Have an Eco-Friendly Christmas
It’s that time of year again! Mariah Carey on the radio, mince pies by the dozen… but for a nation – and planet – trying to cut down where we can, how do we avoid the inevitable tidal wave of plastic gadgets, toys and decor? With retail giants such as Tesco and Dunelm adopting more of an ethical approach to Christmas in recent years, it’s no surprise that more businesses and individuals look at following suit and are seeking new ways to be less wasteful this Christmas.
There are plenty of positive steps we can take at Christmas to be less wasteful without cutting down on festive cheer. According to the UK Governments Waste Advisory Body ‘WRAP’:
- Brits typically throw away 2 million turkeys every Christmas
- We travel a combined 6 billion miles around the UK to visit loved ones during the Christmas season
- 100 million bags of rubbish are sent to landfill each Christmas
- In the UK, 5 million Christmas puddings and 74 million mince pies are thrown in the bin
- We consume 108 million rolls of wrapping paper, and 500 tonnes of Christmas lights are thrown away each year in the UK
- Every Christmas, we cut down 8 million trees to be used as UK Christmas trees
- We throw away huge volumes of food packaging each Christmas, including 300 million single-use plastic cups and over 125,000 tonnes of plastic food packaging.
In their bid to lessen the impact of single-use plastics, Tesco made the following changes for Christmas 2020 by removing over 20 million pieces of plastic from their Christmas range.
- Making their private label crackers 100% plastic-free resulted in a reduction of nearly 14 million pieces of plastic from the seasonal collection.
- 312,000 Christmas lights were sold in recyclable cardboard packaging.
- Packs of Christmas cards are now free from plastic: multipacks of cards are now sold in a recyclable cardboard box – a decision which saves 4.6 million pieces of plastic a year.
- A layer of plastic was removed from Christmas puddings and sponges – that’s 1.78 million pieces of plastic.
What can smaller businesses do to be more eco-conscious this year?
Whether for personal use or as a business, eco-friendly packaging is a top option, especially at Christmas. Choosing eco-friendly packaging directly reduces your carbon footprint, thus keeping your business on track towards the global net-zero mission and lessening our impact on the environment. Eco-friendly packaging is easily disposable, versatile, biodegradable and can easily be reused or recycled. As well as being the best for the planet, eco-friendly packaging is the best for brand image – whether personal or business, the message is simple: we care about the future.
Countless fruit and vegetables are imported from around the world due to a lack of awareness of what is in season. You can help the environment by purchasing seasonal produce from local farms and greengrocers – this reduces your air miles whilst also supporting local communities to thrive.
Low-impact decorations and eco-lighting
The vast majority of Christmas decorations are mass-produced, plastic and shipped around the world. Here, the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ motto stands strong. Keep and reuse your decorations year after year; buy pre-loved or have fun creating your own. If you are looking to buy new Christmas lights, opt for LEDs. They use 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer, and when you find those perfect LEDs, reuse them year after year. A benefit to both the environment and your wallet! If you’re looking to brighten up the outdoors this winter, solar lights provide a great alternative for outdoor lighting- simple, convenient and no wiring involved.
We can all do our bit for the environment this season, whether shopping locally, buying pre-loved, reusing decorations or choosing eco-friendly alternatives. Have fun and get creative with new ways to make Christmas both memorable and sustainable for years to come.