5 Simple Swaps for an Eco-Friendly Christmas
I think it’s fair to say that we have all seen the less than lovely amounts of waste that so often follows the most beautiful of Christmases. From excess food to quickly discarded wrapping paper, it seems the bin bags are always full.
The Facts -
Before we share our tips, we wanted to highlight a bit of the envoorneental impacts around Christmas that aren’t so lovely. Some of the more shocking statistics we found thanks to Zero Waste Week UK:
According to the Wildlife and Countryside link, around 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown away and not recycled in the United Kingdom alone this Christmas.
Finder tells us that over 21 million people receive at least one unwanted gift each Christmas.
Well over four million Christmas dinners are thrown away every year – that’s equivalent to 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies, 740,000 portions of Christmas pudding and 11.3 million roast potatoes.
So much wrapping paper is bought in the UK that in 2013 it was reported it would be long enough to stretch to the moon.
This year we wanted to share some of our top tips for having a more eco-friendly Holiday season that we at the REV team have found to be quite helpful in keeping Christmas more harmonious with our natural world and the true spirit of generosity and thoughtfulness.
Keep Your Decorations All Natural
Avoid plastic, glitter and other single use materials. Great options are poinsettias which are beautiful plants that can be potted and kept, or even better finding some local dried flowers, berries and branches that can be stored or composted when you are done with them. Grace and Thorn in East London do the most beautiful wreaths from dried flowers that you can keep to put out year after year.
Avoid Wrapping Paper
Wrapping paper cannot be recycled if it contains sparkles, glitter, sequins, foil, artificial texture, sticky gift labels, or plastic. Nor can it be recycled if it has been laminated or has loads of leftover tape, ribbons, or bows still attached. A great way to avoid this issue is by using dried flowers, kraft paper that is fully recyclable or reusable cloths instead. You can also find simple kraft paper tags that will be a much better way of labelling gifts.
Plant Based Dishes
Try to have a few more plant based meals at the table this year and ask people to only bring a dish that’s truly needed. We know that eating more plant based meals can truly help with lowering our carbon footprints, and there is no reason not to try this out during the Holidays when there is so much food being prepped. Some amazing plant based chefs like Deliciously Ella, Anna Jones and Rachel Alma are doing lots of ideas around this.
Rent a Christmas tree!
There are so many wonderful companies doing this in London, you can check out Christmas on the Hill. If you bought a cut tree, consider securing the tree in a spot in the yard to serve as a temporary shelter for animals as it breaks down over the winter. You can even add bird feeders to attract local birds and turn it into a mini cold weather bird sanctuary. Or compost it! Pine trees are full of nutrients that can help balance soil PH levels and add nutrients to your yard, flower beds, or garden.Remove the needles from the tree, mist with water, and work into soil where desired. Then, cut branches into small pieces and add them to the compost pile.If it’s possible to shred the tree, the resulting saw dust will break down in compost even faster.
Limit Presents -
Limit presents to the things you know people will truly love and use or think about charitable donations/gift cards instead. For me, I am going to be adopting an endangered animal for our nieces and nephews which is such a lovely way to teach them about empathy and charity with a cute animal to be the face of that. Here’s a great place to search for that. I am also getting my father a gift certificate to his favourite local restaurant with an emphasis on local, organic produce here in Maine as another way to give an experience over a thing!