Christmas is right around the corner and preparations in full swing. But whilst it may be the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is not always the most environmentally friendly – so have you considered having a more sustainable Christmas?
From gifts, to food and decorations, Christmas is all about excessive consumption. Whilst that’s not necessarily bad for the economy, in just three days of festivities, the average person can be responsible for the same level of carbon emissions as taking a flight from the UK to the US. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some top tips for a sustainable Christmas and a few ways you can have a greener, yet still ever-so jolly holiday season.
Choose gifts that last
It can be easy to panic buy at Christmas time but often gag gifts and stocking fillers for Secret Santa can end up in the bin. A gift with value, meaning and purpose that will be treasured and reused is the kindest choice to both the environment and your loved one. Furthermore, why not buy one, extra special present instead to reduce waste? A sustainable Christmas could be a more meaningful one, afterall.
Avoid single use plastic and give a miss to the traditional Christmas crackers on the table. Most crackers and their contents cannot be recycled yet end up in the bin the same day. Instead, look for sustainable Christmas crackers and decorations or simply dress your table with homemade party favours in their place.
When buying new decorations for your tree, choose handmade items using wool, wood, rattan, hemp, and recycled leather. Quality decorations can become family heirlooms that are passed down through the generations.
Choose handmade gifts and shop locally
Another great way to help the environment – and save money in the process – is to make your own gifts. Consider handmade gifts such as food, hand-sown or knitted clothing, or perhaps paint a unique piece of art. Alternatively, if you are not artistically inclined or a dab hand in the kitchen, why not shop locally? Supporting local businesses will mean you’re likely to find a unique gift you won’t find anywhere else meaning your recipient is likely to not already have it or to be gifted the same item twice.
Many small businesses have a lower environmental impact in comparison to large corporations as many may use upcycled materials and are usually cruelty-free. Supporting local businesses helps boost a strong, sustainable local economy.
Find an alternative Christmas tree
If you prefer to buy a real Christmas tree, make sure they are sustainably sourced and investigate donating for trees being replanted too. Once you’ve finished with your tree, your local government will have information on how to recycle the tree. Alternatively, you can opt for a local charity who will do it for you. Remember – never dump your tree in landfill. Whilst real trees seem the most eco-friendly option, it can have a big impact on land use and emissions.
Artificial trees, despite their immediate environmental impact, may actually be the best option. Quality artificial trees can usually keep and reuse it for at least ten years.
Go paperless & send e-cards
According to research, a whopping 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by UK households alone in the post-Christmas period. That’s a lot of wasted paper! And glittery cards (which are in abundance at Christmas time) are non-recyclable due to their plastic contents.
If you can’t find cards suitable for recycling, try sending an e-card instead. There are ample free design sites that allow you to create the perfect online festive greeting. The same can also be said for gift vouchers. Instead of purchasing your loved one a plastic gift voucher, why not cut down on waste and opt for a e-gift card instead? Shop Ionian Kind e-gift cards here.
Recycle your wrapping paper
Sticky tape, ribbons and paper covered in glitter cannot be recycled so they are best avoided completely. Switching to brown paper is the best option – it can be recycled or repurposed once your loved one has unwrapped their special gift. When decorated with twine and suitable ribbon, brown paper gifts have a beautiful, retro feel. More great options are gift bags that are reused time and again, or wrapping gifts in fabric. Fabric scraps are easy to come by and can be reused year after year.
Go meat free
If you’re looking to help the environment, one of the major moves you can make is opting for meat free meals. The meat and dairy industry is responsible for more emissions than all the world’s planes, trains, cars and boats combined.
Whilst we know turkey is the traditional centrepiece for Christmas meals, there are many brilliant alternatives that are cruelty free and good for the planet. If going completely plant based isn’t possible for you, cut down on meat and dairy trimmings and look for products that are ethically and sustainably sourced. When it comes to vegetables, opt for seasonal and local to cut down on your transport emissions too. Better still, why not create your own vegetable patch in your garden and harvest your Christmas dinner from your own back yard. When doing your Christmas food shopping be mindful of food waste too. Try to avoid overbuying and check the expiration dates on everything.
At Ionian Kind, we recognise the importance of sustainability and shopping locally. That’s why we work closely with ethical brands to reduce waste and promote quality, artisan products from local Corfu businesses. You can learn more about our ethics and values on our About Us page.