The festive season is upon us, but spare some thought into how you could have the best of festivities with the smallest Environmental Impact.
This time of the year, the UK produces 30% more waste than normal – it includes over 1 billion Christmas cards, which are discarded shortly after they are received, an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper (created from around 50,000 trees) and around 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging. Let’s steer away from plastic packaging and glittery bows this year. Old fashioned brown parcel paper and coir string is a simple and effective choice.
Food for thought – the UK throws out the equivalent of four million Christmas dinners each year. That is roughly 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies, 740,000 portions of Christmas pudding and 11.3 million roast potatoes – what a waste!! Please don’t waste food. Plan what you need and buy only what you need. Buy local (reducing your carbon footprint) meat and loose veg if you can. Find your local refill store – refill your tubs and reduce on plastic waste.
Leftover food can be reheated; think back to the olden days when cooked veg used to be fried up the next morning for breakfast (in an omelette or bubble and squeak with a touch of bacon). Surplus veg can also be put into a soup or a curry, it’s up to you to be creative.
There is a real motivation to be sensible with gifts this year – to cut down waste and save money. It is thought £4 billion is spent on unwanted presents every year. So why do we need to put pressure on ourselves to promote senseless materialism? All it takes is a simple token; a homemade gift, a poem, a written note, some home cooked biscuits or even a phone call to say, “Merry Christmas”.
Two out of five Christmas jumpers are only worn once over the festive period. Make your own sustainable jumper from on old one by adding tinsel, baubles, and decorations to it. They can be taken off after Christmas – its that easy!!
This year, make your own decorations from natural materials such as pinecones and leaves. Make paper chains with your children and don’t throw old decorations out – donate them instead.
When it comes to festive lights, it is estimated that around 500 tonnes of them are thrown out each year in the UK, that’s a lot of hazardous waste – please avoid throwing them out. Try and get them repaired.
If you have an artificial tree, it needs be used for around 10 years for it to have a lower environmental impact than using real trees each year. If you buy a real tree, buy British grown with roots so that it can be replanted outdoors after the festive season.
For a great Christmas present idea – subscribe to or support a charity or organisation for a year – Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, the RSPB or Bat Conservation Trust are marvellous conservation charities. Plant a tree, set some spring bulbs and make a difference this year.
Don’t follow the norm – be inventive, sustainable, and much happier this Christmas!!
Have a healthy and delightful Christmas from all at Stanfree Valley xxx