Guest Post – Author: Chris Rowson, Founder of eC02Greetings
Christmas is a time packed full of delicious foods and indulgence. Piles of presents and piles of food – which unfortunately means piles of waste.
Right now, we’re enjoying driving past houses with beautiful Christmas lights and decorations – but soon we’ll be seeing piles of bin bags bulging with crumpled gift wrap and dishevelled christmas trees outside houses. The festive season generates more waste than any other time of the year.
Every year, British households throw away the equivalent to 4.2 million Christmas dinners. A study has revealed that the food we leave on our plates on December 25th will add up to to 17.2 million brussels sprouts, 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes – to put that into perspective, the sprouts alone would fill 1,000 wheelie bins! Did you know it would take the average family nearly 4 days to eat all of their food bought just for Christmas day?
The good news is that there are many easy ways to improve the sustainability of your Christmas celebrations.
To reduce your environmental footprint, shop locally for food. Not only will you be supporting your local economy, you’ll be cutting down on the climate impact of long distance shipping of food – and not only that, you can make sure you are buying from shops or markets who use sustainable practices. Local products tend to have much less packaging too.
Why not send e-cards this year instead of traditional paper cards? E-cards mean no paper is used at all but the sentiments are still there. E-cards are becoming increasingly popular as not only are they kinder to the environment, they save time and they are much more than your average card, and can feature things like interactive graphics, personalised messages and custom music.
Use recycled materials
If you do decide to send traditional paper cards, then buy products made from recycled material. Also think about whether wrapping paper is really necessary. Did you know at Christmas we apparently use enough wrapping paper to wrap the circumference of the equator nine times? That’s an incredible amount of paper! Why not use gift bags instead that are easily reusable? Newspapers are also a great alternative to wrapping paper. For a timeless look, accentuate the black and white paper with a red ribbon.
If you have a real tree, source it from a sustainable grower and dont just throw it out after Christmas, have it shredded. Most local authorities have a shredding facility which means your tree can be recycled as chippings for garden paths and childrens playgrounds.
Everyone worries there won’t be enough food to go around, but typically there’s always too much. Plan the meal so you’re not left with heaps of perishable food, but instead buy things that can be recycled for future meals. If you buy just what you need every few days, food will stay fresher.
Buy ethical gifts
For those who have ‘everything,’ why not consider buying a valuable gift for charity on their behalf? ! Search ‘present aid’ or ‘gift aid’ on the internet for lots of great ideas. Gifts start from a few pounds and include school supplies, clean water or a livestock.
Make homemade gifts
You can give more and at the same time spend less by giving gifts that are homemade. While little ones may favour brand new toys, adults appreciate anything that shows thoughtfulness. Homemade christmas cookies, jams, salt and sugar scrubs and hand wrapped soaps are just a few things to consider.
Make a New Year’s resolution
Make it your New Year resolution to cut your waste! By kicking off the New Year with a resolution to reduce the amount of waste you and your family produce, you’ll discover how easy it is – and you’ll feel good too as you’ll be making a positive impact on the environment.
Don’t let this Christmas be a wasteful one!