Top tips for a greener Christmas
The Christmas season is upon us again and what a wonderful and beautiful season it is to celebrate. With the frosty snowy winter solstice, the warm open fires, the red berries of the holly and white of the mistletoe, delicious food and the coming together with family and friends. Don’t let the consumer fest of Christmas become a stressful time for you or the planet as it struggles to cope with more landfill waste in unwanted gifts, wrapping and festering food. Here are a few tips to evoke the spirit of Christmas and at the same time, take the strain off the planet by cutting down on waste.
Decorations, wrapping and cards
Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and cards create the equivalent of paper waste to 5–12 million litres of biofuel, so why not decorate your home and celebrate the season by bringing in some sprigs of holly and evergreens carefully cut from your garden or a walk in the surrounding countryside. Log fires and candles also create a warm festive glow and you can make your own wreathes for the door as they’re not difficult and are fun to do. Candles made from beeswax or vegetable based wax are more eco-friendly as they biodegrade and are smoke free. Recycle your wrapping paper or use newspaper, magazine pages or cloth, made seasonal with homemade gift tags, ribbons and sparkles. If you buy wrapping paper choose environmentally friendly paper and avoid metallic or glossy wrapping paper as it’s difficult to recycle. Remember to save special gift wrap, ribbons and bows for another time. If we recycled half of the 8,000 tonnes of waste wrapping paper produced, we would save 25,000 trees 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away in the UK every year. Making your own Christmas cards is a fun way to send your greetings. Get some old cards and cut out different images such as a robin or a deer, sticking them onto a piece of folded card and adding a little sparkle and a few words. Also you can, of course, send free e-cards which use no paper at all. If you prefer to buy cards then you can look for eco-friendly Christmas cards.
The evergreen tree is the symbol of life in the mid winter and has been used to celebrate winter festivals (Christian and Pagan) for thousands of years. It reminds people of the Spring to come. If you want an Eco friendly real tree then make sure your tree is bought from a retailer registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association or if you buy a small potted tree with roots you can use it again each year. Just be sure you know how to care for these trees in pots. If you buy an organic tree certified by the Soil Association then no pesticides will have been used during growing. There are also companies all over the UK where you can rent a living tree.
If you buy a cut tree make sure that it doesn’t end up in landfill. Local councils now compost them so you can find your local Christmas tree recycling point. If you already have an artificial tree then use it for as many years as possible or find a pre-loved one on line.
Meat consumption is the single largest contributor to every environmental ill known to human kind. From astoundingly high methane emissions, deforestation, land use, water scarcity, destabalisation of communities, world hunger and mass extinction of species. If you are a family of meat eaters then make sure your meat is locally sourced and organic. Support greener and smaller-scale farming methods. Otherwise make a wonderful nut roast which is tasty and packed with protein or look online for hundreds of fantastic vegetarian or vegan recipes, including vegan brandy butter. Use your leftovers rather than waste them, with ideas such as bubble and squeak or turkey pie. Choose food that is light on packaging or loose such as bought from a local market. If you have too much food then you can donate to an elderly neighbour, food bank or soup kitchen. Remember to buy no products by [Monsanto Owned ‘Food’ Producers](http://www.trueactivist.com/printable-list-of-monsanto- owned-food-producers/) and click on the printable list to take shopping with you. You’ll be surprised by some of the names on there. Remember when shopping to take your own re-usable bags.
Treat yourself and the planet by switching to Good Energy for a green and sustainable electricity source. Reduce the size of your outdoor lighting displays. Use LED lights for your tree and house lighting as they use up to 95% less energy. ... and remember to turn off all fairy lights at night.