You don’t have to be an eco-warrior to play your part when it comes to helping the environment.
Whether you’re a homeowner, a landlord or renting, we all have a role to play and what better place to start doing your bit than Christmas?
While Christmas this year is looking like it will be slightly different to what we’re all used to, there are a huge number of things we can all do to have a more sustainable, eco-friendly Christmas break…
How to have an eco-friendly Christmas
The countdown to Christmas is on and while the coronavirus pandemic means ongoing uncertainty about what we’ll be able to do and who we’ll be able to see, these 10 tips can help ensure you’re enjoying an eco-friendly festive break…
1 Grab yourself an eco-friendly Christmas tree
The debate over real Christmas trees versus fake ones has been raging for years.
And while which looks best is a matter of opinion, both real and artificial trees can have a major impact on the environment.
If you’re looking to buy a real tree, make sure it has Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
This means it’s been sourced and grown in a responsible and sustainable way that’s economically viable.
When it comes to disposing of your tree after the celebrations, either take it to your local recycling centre or leave it for your council to collect if they are running a tree recycling scheme.
If you prefer an artificial tree and don’t already have one, consider buying a used one from eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.
If you’re still insistent on buying a new fake tree, pick one that will last so you can use it for many years.
Cheap artificial trees that need replacing after only a handful of uses more often than not end up in landfill.
2 Put up eco-friendly Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations are very much a matter of taste.
But when it comes to sourcing eco-friendly decorations, there are a whole host of options and classic designs to choose from.
As a rule, avoid plastic or PVC decorations that can’t be recycled once they’ve served their purpose.
Try to look for:
- Decorations made from recycled wood, or glass
- Classic design options that will last and stay on trend for many years
- Candles made from beeswax or soy rather than paraffin
3 Hang an eco-friendly Christmas wreath on your front door
While eco-friendly Christmas wreaths are becoming more and more popular to buy, why not get your creative juices flowing and make one yourself?
Here’s what you’ll need to create a perfect wreath that’s completely plastic-free:
- A metal coat-hanger
- Plenty of foraged foliage
- Dried orange slices
Simply form your coat hanger into a circle and wrap pieces of foliage around it, building it up as you go.
Fix in place with twine and add some of the dried orange and ribbon for extra colour.
4 Wrap your gifts in eco-friendly paper
Wrapping paper is a key staple of any Christmas.
But much of it is un-recyclable and contains everything from foil and glitter to plastic and PVC.
If you’re unsure whether your wrapping paper can be recycled, scrunch it up – if it stays scrunched then it’s probably recyclable, but if it unfolds itself, it’s more likely that it’s been made with non-recyclable materials.
5 Send eco-conscious Christmas cards
Like wrapping paper, some Christmas cards are recyclable, and others aren’t.
Of course, the best way to ensure you’re not adding to the mountains of Christmas cards that end up in landfill every year is to send a virtual card online, or even make a charity donation in lieu of a card.
But if you still want to post a card out to relatives and friends, keep an eye out for cards that carry the FSC logo, as these will have been produced sustainably.
The prices of many cards also include a charitable donation, so not only will you be eco-friendly, you’ll also be helping a good cause, too.
6 Keep your presents eco-friendly
Of course, we all want to buy presents for the people we love.
But unfortunately, much of what we buy can end up in landfill.
Rather than buying lots of small gifts, consider spending your budget on one or two things that will last and can be used for many years.
You could also try a Secret Santa arrangement with family, where each person buys one gift for one other at a set price.
7 Be sustainable with your Christmas dinner
While this year’s Christmas celebrations may see us limited when it comes to the number of friends or family we can entertain, it’s still possible to get carried away when it comes to buying food and drink.
That means a lot of food can go to waste.
Try to plan well in advance so you can ensure you only buy the amount of food you need.
But if you do find you have some left over, be creative with it rather than throwing it away:
- Use leftover meats or vegetables to create a creamy curry, or have cold meats and bubble and squeak on Boxing Day
- Make a tasty pasta dish using leftover cheese and cream
- Take any leftover food to your local foodbank
8 Buy LED Christmas lighting
If you’re not using LED lighting for your Christmas tree and decorations this year, now’s the time to change that.
LEDs use up to 75% less energy than standard lights and last longer, too, meaning they’ll keep twinkling for years to come.
They’re just as bright as standard lights so you won’t even notice the difference, but your energy bills and the environment definitely will.
9 Go organic with the wine (and spirits)
Enjoying a tipple or two is all part of Christmas but going organic can mean you’re also doing your bit for the environment.
Organic wine and spirits mean less impact on the environment from fertiliser and pesticides.
However, despite suggestions to the contrary, organic wine doesn’t lessen your hangover the next morning.
10 Get a reusable advent calendar
The build-up to Christmas is one of the most exciting parts for children and counting down the days until December 25 with an advent calendar is real festive tradition.
However, buying an advent calendar every year will have an impact on the environment, so now’s the time to consider a reusable one.
Many reusable calendars are made from wood and you can fill the drawers with whatever you like year after year.
If you’re looking to take that first step on to the property ladder in 2021, take a look at these great first-time buyer hotspots.