Tis’ the season for comfort food, watching reruns of Love Actually and endless hours roaming around the shops for the best gifts. Although Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, it can also be one of the most wasteful, leaving a huge impact on the environment.
It’s not all doom and gloom, as there are ways you can prevent the festive waste and do your bit to help out the planet. From shopping habits, gift ideas to getting creative, being more sustainable at Christmas time is exciting - and can make the time of year even more magical, knowing you’re doing good for the environment.
Glistening fairy lights, homemade wooden gifts and the lingering scent of waffles, Christmas markets are a must-visit for everyone. Whether you’re visiting the markets for a browse, or have a wild addiction for collecting snow globes, the markets offer more sustainable benefits than first meets the eye.
Christmas markets are a place which not only provides a festive experience, but also supports local businesses. Local businesses are typically more sustainable than global business as overall they have less of a harmful impact on the environment. Corporate businesses’ use of transportation (to deliver products to shops, to houses or to their many warehouses) contributes to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Local businesses however, offer a range of gifts which are homemade and sourced from local areas, reducing the costs of transportation. Supporting smaller businesses will also help boost community spirit, help the local economy and know your product comes from someone’s heart rather than helping a huge corporation grow.
The products at Christmas markets are also more sustainable than the items bought in store. You can find everything from homemade wooden trinkets (much better than using plastic), specialty chocolates to fresh food.
Whether you have a penchant for wrapping paper or love stealing your mum’s paper stash out to wrap your gifts, it’s important to be wary of where it comes from - and if it’s recyclable. A lot of paper sold at Christmas isn’t actually recyclable (especially if it has glitter on.) Tape and ribbon also can’t be recycled - which means all of that waste will end up in landfill.
There are alternatives to prevent the wrapping paper waste and that means investing in FSC certified paper, newspaper or bog-standard brown paper. All of these can be recycled and reused again. Just make sure you remove all decorations before recycling FSC paper!
Christmas cards are a tradition everyone likes to send, however, they can be adding to unnecessary waste in our landfills. In fact, the UK uses 300,000 tonnes of card packaging at Christmas time - that’s nearly the weight of the Empire State Building! Cards don’t necessarily need to be bought, you can make them by hand or send them virtually via email - they’ll still offer that festive cheer. Or, if you really want to stick to tradition, you can purchase cards out of recyclable materials which can be recycled again.
Although Christmas is meant to be a time for family and friends, a huge focus is on gifts and giving. If you’re stuck on what to buy and actively trying to be more sustainable, we’ve got you covered with these gift ideas.
Adopting an animal/supporting a charity - Christmas is a time for giving and that can be giving back to the environment. Instead of a usual shop-bought gift, adopt an animal for one of your loved ones. They’ll receive updates of the animal and have the ease of knowing they’re helping an endangered species - and supporting a charity.
Sustainable trips - The world is your oyster and adventures are there to be had. Rather than offering things this Christmas time, book your family and friends, trips or experiences. It’ll give them a different insight to what life is all about and have a positive impact on the environment - and reduce the amount of waste. There are plenty of different trip ideas to think of from a volunteering experience at an animal sanctuary or a night in a treehouse.
Homemade presents - When it comes to presents, it’s all about the thought behind it and that’s why homemade gifts can be so charming. Whether it’s baking a batch of brownies, making jam/chutney or creating a movie night in hamper - it’ll be a fun way to do Christmas, and can help the environment as well.
Eco-friendly starter kit - To spread the joy of living a waste-free life, why not purchase some of your family and friends a kit to get them started? There are plenty of eco-friendly and natural products on the market that you wouldn’t have any trouble finding what to buy. Think reusable items such as travel mugs, water bottles, steel lunch boxes, travel cutlery, soap bars, bamboo toothbrushes, vegan makeup and organic clothing.
Nothing at all - As Christmas really is the most wasteful time of year, then what’s better than not buying any gifts at all? It doesn’t mean you’re a scrooge - as Christmas really is a time for your loved ones. Spend that extra time with them playing games, going for walks and enjoying each other’s company to experience the true meaning of the festive period.
If you’ve got a festive trip planned, we’ve got you covered with our single trip policy.
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