How to stay sustainable this Christmas

Christmas is around the corner once again. And after so many missed out on seeing their families last year, this year’s celebrations will be memorable. But it is still important that we be aware of our impact on the Earth, even during Christmas dinner!

An enormous amount of waste goes to landfill during the festive period, as we wrap gifts and tuck into our Christmas meal. But there are many simple ways to make your day sustainable and fun.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can keep your environmental impact down while having fun this Christmas!

By Sophie Wyatt

Decorate sustainably

Decorations that are biodegradable could significantly reduce your Christmas carbon footprint. Instead of buying plastic baubles and tinsel, why not try making a dried fruit garland or gingerbread tree decorations? Not only will these unique decorations keep your house smelling amazing, you will also cut down on unnecessary waste that could be harmful to the environment. It’s also a great opportunity to get the whole family involved in a fun activity!

You can get most materials from your local high street. Wool, wood and recycled glass can be fashioned into festive ornaments. Sourcing materials in the local area means that there is no need to transport them, and less emissions as a result. You could also re-use last year’s decorations, or buy second hand.

Decorative lighting is also a Christmas holiday staple, but these lights can use up a lot of energy. Switching to LED lights, or switching them off when you leave the house or go to bed, will reduce your energy emissions considerably.

Cut down on meat

The UK carves around 10 million turkeys every Christmas. According to animal welfare society Humane Society International, a roast turkey dinner emits 23.5kg of CO₂e. This is equivalent to the emissions produced when a car makes a journey of 78.5 miles.

This doesn’t mean that you need to cut meat from your Christmas dinner entirely. But including more vegetable options could reduce your carbon footprint significantly. With so many vegetarian and vegan meat substitutes now available in the supermarkets, you’ll be spoilt for choice with delicious alternatives!

Choosing to buy local produce will also further reduce your carbon footprint. Shopping for food closer to home will help you to cut down on your travel emissions, as well as giving a much needed boost to the local economy.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

The UK produces over 3 million tonnes of waste during Christmas alone. Most of which will go to landfill, where it will produce high levels of methane gas and CO₂. Much of this waste consists of excessive amounts of wrapping paper.

Around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is discarded each year. If rolled out, this would wrap around the Earth nearly 10 times! If you do receive a gift that is wrapped in unrecyclable wrapping paper, try to open the gift carefully (we know it’s hard). You can then keep the paper and use it again next year! Also steer clear of gifts that use a large amount of unnecessary packaging.

We generate a huge volume of food waste and subsequent packaging at Christmas time. When shopping for your festive feast, try to only buy food that is needed, with as little packaging as possible. And get creative with your leftovers! Not only will this save you money and cut waste, it will also give you the chance to create a whole new delicious meal.

Sustainability is the best Christmas present that you could give to the planet this year. All it takes is some small efforts, and you can have an enjoyable and environmentally-friendly festive season.