Christmas is coming and in all the excitement it can be easy to forget about the impact our festivities can have on our planet.
So, we are suggesting a few simple changes you could make this festive period, to have a more sustainable Christmas.
Wrapping paper & tape
Collectively, we buy a huge amount of wrapping paper each year. In the UK we use around 300,000 tonnes of card at Christmas - enough to cover Big Ben 260,000 times. In addition, 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging goes to landfill.
It can be confusing to determine which paper we can put in our recycling and which we have to throw away. The key is to try the scrunch test: if you can scrunch the paper into a ball and it doesn’t open, it can be recycled. Ensure you remove any tape. Foil wrapping paper or anything with glitter on can't be recycled.
Another suggestion would be to use brown paper and reusable ribbons for your wrapping. If you’ve got the time, you could even decorate the paper yourself. Have a look at charity shops to find attractive reusable material scraps to use instead of paper. You could also consider gifting presents in reusable fabric bags.
Check out Refill and Replenish, which has a great selection of planet friendly wrapping and tape (pictured above!).
It might be too late for this, but one tip for gift tags is to use your old Christmas cards from the previous year. Cut out the pictures and hey presto - you have your own gift tags - without having to spend more money and reducing your impact on the environment. Alternatively, make and design your own tags using pieces of card.
Even in 2022, in a world where we are all addicted to the internet, people still like to send cards at Christmas. But you can do your bit for the planet. Firstly, you could agree not to buy Christmas cards - perhaps you could make a donation to PeCAN instead?
If you do want to send cards, there are fun options for eco-friendly plantable seeded cards. Check out Little Green Paper Shop and 1 Tree Cards. Avoid buying cards with glitter or extra decorations stuck to the front, as these may not be recyclable. Naked, or loose, charity shop Christmas cards are always a good choice.
There is an ongoing debate about whether it’s better for the environment to buy a real tree or an artificial one. Due to both the resources needed to produce artificial trees, and the fact that they cannot easily be recycled and shed micro plastics during their lifetimes, we feel that a locally grown tree is a better option. In some areas you might be lucky enough to be able to hire a real tree, on an annual basis. It is taken out of the ground for Christmas and then replaced afterwards. Some families have hired the same tree for years and given it a name!
Alternatively, why not try a wooden tree? There are some beautiful and sustainable trees available, made from reclaimed wood.
We all end up with leftovers at Christmas but the key is to ensure we don’t buy too much in the first place, and then that we make sure to use up any leftover food. Perhaps have a list of recipes ready to help you utilise the contents of your fridge and consider freezing food as well. At a time where the price of food is rising rapidly, it’s a great opportunity to stock up the freezer. You could make a pie, a curry or perhaps a nice portion of bubble n squeak? Take a look here for some ideas.
Despite all of this, there is one way that we could collectively reduce our carbon footprint and that is by buying less. With the cost-of-living crisis looming, many people are scaling back their Christmas spend this year. Buying less means less packaging and less waste which, in turn, is better for our planet.
Better still, if you're stuck for a gift idea for someone, why not make a donation and support our efforts at PeCAN to decarbonise Petersfield. Please donate here.