Christmas… A time for families to come together, exchange gifts and eat to their heart's content. But what impact does our overindulgence and shopping habits have on the environment? During the holiday season our carbon footprint is 6% more than the rest of the year, so how can we make our Christmas a little bit greener? Every pound you spend this Christmas is a vote for the world you want to create, so here are Delphis Eco's top tips for a Christmas that doesn't cost the Earth.
Should you go for the real tree or get the plastic one out of the loft?
Every year there is a debate about whether people should ditch their real tree and go for a fake one. Or ditch the Christmas tree altogether. Research has found seven million trees are thrown out every year in the UK, releasing copious amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Artificial trees can be reused on average 7-20 times, which is better for the environment as it saves fresh trees from being chopped down and can save you money!
But if you want to buy a real tree, know that the carbon footprint is lower than that of an artificial one. A popular alternative is opting for potted trees, which can be reused and replanted. Another option is replanting your Christmas tree in your garden or converting your old tree into beneficial woodchip mulch by putting it through a shredder which can reduce its carbon footprint by up to 80%. It's a win-win!
Spread the Christmas magic
At Christmas, we know the pressure is on to buy the perfect present for your nearest and dearest, but just under a half of us Brits admit that we have received gifts we don't or will never use. But the only good can come from buying gifts from small businesses, being mindful of sustainability and going for gifts with less packaging.
According to Gov.uk we use enough card packaging (and material) at Christmas to cover Big Ben nearly 260,000 times. That is mind-boggling! Were you aware that to make 1 tonne of paper, around 24 trees must be cut down? So why not get creative by making e-cards to send your Christmas wishes by text if you want to give a great gift to the planet?
The main event
Christmas is the ultimate time to overindulge by eating our body weight in pigs in blankets or stuffing. But all that overindulgence means that around 270,000 tonnes of food are thrown away at Christmas every year. That's five million Christmas puddings, seventy-four million mince pies and two million turkeys, according to the Big Issue. And if that statistic doesn't make you want to spit out your eggnog, the government reckons that the number of poultry we throw away yearly is enough to make eight hundred million Boxing Day curries. Unbelievably, a herd of 636,000 reindeer weighs the same carrots thrown away by UK households annually.
Fareshare is a charity network focused on reliving food poverty and food waste in the UK, was awarded 1.9 million pounds in 2019 from Defra. With the funding, Fareshare could redistribute even more food to those who need it. Their work also prevented 2,000 frozen turkeys from Gressingham Foods from going to waste in 2019, almost double the number redistributed the year before. So why not donate some of your leftovers to them?
What actions are we taking to do our bit?
Around 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown away and not recycled in the UK this Christmas – which is more than the weight of 3.3 million Emperor penguins. One way to lower your contribution to the plastic plight is to buy products made of post-consumer recycled content. Ultimately you can only purchase the products available to you, and here at Delphis Eco, we offer refills on a range of our products so that you will be all kitted out for the festive season.
Here are our top ten Green Christmas tips:
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products that don't harm the planet but get the job done!
- Donate your untouched food item to your local food bank
- Eat less meat - Christmas is the perfect opportunity to try something new
- Try out your local refill shop to dodge the unnecessary packaging at your supermarket
- Buy your food from suppliers that use minimal packaging
- Get all your food in one trip or order online if it's more convenient
- Buy loose fruit and veg to avoid unnecessary single-use plastic
- Try and reduce your food waste by buying only what you need
- Invest in some reusable wax wraps and foil liners (foil is recyclable in most cases but check with your local authority)
- Store your leftovers in the freezer
Written by Ellie Meredith