Responsible Consumption and Production

Have a Very Environmentally-Merry Christmas!

From buying Christmas trees and presents, to food waste and travel – we look at the ecological damage caused by the Christmas period, and how to avoid it...

A 2007 report by researchers at the University of York reported that every single person in the UK could be responsible for as much as 650kg of carbon dioxide emissions over just 3 days between the 24th and 26th of December. Additionally, according to a more recent report by the Carbon Trust, ‘live’ Christmas trees have a carbon footprint of 16kg of CO2 emissions and artificial trees a footprint of 40kg of CO2 emissions. Based on a Global Warming Potential Report, the amount of wrapping paper used in the UK during the Christmas period is equivalent to 33 million trees.

There’s no doubt that the Christmas period contributes to the climate change crisis. However, that certainly doesn’t mean Christmas is cancelled. To reduce your Christmas carbon footprint this year, ask the question: “how can I reuse, recycle or reduce?”

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Cut out old Christmas cards and make your own giftcards (and avoid envelope waste!)
  • Wrap presents with reusable or recyclable wrapping paper, old newspapers, magazines, or even gift bags, which can be reused and repurposed
  • Planning to throw away any old clothes? Unpiece the fabric to wrap your gifts. Use string to tie up the loose ends
  • Opt for plastic-free crackers, or even better, make your own using paper, string and homemade gifts!
  • Reuse packaging from any deliveries or post you receive
  • For gift ideas, shop locally for eco-friendly items such as reusable water bottles, coffee cups or food wrap, bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, or second-hand gift items. You could even have a go at upcycling something of your own!
  • Gift a plant! They help to clean the air and reduce stress
  • Remember to turn off your twinkly lights when you leave the room. Not only will this save on electricity, lights are a big health and safety hazzard over the Christmas period.
  • In these Covid-19 times, we have to select our ‘Christmas bubble’ carefully… make sure to do the same for your Christmas dinner! You may be cooking for a lot less family members than normal, so be sure to reduce your food purchases accordingly and buy only what you need.
  • Use up your Christmas leftovers! Get creative with that leftover veg and find something delicious to make online, such as bubble and squeak, spanish omlettes or a good old fashioned turkey sandwich!
  • Donate unwanted gifts to those in need. Local charities and refuges regularly publish calls for gifts online and across social media, and some companies, such as Dunelm, are running ‘Trees of Joy‘ campaigns for people living in refuges, residential children’s homes and nursing homes with no family around them.
  • Do you have lots of spare tins and dry goods in your cupboards? Consider a reverse advent calendar! Rather than purchasing a new cardboard calendar filled with chocolate, why not set up a crate in your kitchen and each day donate a new food item instead of opening a door? At the end of the month, take your crate to your local Foodbank!
Posted by Iona Chichester 8 December 2020

Related posts

How to Get Involved

Have you been inspired by our featured changemakers? Would you like to learn more, collaborate with others or discover how you can train in an environmental career?

Select from one of the options to find more information and start your journey as a Planetary Person!