Have an eco-Christmas!

Reduce your carbon footprint this season without skimping on Christmas magic. Here are a few tips to help you have a more sustainable, greener Christmas, to help our environment.

Christmas decorations

Almost everyone has a battered box of treasured Christmas decorations - make the most of what you have and don’t throw them out unless you have to! If you want to add something new, make sure you think first.

  • Avoid tinsel and glitter. Those little bits that end up sprinkled all over the house are plastic. Why not have a go at making your own decorations? How about some bunting, origami or pinecone decorations? Get the children involved too, and keep their masterpieces to embarrass them when you insist on still getting them out every year!
Christmas tree
  • Reuse your Christmas tree, buy a pre-loved fake one instead of a new one or you could rent a tree! These trees are grown in special pots that can be dug up and replanted year after year. Make sure it is grown sustainably first.
  • Look after a real tree. Growing trees is always great but transporting and disposing of them isn't good for the environment. So look after your tree and reuse it year after year.
  • Get creative for nature. You could make your very own wreath that’ll feed the birds as well as looking great! Read how to do this here.
  • Turn off your Christmas lights overnight and when you are out the house to save energy. Are those outside lights really necessary? If you really can’t live without them, solar powered ones are available.
Christmas wreath
  • Turn down your heating a notch or two and save money as well as the planet – it gives you a reason to wear that special Christmas jumper!
  • Avoid buying Christmas crackers which contain plastic toys. Instead make your own using toilet roll tubes and reused wrapping paper. You can buy the snaps to put inside, and have fun making up dreadful jokes.
  • Make your own natural table decorations – holly, ivy, small cones and a bit of red ribbon looks fantastically festive.

Wrap it up!

Choosing the gift is just the beginning – think before you wrap it up:

Christmas presents
  • Shiny wrapping paper is pretty, but it’s not recyclable! The same goes for glittery paper. Use brown paper for a lovely vintage look.
  • Avoid plastic adhesive tape. You can get brown paper tape, or get creative with some ribbon or string. Better yet, go for a reusable option like a box, bag, or cloth. 
  • Don’t forget your Christmas cards either – the same rules go for glittery and shiny cards. Have a go at making your own! (Bonus points for recycling last year's cards!)
  • Save any Christmas cards and cut them up to use as tags for next year.

Food

Wasting food squanders all the resources that went into producing it – everything has a carbon footprint. Christmas can be a particularly wasteful time.

  • Don't buy too much. Plan meals so you know how much food you'll need.
  • Compost vegetable waste. Shropshire Council also collects food waste in the garden waste bin. Read more here.
  • Eat your leftovers. Some of the tastiest meals are made from yesterday's food. Mum used to make a truly splendid leftover pie!
  • Cut down on meat. Meat has a big carbon footprint so try out some vegetarian or vegan alternatives. You could try buying less meat but sourcing it from an organic farm shop near to where you live.

Planet friendly gifts

  • Look out for gifts that come with as little packaging as possible, or at least some you can recycle.
  • Why not put together a zero-waste kit? Think about including things like a portable cup, a biodegradable lunchbox, a shopping bag or some wax food wraps.
  • Make something yourself – a treat from the kitchen or a handicraft.  Such a personal gift is priceless.
  • Buy sustainable products. Look for things made from British wool, wood from sustainable sources, organic cotton...

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