We are all becoming more eco-conscious and this Christmas we can all make a difference. Anthesis, the sustainability consultancy, says that if we all make small changes to reduce our carbon footprint over Christmas it can make a big difference. From shopping wisely to making better decisions we can all do our bit.
Real Christmas trees are more sustainable than a plastic artificial one. You’d have to use your fake tree for over 20 years to make it more sustainable. However, 7 million trees were dumped in 2018 so you could rent a tree instead. Find out how.
If you buy a real Christmas tree make sure it has been grown locally and check that it has the FSC seal of approval which guarantee it has been grown to environmental standards.
After Christmas make sure you recycle your tree – here in East Renfrewshire you can put it out with your brown bin and the council will collect it for you or you can cut it up and put it inside the bin.
Many of us re-use wrapping paper (although this can be tricky if you have young children who rip into their presents!). What many people don’t know is that not all wrapping paper is recyclable. To find out, scrunch it up and if it springs back it’s likely to contain plastic or foil and can’t be put in your recycling bin. Alternatively how about using brown paper and some pretty re-usable ribbon, but avoid plastic ribbon and bows. You can also use paper tags with string. Finally, how about wrapping with pretty fabric and string?
Many of us no longer write Christmas cards – but if you do make sure they have the FSC mark to guarantee that they have been produced sustainably and ethically. Buy cards from the woodland trust or your local charity top so that some of the money goes back into a good cause. Notonthehighstreet sells seed packet cards encouraging the recipient to sow the seeds in the spring.
If you do receive cards make sure you recycle them – or even save them to make gift takes the following year.
If all homes had a smart meter then the government’s carbon emissions target would be achieved right away! They will also help to save money on the bills, helping towards the cost of Christmas. Also swap your bulbs for LEDs as these are much more environmentally-friendly than the traditional lights, using up to 80% less energy.
Support your local butcher and food stores by buying local. Visit farmer’s markets and try to buy produce that has a lower carbon footprint and less packaging. Buy loose fruit and vegetables rather than plastic pre wrapped items and make sure you use up all your leftovers. Any food you do waste, make sure it goes into the brown bin.
Buy items that are locally produced, hand-made and with less packaging. Look for respected logos such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Scientific Certification Systems, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Energy Star and Palm Oil Free.
Consider too the clothes you wear over Christmas and New Year! Did you know that sequins are made from PVC and aren’t biodegradable? Instead look for sustainable materials such as cotton, wool and bamboo. Try and buy items that are made in the UK to reduce the carbon footprint too.