Christmas is a time for merriment, sharing and spending time with loved ones. But even as we look forward to setting up the perfect decorations and atmosphere, it is important that we remember to continue to strive for sustainability.
Following on from last week's sustainable Christmas gift guide, here are some things you can do to make your Christmas more sustainable this year:
1. Consider sending e-cards or plantable instead
Every year, hundreds of millions of Christmas cards are thrown away across the globe after the season has passed. This year, why not look at sending a Christmas e-card to your family, friends and colleagues instead of sending traditional Christmas cards? No paper required and once the season is over, the recipients can simply delete them at no cost to the environment.
Its also worth considering these brilliant plantable greetings cards by Bonjour Bloom - simply soak under the tap and place under a thin layer of soil and you'll soon have blooms of flowers loved by bees and butterflies!
2 Be smart about your Christmas lights
Switch your old Christmas lights for LED lights, both in the house and for the decorative light displays. LED bulbs consume a fraction of the energy used by conventional light bulbs and last thousands of hours of use. If you can, use an automatic timer so they're not on when not needed.
3. If possible, avoid gifting items that require batteries
According to the Environmental Protection Agency in the US, battery sales tend to jump by about 40% during the holiday season. The problem is that discarded batteries are a hazard to the environment, even the rechargeable ones. Instead, consider going for items that do not require energy and have less of an impact on the environment.
4. Ditch the wrapping paper
Most Christmas wrapping paper is not recyclable; even worse, much of it (particularly metallic or glittery paper) is a recycling contaminant meaning it makes other items in the bin with it not recyclable. Consider up-cycling newspaper instead or by plain brown wrapping paper - not only is this often made from recycled sources, it is easily recycled and gives your gift that vintage feel. Ditch the sticking tape and use string to seal instead.
5. Don't waste food
When planning for food this holiday, purchase thoughtfully and if possible, locally. In 2012, Unilver published a report the equivalent of 4 million Christmas dinners are wasted in the UK alone. This amount of wasted food has a massive carbon footprint. Be realistic about how much food you’ll actually need this Christmas and make the most of leftovers.
6. Spread the holiday cheer to the birds
Instead of decorating an outdoor tree with lights that shoot up your electric bill, why not set up something for the birds? You can place full seed trays and pine cones covered in peanut butter on any tree in your yard to attract them and provide them with an important food source during the winter. Plus, it can be a great outdoor activity for kids.