1) Buy local
Reduce the carbon footprint of your purchases and support small businesses by shopping in your local specialist suppliers. Many rely on your custom to feed their families rather than your spending lining the pockets of multinational corporations. Buying local also means less postage-linked transport pollution and single-use postage-packaging.
2) Car share or use public transport
Going Christmas shopping? Why not make a festive outing of it and car share with your friends, family or neighbours. Alternatively, you could use public transport to reduce on car pollution.
3) Choose eco-friendly presents made sustainably
The choices you make as a consumer help to sway suppliers and product costs. If more people shopped sustainably, the production and choice for such items would increase and costs reduce. Choose plastic-free products made with sustainable production methods and recycled/ recyclable materials. Avoid gifting bath and shower washes and scrubs with plastic micro-beads and glitter which wash directly into our water systems. Look for certified environmentally friendly logos such as: Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Scientific Certification System (SCS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Energy Star & Palm Oil Free, to ensure the company follows sustainable practises.
4) Switch to eco-friendly Christmas cards
For those not in your immediate family and friendship circles, why not send an e-card instead of a paper card? As a minimum, you should look to buy Christmas cards made from recycled/ recyclable materials. Try to avoid cards with foil, glitter or plastics, as these cannot be recycled. You can also purchase plantable cards, which are made with biodegradable paper filled with seeds which can be planted directly into the ground or pots and grow into wildflowers. Don’t forget you can transform old Christmas cards into gift tags for next year to save on waste.
5) Use biodegradable tape
Reduce plastic pollution by switching to biodegradable, compostable paper tape which is made from natural plant fibres and tree bark with natural rubber-based adhesive. You can even get versions decorated with Christmas patterns!
6) Change your wrapping habits
Wrapping paper looks pretty but ends up immediately in the bin. Why not use reusable gift bags and boxes instead to reduce waste? If wrapping, select recycled/ recyclable unbleached paper with vegetable inks that are not embellished with glitter, foil or plastic. A quick test is if the paper doesn’t stay in a tiny ball when scrunched, it’s probably not recyclable. Alternatively, you could wrap your gifts in ‘seed paper’ which can be planted directly into soil and watch it bloom in the spring.
7) Create your own Christmas decorations using natural materials
Get creative this festive season whilst thinking sustainably. Why not create your own Christmas decorations form natural materials to reduce plastic waste. Pine cones garlands, evergreen wreaths, log disc hangings, stick stars and shell mobiles are just a few ideas to get you started. More ideas and instructions on how to make them are included in our parent member’s downloads for December. Find out more here.
8) Take your own bags
Don’t get caught out! Take enough reusable bags on Christmas shopping trips. Say NO to plastic bags.
9) Take your own coffee mug/ water bottle
Don’t get caught out again! Taking your own reusable mug/ bottle to keep hydrated on your shopping trips saves on single-use pollution.
10) Think sustainably when choosing and deposing of your tree
It is now possible to rent a Christmas tree, which is re-planted and continues to grow after your use.
If disposing of a natural Christmas tree, visit https:// www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/christmas-trees-1 to locate your nearest recycle scheme which shred them into chipping for local parks. This reduces a tree’s carbon footprint by 80% compared to letting it rot.
If using an artificial tree, why not choose one made from natural materials or recycled wood? If you have a plastic tree, re-use it year after year to prevent further plastic pollution.
11) Banish the micro plastics
Avoid products embellished with micro plastics such as glitter and tiny plastic sprinkles. Due to its tiny size, it ultimately ends up in our water ways and oceans and is eaten by marine life. Why not create your own party sprinkles by hole punching leaves? Eco-glitter may be sold as ‘biodegradable,’ however, it still contains PET plastic.
12) Crackers that don’t crack the planet
If you can’t do without crackers around your Christmas table, choose ones which are made with recycled/ recyclable products, with no micro plastic glitter or plastic gifts. Although fun for a few minutes, almost all crackers and their gifts go straight into the bin. If you enjoy the excitement and tradition, why not make your own? You can buy card templates and pull snaps, then fill them with little personal gifts which your guests will really appreciate and keep.
13) Switch to solar powered outdoor lights
Save on energy consumption and reduce harmful effects on our planet by switching to solar powered lights for outdoor use. There are some great designs out now which don’t break the bank or our environment.
14) Heat wisely
Each degree you turn your heating down, you can save 1% on your energy bills. Remember to close windows if your heating is on and wear more layers before you ‘turn up the dial.’ Turning thermostats down on radiators in unused rooms can multiply these savings and ultimately reduce your energy consumption and impact on our planet.
15) Reduce food waste
A phenomenal amount of food is thrown out over the festive period as many families over- purchase and end up disposing of a huge amounts of provisions. Think before you buy to reduce waste and donate any surplus supplies to your local food bank for the homeless. You can find your local food bank by visiting the following website: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a- foodbank/
16) Commit to a ‘meat free day’ per week
With the gluttony of Christmas upon us, why not help the environment by pledging to at least a day a week where you abstain from eating meat and dairy for your New Year’s resolution. Becoming vegan and reducing your meat and dairy consumption could be the single most effective way of reducing your environmental impact on Earth. This is due to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and sheer volume of wild land lost to agriculture, in turn causing mass wildlife extinction, caused by meat and dairy agriculture throughout the world. In addition, the protein levels Vs environmental impact balance is much more sustainable with a vegan, plant- based diet.
17) Get outside this winter
Just because the temperature has fallen, doesn’t mean you should stay cooped up inside over the festive season. Numerous studies highlight the physical and mental health and well-being of being out in nature. Put on more layers and get active outdoors to build resilience, breathe fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature this winter season. Discover new and exciting places. A society which hasn’t connected to their local environment will seldom care about protecting it.
18) Give something back this Christmas
’Tis the season of giving. Why not give something back to your local environment this Christmas? You could organise a litter pick in your local area with your friends. Or how about volunteering at your local food bank or homeless shelter? Leading by example can encourage others to become more environmentally aware and eco-conscious too.
19) Needs Vs wants
Why not forfeit a Christmas gift this year and ask for a donation to your favourite charity instead. There are lots of eco-friendly and environmental causes which urgently need your help.
20) Start the new year with an eco-friendly bang
Deciding to be environmentally conscious is not something you decide to do for one day. It is a choice you make on the first day and every day thereafter. Consistency is what makes it successful. Why not choose a new year’s resolution that is eco-friendly and encourages your family to live in a more sustainable way. Visit our website for more ideas or subscribe to our online eco-friendly outdoor resources for a healthy and happy new year. Find out more here.
Already leading outdoor sessions and want to improve your eco-footprint? We have the perfect workshop for you! Easily downloadable units to help you and your pupils be more eco-friendly during your sessions. Find out more here.
Download our full PDF version of our 20 eco friendly christmas tips for offline use, or to share them with your friends and family, but remember only print if it is completely necessary.