How To Have An Eco Friendly Christmas

Christmas is a lovely time of the year. But it’s easy to forget what a huge effect all of our waste can have on the environment. Whether it is hundreds of holiday cards, excessive wrapping paper, or not properly disposing of our decorations, there are plenty of things we could all do a little bit better. Fortunately, there are some simple steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprint this Christmas.

Cut down on cards & presents

According to the Greeting Card Association, the UK public spent £1.7 billion on greeting cards in 2017. Not only does this massively increase the number of delivery vans travelling around the country, but it also means millions of cards will end up in landfill, creating a double whammy problem for the environment. Kill two birds with one environmental stone this year and ditch the physical cards in favour of e-cards. Novelty presents that may only be used for a couple of days should also be avoided as will end up in landfill pretty quickly. Hand made, antique, experiences or preloved gifts make great alternatives to plastic or nonrecyclable presents.

Get a real tree

As you might imagine, artificial Christmas trees have a much larger carbon footprint than real ones. Fake trees are generally made from unrecyclable plastics, which are produced using oil extracted from the ground, while the manufacturing process itself is a huge carbon emitter. According to the Carbon Trust, artificial trees generate 10 times more carbon emissions than real ones that are burned after use. While burning is certainly an option, there are many more eco-friendlier ways to get rid of your real Christmas tree, as outlined in this guide by Wyevale Garden Centres.

Upgrade your lights

If you still have some old incandescent Christmas lights knocking around in the attic, it could be time to get rid of them and upgrade to something more energy efficient. LED bulbs are not only brighter than their incandescent counterparts, but they also use far less energy, making them better for your wallet and the environment. While the individual cost savings may be small, This Is Money reports that, if everyone in the UK swapped just a single string of lights over the 12 Days of Christmas, it would save enough CO2 to fill 320,000 double decker buses.

Cut down on food waste

Overeating, excessive festive food packaging and huge amounts of food waste is also not great for the environment either. To be as green as possible, try and source your ingredients from local farmers and green grocers, and look out for organic and free-range products. Not only does this decrease the amount of carbon from delivery vans, it also means less packaging. Everyday Health have an excellent guide on how to cook in an environmentally-friendly way.

Wherever you go and whatever you do this holiday season, follow our four simple tips and you’ll be well on your way to having an eco-friendly Christmas.