Green team

Sick of plastic? Hate food waste? How to have a green Christmas.

Sadie White No Comments

Check out our Environment Group’s top tips for a green Christmas. With a shocking 1 billion Xmas cards still ending up in landfill and over 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper used over Christmas – enough to cover Guernsey, we can all do our bit to make sure we lower our impact on the Earth and safeguard it for generations to come.

Cards

50 million cards per day are delivered on average by the Royal Mail in the run up to Christmas. Considering how simple most of these cards are to recycle, 1 billion still end up in landfill and can take up to 30 years to decompose.

As well as recycling the cards you receive in the post, why not get crafty with the kids and make your own eco-friendly Christmas cards to send? You can use recycled card and envelopes and cut down on plastic packaging, or you can buy recycled cards if crafts just aren’t your thing.

Try and hand deliver to friends and family who live close by and further reduce your Christmas carbon footprint total.

Wrapping

It’s not just the packaging that some shops use that can make your Christmas presents problematic for the environment. Over 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper are used in Britain over Christmas, equating to 83 square km of rubbish – that’s more than enough to cover Guernsey!

Do your bit to reduce this figure by buying recycled wrapping paper and always recycling the wrapping you receive wherever possible. Most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable, so either look for the PEFC or FSC logo on your paper (this means the paper is sustainably forested!) or buy recycled brown paper that you can make festive with ribbon and stamps!

Before recycling, remove any sticky tape and decorations such as ribbons and bows as these cannot be recycled. If in doubt about whether your paper can be recycled, test it out with the ‘scrunch test’ – if you literally scrunch the paper in your hand and it stays in a ball, it can be put into the recycling.

Gifts

It is always good to shop local where you can, to support local business, and make more ethical choices when it comes to gift giving. Talk to your family about expectations, and maybe look at making some homemade gifts this year. And if you don’t feel you have the skills to make gifts, or the time to head down to local shops, etsy.co.uk and notonthehighstreet.com are all sites that enable small businesses to sell their homemade wares, and they get delivered to your door!

Trees

When comes to deciding whether a real tree or artificial one is better for the environment, it’s a tough call. Generally speaking, if you buy an artificial tree you have to use it for a minimum of 7 years for its carbon footprint to be stamped out. However if you go for a real tree, a large part of being environmentally friendly is recycling it! Six million real trees brightened up homes and offices across Britain last year, of which only 10% were recycled. The rest went into landfill, a wasted opportunity to create biomass that would have provided nutrients for depleted soil. In Sheffield, The Children’s Hospital Charity offer a collection and recycling service for a donation (min £12) – recycling and giving to charity in one! Link to that service is here: https://www.christmastreecollections.co.uk/

Food Shopping

By the time the ingredients that make up the average British Christmas dinner arrive on our plates, they have travelled an average combined distance of 49,000 miles. Turkeys from Europe, vegetables from Africa, cranberries from America – the turkey and trimmings can add up to the equivalent of 6,000 car trips around the world, research from the University of Manchester has found. So how do we combat some of this?

  • Buy local! Produce bought locally means you will be supporting small suppliers and the local community, while minimising your carbon footprint. Shop at a local farmers’ market – there are plenty around!
  • Buy your fruit and vegetables loose and ditch all that wasteful plastic packaging.
  • Buy drinks in bigger bottles rather than small ones. One large bottle generates less waste than several smaller ones.
  • Try to avoid serving people with paper or plastic plates and cups if you are entertaining.
  • Don’t forget to put the vegetable peelings from your Christmas dinner in your home compost bin if you have one!

Lights

Christmas tree lights left on for 10 hours a day over the 12 days of Christmas produce enough CO2 to inflate 12 balloons, so turn them off when they are not needed!

With that in mind. Have a fabulous green Christmas one and all.

 

 

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