The holiday season is fast approaching and for many this means showing our love and appreciation for those around us through giving gifts and cooking delicious meals. Equally, this season is an opportunity for us to be more intentional and prioritise our planet. The festive season generates 30% more waste compared to the rest of the year and around 100 million bags of trash and plastic packaging from gifts and food are sent to landfills every year (Matt Dobson 2021, via ,GWPGroup). Remaining mindful of our environment in a time where overconsumption comes to an all time high is super important, which is why we are here to give you tips on how you can have a greener christmas.
Many people enjoy giving and receiving physical gifts. The event of opening presents feels like the most Christmasy experience of all. But instead, try your hand at giving “experiences”, which can include tickets to a local theater, a pottery workshop or even a donation to a favourite charity or NGO – gifting an “impact” ( we love startups like everwave or charities that help the homeless such as Café Platform). If you do want to give something of substance, you could consider giving something that supports sustainable companies or that uses eco-friendly materials (p.s. check out our eco-friendly products here). Second hand shopping is another sustainable (and unique) alternative. And although to many this may feel like a “cheap” gift, giving is not about spending money, but rather about thinking of what the person you’re gifting would LOVE to use. You could become creative and upcycle or DIY a cool gift, whether it’s self made jewellery, sewing out of leftover fabric or vases for small flowers made from skincare bottles that you’ve painted – trust us, they will appreciate your efforts 😉
Every year, thousands of presents are wrapped in single use wrapping paper that is then simply disposed of. In fact, a study shows that British people alone bin what equates to 108 million rolls of Christmas wrapping paper (Matt Dobson 2021, via GWPGroup). Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled, as it is lined with plastic and therefore not biodegradable. Luckily, there are many alternatives, such as Pleased to Meet, who offer FSC certified wrapping paper or Ava & Yves, who offer recycled wrapping paper, both with very festive designs. We suggest wrapping presents in reusable material or things you already own such as kitchen towels, grocery bags and newspapers.
Gifts aren’t the only thing we need to be mindful of around this season. In fact, food is one of the most productive ways in which we can cut down our environmental footprint. Unilever emphasises that around 4.2 million Christmas dinners were wasted in the UK, fueled by our wasteful habits around this time. Around 10 million tonnes of turkey are cooked each christmas that are wrapped in 3000 tonnes of plastic wrapping ( Mark Hall 2021, via Business Waste). If you do want to eat something that involves meat, try buying it locally and organically, this way the supply chain is shorter and you can trace where your anything comes from. Alternatively there are great vegetarian options, which you can find here. With regards to vegetables, these can be brought loosely from seasonal local markets. After your bellies are full, share anything that is left over with someone in need or create another meal with those ingredients
The festive season does not have to be stained by wasteful habits and overconsumption, but has the potential of becoming more sustainable and intentional through the way we give gifts and consume food. We hope you have the happiest holiday season, filled with the people you love and everything you need to not waste, but celebrate.