Christmas is the most magical time of the year, and due to the misery of COVID, for many Christmas is arriving early. What most people don’t realise is that over the festive period the UK creates 30 per cent more waste than usual. But what if I told you that with some minor changes this didn’t have to be the case?
Here are 5 simple ways, you could have a more eco-friendly Christmas.
1. Christmas lights.
Adding Christmas lights to your home is the perfect way to spread the festive spirit. Whether you are choosing to go for simplicity or to Deck the halls, knowing how to make your display more environmentally friendly is a must!
According to BC Hydro, traditional Christmas lights, known as incandescent, are inefficient. In fact, only 10 percent of the energy used by each bulb is used to produce light. The rest is lost as heat. LED lights, are a great festive alternative, as they are more energy efficient and last longer. While incandescent Christmas lights will burnout after 2,000 hours of use, the average LED Christmas light lasts for over 4,000 hrs. To save even further, make sure you are shopping for the lowest wattage. You can find lights with a wattage as low as 0.01kW. Not only can you reduce your environmental impact but you can also save on your electricity bill too! It’s a win, win situation.
DID YOU KNOW: Using incandescent bulbs as opposed to LEDs costs the UK an incredible £13 million extra a year in energy bills!
Setting a Timer
If you’re anywhere near as forgetful as me, a timer is a great investment. This way you can set your lights to turn on and off automatically throughout the day. Timers are commonly found in hardware stores. To make sure you maximise your savings, partner your timer with a smart plug. This way your appliances won’t drain power whilst being left on standby mode. They are convenient, cost-effective and great all year round too!
For outdoor Christmas lights, solar-powered LEDs are a great eco friendly solution. Even during the winter, the solar cells will collect enough solar energy during the day, to power your festive decor at night. Solar-powered lights are low maintenance and come in a variety of colours and Christmas styles. Simply just take a look on Amazon.
2. Choose Your Wrapping up paper more sustainably
Wrapping Christmas presents. You either love it or hate it. But either way there is no need for it to be as wasteful as it currently is in the UK. In fact, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away every year. That’s enough to wrap around the equator 9 times! But don’t worry, here are some eco-friendly stylish alternatives.
Recycled Brown wrapping paper.
Brown paper is a great eco friendly alternative. It can be easily dressed up with ribbons, stamps, and even drawings. It is an entirely blank canvas. This means it can also make for a fun family project. Here are some creative examples we found on Pinterest!
Christmas gifts boxes
You can now buy Christmas gifts boxes dedicated to presents. These are great because they are reusable, and can be personalised. They are often made from wooden crates or cardboard, and make for great storage boxes after.
Fabric Gift Bags
Fabric gift bags are another great re-useable alternative. They are perfect for awkwardly shaped presents, and come in great variety of sizes and colours. What is even greater is if you can sew, you can make them yourself! These types of bags are perfect for storage and can even be reused the following year.
3. Choose Eco-friendly Christmas cards.
Sending Christmas Cards, although a festive tradition, is also very wasteful. In fact, 1 billion cards a year end up in the bin, when they could be recycled!
With the increase awareness of the need to live more sustainably. Recycled cards are no longer so hard to find. Just make sure you check the back, before you decide which Christmas set to purchase. As that’s where the true beauty lies. For example, Little Difference, plant 1 tree for every card made. They also use bio-degradeable and recycled materials.
Electronic Christmas cards
Electronic or e-cards are also becoming more popular. They are especially great, as they will save you money on both stamps and envelopes, as well as sending some personalised Christmas joy. From animated penguins, to singing elfs, the designs are limitless.
DontSendmeaCard.com are a great example. They are partnered with several charities too, for example Shelter, Dog’s Trust, and The Salvation Army, so that part of your purchase acts as a donation. They also make it really easy for you to monitor your carbon savings and total donations. Other worthy e-card mentions are Macmillan, Card Aid and Marie Curie.
4. Make space for the new by donating the old.
For many homes, who will be receiving new toys and gifts this Christmas. It is the perfect time for some decluttering. With an increase in redundancies this year in the UK, giving to those who are less fortune, has never been so important. As Christmas is a time for giving, it is the perfect time to donate! You can simply drop some items off at your local Charity shops, or maybe you know a family in particular who are in need. By planning ahead, you won’t be flooded with new gifts on Christmas day with no space to put them.
5. Less is more but still tasty!
There is almost 270,000 tons of food that goes to waste throughout the Christmas period. With 74 million mince pies getting thrown out alone. All whilst still being edible!
Many factors play a part here. Supermarkets putting discounts up, the fear of not having enough. But enough is enough. This year we urge people to buy more considerately. Plan your consumption more wisely. And any lefts overs why not donate to a food bank, or maybe a neighbour? Even local supermarkets have donation boxes now. There is no need to let food go to waste. If anything, Christmas is a great time to start experimenting with your baking.
Make Your Christmas Merry & Green
Christmas can be an expensive time of year, but by making small eco-friendly changes you can make a saving, as well as an environmental impact. If you are looking at more ways to become green, make sure to read our blog post “10 Green New Year Resolutions”. After all, green habits aren’t just for Christmas!
If you learnt something new from this post, make sure to share it amongst your friends and family.