Make your own Christmas cards
We Brits send an estimated 1.7 million Christmas cards each year, that’s the equivalent of 200,000 trees and around 1 million end up in the bin every year. I like to send recycled Christmas cards, or you can send e-cards – we love this site Jibjab for creating hilarious, personal animated cards. Feeling creative? You could make your own out of old Christmas cards, scraps of decorative wallpaper, recycled coloured card…the list is endless. Your family and friends will love the personal touch! Each year I recycle my Christmas cards by cutting them up to make gift tags for the next festive season and recycle any left-overs bits.
Natures own decorations
There’s a whole range of beautiful foliage growing naturally right outside your door. Instead of spending money on plastic, non-biodegradable decorations use real holly to deck your halls, collect fir cones and decorate fallen branches. Make Christmas decorations using cinnamon sticks, gingerbread men, holly, ivy, seasonal berries and evergreen to decorate your home. It will fill your home with that wonderful smell of Christmas and you can throw it all on the compost heap when you’ve finished. Use up scraps of material to make Christmas stars and angels to hang on the tree.
Buy an organic turkey
Each year 10 million turkeys are eaten at Christmas. Buying an organic turkey not only tastes better but includes many other healthy and ethical benefits too. Organic meat uses fewer chemicals, meaning a better choice for you and your family, it also means the farmers are exposed to less chemicals as well as the environment. If you can, buy locally. Many towns now host farmers markets at Christmas. Buying locally boosts rural jobs and supports local farmers, it is also much cheaper than buying organic from the supermarket too.
Choose a locally grown Christmas tree
Buy your Christmas tree from a small scale, sustainable grower/local forest and make sure it has Forest Stewardship Council accreditation. Preferably choose a tree with roots so that it can be re-planted and nurture your tree so you can use it year after year. If re-planting isn’t an option many local councils run tree recycling schemes, check with yours for more details.
Pick energy saving lights
Choose energy saving light bulbs and LEDs for your fairy lights this year. They last much longer and use 80-90% less power than conventional mini bulbs. Don’t forget to turn your lights off at the end of the night too. 100-string Christmas tree lights left on for 10 hours a day over the 12 days of Christmas produce enough carbon dioxide to inflate 60 balloons.
Cut down on the amount of wrapping paper you use each year, and save money by getting creative with what you have around the home. Wrap presents in old paper bags, grocery store bags, posters or glossy magazine pages and decorate with bows, ribbons or scraps of fabric. Cut up any unwanted jumpers or silk shirts to wrap around a bottle and finish with some ribbon. Wrap up small presents in a beautiful scarf and make it part of the gift. If you love traditional wrapping paper, buy recycled versions – most retailers now stock a recycled option.
Candles and table decorating
There’s nothing like the scent of cranberry, cinnamon and cloves at Christmas and opting for candles is a great way to fill your room with those scents. Turn out the lights and conserve energy too by lighting candles, but opt for the natural kind made of beeswax, vegetable or soy wax instead of paraffin which are petroleum based. To decorate your table at Christmas use recycled card for name place settings, and make place mats from old pieces of fabric cut into rectangular pieces and finished with brightly coloured ribbon. I like to decorate my table with pieces of real holly, dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks and home made candles
Essentially one of the most exciting (and expensive) parts of Christmas, but with a little thought and creativity gift giving doesn’t have to be outlandishly expensive or wasteful. Around three quarters of people in the UK admit to wasting £50 on unwanted presents each year. Do the peeps on your list really need more Christmas tat? Why not cook them a nice meal instead, offer a free night of babysitting or you could donate to a charity in their name. What cuter present to receive then adopting a polar bear or penguin for Christmas? You can do this through WWF and you’ll receive a cuddly toy, gift pack and regular updates on your adopted animal. Oxfam also offers packages that include buying enough safe water for 10 people in developing countries. Give longer lasting, quality made gifts like our fair trade, merino wool hand made socks, or bamboo and organic cotton t-shirts that last longer than conventional ones.
Instead of buying through-away cutlery, plastic plates and cups use actual crockery and real glasses, especially if you have an energy saving dishwasher. If you are using disposable plates pick recyclable paper not plastic or Styrofoam. Use tablecloths instead of throwaway ones and wash them in cool water to save energy, using an eco friendly detergent. If you’re dressing up for the Christmas party check out our range of glam party shoes, all eco friendly and vegan made, using recycled faux suede and leather. Then kick back and enjoy the party with a glass of (organic) champagne!
From wrapping paper to unwanted gifts, bottles, paper plates and trees, we throw away so much waste after Christmas. Pretty much everything can be recycled nowadays. Take a trip down to your local recycling bank and take any unwanted bottles, paper, trees and wood, and although these items are widely recognised as being recyclable, we don’t often know what to do with electrical goods. Every year, the amount of electrical waste created in the UK is enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over. Quantities of e-waste are greater at Christmas and with much of these ending up in landfill we should be concerned about these electrical components being buried under ground. Try Recycle Now for how and where to take your unwanted electricals.