Decorating your home with natural foliage and shopping secondhand are among the top ways to have an eco-friendly Christmas – without losing the magic.
Mounds of discarded present packaging, masses of uneaten food and waiting in traffic to do your Christmas shop mean it can be a struggle to be green, especially at this time of year.
But leading sustainability expert and N4Mummy blogger, Karen Maurice, has teamed up with cardboard campaign group, Beyond the Box, to make the holidays more sustainable.
Her suggestions include reusing old decorations year-on-year rather than buying new ones and keeping a reusable bag or cardboard box with you when shopping.
Other tips include using a timer switch so decorative lights only come on when it’s dark and reusing cardboard boxes to wrap larger presents, and recycling them afterwards.
The words of wisdom come after research by Beyond the Box found 62 per cent of adults think Christmas is bad for the planet.
As a result, the study of 2,000 people found 45 per cent intend to make this year their most sustainable Yuletide ever.
Karen Maurice said: “Christmas is never as green as we want it to be, but having a sustainable festive season is easier than you might think.
“I have some helpful pointers which are easy for everyone to replicate, to help make the whirlwind that is Christmas that little bit more eco-friendly.
“Just a few small changes can make a real difference.”
The study also found being sustainable is one of the biggest priorities for 38 per cent this Christmas.
More than a third intend to actively avoid plastic packaging, 30 per cent will use recyclable wrapping paper and 44 per cent plan to minimise food waste.
Around one in three will also do their best to avoid buying gifts which don’t come in recyclable packaging and the same number will check where the item was made.
Another three in 10 will only give presents which benefit or minimise impact to the planet in some way – for instance buying Fairtrade products or making donations to charity.
But a quarter of those polled don’t think it is actually possible to have a completely green Christmas – although 45 per cent disagree.
And three quarters believe everyone can make a difference – big or small – when it comes to having a sustainable festive period.
In fact, 57 per cent think an eco-friendly festive period would actually make the day more special – because it would be less materialistic.
As a result, half intend to encourage their friends, family and colleagues to take a stand and have a truly sustainable Christmas.
The study, carried out through OnePoll, also found half would like to see more eco-friendly products in shops, while the same number want more information on how to lead a sustainable lifestyle.
And a third believe local councils could help by expanding the range of household items they recycle.
Andy Barnetson, spokesman for Beyond the Box, said: “Over the festive season it’s more important than ever for households to prioritise recycling, particularly items like cardboard boxes, which can typically be recycled at least seven times.
“With a recycling rate of over 80 per cent, cardboard has the best recycling rate of any packaging material.
“To put this into perspective, this rate saves an area of cardboard the size of Greater London from landfill every four months.”
KAREN MAURICE’S TOP TIPS FOR A SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS:
- Use recyclable wrapping paper.
You can check if your wrapping paper is recyclable by doing ‘the scrunch test’ – simply scrunch a piece of the paper in the palm of your hand – if the paper remains ‘scrunched’ it is paper-based and widely recycled in the UK.
If the wrapping paper unfolds or springs back it cannot be recycled.
- Turn last year’s Christmas cards into this year’s present labels – and recycle them afterwards
- Don’t be afraid to give second-hand presents – a book you really loved reading, or a charity shop toy.
- Reuse cardboard delivery boxes to wrap larger presents, along with some ribbon for a festive touch – you can recycle the cardboard boxes and reuse the ribbon afterwards, too.
- Decorate your space with natural foliage, plus choose a real Christmas tree – they have less of a carbon footprint compared to a fake one.
You would have to reuse your artificial tree for 12 years to make it greener than a real tree.
- Reuse Christmas decorations year after year – and only buy a couple of new ones to replace any that are broken.
- Search second-hand boutiques for your Christmas party outfit and if you do need to buy new, then opt for natural fabrics that will biodegrade or fabrics that have been recycled.
- Reduce food waste by finding creative ways of using up your Christmas Turkey.
It tastes great as a curry, in a pie or even as part of a stir-fry.
- Take a reusable bag, tote or even cardboard box with you Christmas shopping to cut down on single use carriers.
- Set your Christmas lights up through a timer switch so they only come on as it gets dark outside and don’t run throughout the night.
This will not only cut down on energy usage but also help save £s off your energy bill!