Christmas is one of the most joyful times of the year. But it’s also one of the most wasteful with millions of unwanted presents, the bulk food buying and all those single-use items.
Of course, there are easy ways to be more sustainable at Christmas, but not wrapping your mums present seems a bit mean and only The Grinch would tell you not to put a Christmas Tree up. So how can you be more sustainable while keeping to those Christmas traditions?
In the UK, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away each year. Not only does it take a forest the size of Wales to produce all this but the paper is often covered in things that can’t be recycled, like glitter!
But that’s the bad news - let’s talk about ways we can work around this issue.
- Buy wrapping paper made from recycled paper, that is recyclable (that was a mouthful) - There’s seen lots of planet-friendly options when out and about - even Amazon! We also love this adorable option from Paperchase and these compostable options from Re-wrapped
- Looking for a super budget-friendly option where you can also show your creative side - just buy plain brown paper! It’s super cheap for the Post Office and the best part is, you don’t even need gift tags.
- Keep gift bags and re-use them every year. If the same bottle gift bag hasn’t made it around your entire friendship group, is it really Christmas?
- Cut up Christmas cards from previous years and use them as gift tags.
- The last thing to remember - traditional sticky tape is also not recyclable. Well, now there’s a solution to that too!
It’s time for the age-old debate - real or fake? Which one is better for the environment? Well, the short answer is real if they’re disposed of in a sensible manner. If you have a real tree and chuck it in a landfill in January, that has a carbon footprint of around 16kg of Co2. But if you have a real tree and burn it, replant it or have it chipped at the end of Christmas, that has a carbon footprint of 3.5kg of Co2 - that’s four and a half times lower!
If you’re not sure how to get rid of your tree responsibly, your local council normally have information online to help out. But more exciting than all of that, if you live in or around London, Fussy can pick up your Christmas Tree and turn it into deodorant (yes you read that right) You can read more about our Christmas Tree deodorants here just drop an email to SaveMyChristmasTree@getfussy.com if you’d like us to pick up your tree!
And how does a fake tree compare? Well creating one of these has a carbon footprint of around 40kg of Co2 and you would need to keep it for 10+ years for the carbon footprint to equal that of a properly disposed of real tree. So if you’ve already got one at home, keep using it and try to make it last.
Everyone’s favourite part of Christmas - the food. But food waste is a huge problem every Christmas - in the UK 5 million Christmas puddings, 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies every single year. So, how can we move away from all this extra food?
- Plan out what food you need for who is coming round for Christmas and only buy what you’ve planned. If nobody at the table likes brussel sprouts - just don’t buy them! Buy loose packaged fruit and veg. All supermarkets let you bring your own bags in now, so rather than bulk buying carrots, just get the amount you need.
- Shop local where you can - this is an especially good tip for meat. Meat from a local butcher in your town will have a lot smaller carbon footprint than that from the big supermarket
- Switch from cling film and tin foil to reusable Tupperware, jars and food bags - this really helps reduce single-use waste.
- Freeze what you can. Lots of Christmas food can be frozen to be enjoyed at a later date, and let’s be honest, what’s better than leftover pigs in blankets on a January weeknight?
The pressure from fast fashion brands to make you feel you need something new for every special occasion grows year on year, and it can be hard to ignore. Why would you want to wear something from the back of your wardrobe when you can buy a shiny new dress with next day delivery. But fast fashion is one of the leading polluters in the world, and the more small changes we all make to our shopping habits, the bigger the difference will be.
If there’s something in your wardrobe that has never quite fitted right or is missing a few buttons, pull it out and give it a fix! The newly launched app Sojo helps you find people in your local area how can alter and repair your clothes so you can give them a new lease of life.
And if you still feel you’d like something new for the party season (don’t worry, we feel you!) then there are so many options for clothes hiring services like Onloan, Rotation, Hurr and even Selfridges!
Enjoy Your Christmas
Sustainability can seem scary when you’re new to it, especially around the festive season. Christmas should be a time to enjoy yourself - so yes the most sustainable thing might be to not wrap your presents or buy a tree, but really, that’s no fun! If we all make the effort to make small changes to our behaviour at Christmas, they can add up to big changes for the planet.