap out crackers for reusable options that can be used year in and out. Plus, you can change the gifts/jokes inside so you can make it super personal to your guests.
5. Reduce Your Food Waste
Did you know that in the UK we waste around 20% of the food we purchase? According to Less Waste, at Christmas, we tend to purchase around 20% more so that waste grows as the festivities begin. How can you stop
Plan Ahead - resist the urge to impulse buy and get more “because it’s Christmas”. Take some time to work out how much food you’re going to need, especially if you’re hosting. Less Waste has some free meal plans for couples, families & vegetarians.
The Big Freeze - your freezer is a lifesaver more than ever at Christmas. Get some pens & labels and freeze whatever leftovers you can.
Donate Leftovers & Extras - plenty go without year-round, least of all at Christmas, so if you have any extra canned goods, biscuit tins or even unwanted toiletry gifts (we all get the odd one!) Donating to your local Food Bank is a great way to lose the extras.
All that's left to do is have a very merry Christmas!
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