How to have a sustainable Christmas
Here at Full Circle we want to help you enjoy an eco friendly Christmas without the eco anxiety that comes with it.
It can be a difficult time of year for those wanting to make greener choices without seeming like a scrooge and also mentally not getting bogged down in the rampant consumerism that seems to take over at this time of year.
We’ve come up with these tips to help you have a more sustainable Christmas:
Tree Options - This information below will help you decide what is the most environmentally friendly Christmas tree option for you:
Artificial Christmas Tree - If you already have one - keep using it, as long as you possibly can. These trees take a lot of energy to make and Dr John Kazer, at the Carbon Trust recommends that if using an artificial tree, you’d need to use it for at least 10 Christmases to make it more eco-friendly. However, what happens at the end of this trees life? They still need to be disposed of and are essentially made of plastic so therein lies the problem….read on for some alternatives
Real Trees - if you would like a real tree - make sure that you are buying an FSC approved tree, this means that when you see the FSC logo on a label, you know that these forest products are farmed in a way that ensures our forests are alive for generations to come.
Grow your own Christmas Tree - If you’ve got green fingers, why not grow your own? This tree will keep its roots and be planted back in the ground year after year - they do however take some looking after.
Choose an alternative tree - You could choose a houseplant and decorate it as your tree.
Recycle your Christmas Tree - If you are buying a real one that will not be re-planted then make sure you recycle, they can then be shredded and used as bark in parks or composted.
Tree Rental - yep, it’s a thing! Just check that the tree you are renting is FSC certified.
Decorations - it’s natural to want your home to look as festive as possible at this time of year, if you do buy new, choose wisely and make sure the decorations are sustainably produced and likely to last for years to come, but there can be more planet friendly options:
There are many great eco friendly christmas decorations to make out of of things that you probably already have in your home. Check out pinterest for ideas.
Eco friendly Christmas crafts are great fun to do with the family so incorporate this into your festive preparation.
Reuse old decorations and jazz up existing ones with new colours
Get outside and forage for things like pine cones, holly and mistletoe which you can use to create your own wreaths and garlands.
Salt dough ornaments for the tree are lovely to make and look fantastic on the tree.
Gifts - simply buy less, here are some tips, a gift is a gesture that you are thinking of someone so why not give a little imagination to your gifting:
If you have a large extended family who like to buy gifts for one another, why not try a ‘secret santa’ where everyone chooses a name out of a hat and buys (or makes) just one special present for that person. The same goes for friends, work colleagues, NCT group friendships. The present list can just get so long otherwise.
Homemade gifts are a wonderful eco friendly way to show someone that you care, here are some wonderful ideas for homemade christmas presents: chutneys in recycled jam jars, fudge, gingerbread, Christmas cake, peppermint blondies, stovetop potpourri, flavored salt in little glass jars, homemade soap, pressed flowers in a glass frame, the list goes on!
The gift of time is one of our favourites, a promise of taking someone for a day out or experience is sometimes much nicer than a tangible present that they might not even need. It could be a trip to the cinema, a special lunch out or a home cooked meal.
Vouchers for spas, cooking classes, makeup tutorials, yoga or other fitness classes and even a ‘gift pledge’ with a handwritten promise for half an hour toe tickling or a back massage are all lovely ideas too.
Check out eco friendly gift companies for presents that are less harmful for the environment but be sure to only buy something like this if it will actually be used and not just because it’s ‘eco friendly’. Our Full Circle Camping Survival Kits are great for campers, glampers, music festival lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike as they can stay clean whilst out on their adventurers without making an impact on the environment.
Food - According to ‘The Soil Association’ “food is the single most important way for people to reduce their environmental impact” and the amount of food consumed and wasted at Christmas time is crazy, there should be no need to let go of our good green intentions over a holiday. Here’s some tips to help make your christmas food shop more sustainable and reduce food waste:
Could you have a meat free Christmas? If that’s going a bit far, buy organic, free range meat and support small scale farming where possible.
Use your local farm shops for veg - it will be seasonal, fresh and low on mileage and low on packaging.
Make your leftovers work for you, there are thousands of great recipes online for Christmas leftovers.
You could even make a game up with your family to create meals using only what you have in the fridge, freezer and cupboards, who knows - you could discover a new family favourite!
Take up the #veganuary challenge in January, it’s quite fun to take on a challenge in the new year, it’s certainly healthy and it may even sway you to make more planet and animal friendly choices in the future.
Ditch the Christmas Cards
Are you still sending cards? Try an e-card, they are free and environmentally friendly.
Can’t bear the thought of not sending cards this christmas? Then make sure you buy responsibly produced, recycled cards and be sure to recycle afterwards, it’s a great idea to cut them up and using them as tags for the following year for unique gift tags.
Or alternatively, make your own by saving up good quality card and paper throughout the year and putting your own mark on it.
Wrapping Paper - Half the fun of getting present is the unwrapping of them but it does come at a cost to the environment, avoid planet damaging wrap with these tips:
If buying wrap, choose recycled wrapping paper that can then be recycled again.
Avoid the over use of tape on wrapping paper so that it can be more easily recycled, but preferably use paper tape, alternatively use ribbon without tape.
Open your presents with care and save wrapping and ribbons to be used again.
Heavier metallic wrap is harder to recycle so avoid this if possible.
If you like to use fairy lights at Christmas, LED are the most energy efficient, just be sure to use them sparingly.
Reduce your travel Carbon Footprint
Lift share on outings.
Buy in bulk to avoid multiple trips.
Walk, ride and use public transport for your family outings, they all add to the adventure.
Recycle old electronics that have been replaced by newer models, someone somewhere will have a use for them.