It's that time again already! The days are short, it's getting colder, and Christmas is somehow just over a month away.
Traditionally Christmas can be a pretty unsustainable time for households from an environmental perspective. Through the festive period it can be easy to burn through countless single use items without even thinking about it, not to add the discarded packaging and food waste.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to minimise your environmental impact over the festive period and to help get you started, we've put together five of our favourite ways to have a more sustainable Christmas.
Support Local Independent Shops
Shopping local is a great way to reduce your Christmas environmental footprint. By choosing to shop with your local independent shops you reduce the travel footprint of your purchase, directly help to support local businesses, and by shopping with your local zero waste store, you are almost guaranteed to find a sustainable gift.
If you are based in Manchester, then our guide to local zero waste stores might be of help!
Eat With The Season
Remember, shopping local is not only important for gifts, but also for food. Supporting your local food producers and farm shops will drastically cut down the air miles your Christmas meal has.
Interlinked with this, ensure that you eat seasonal foods. By eating food that is locally in season, you prevent yourself from buying imported food, or out of season food grown with excess energy costs, eg. tomatoes grown in hot-houses in January.
Eat the seasons is a really useful resource for guiding seasonal eating.
Mix Up Christmas Gifts
A sustainable Christmas doesn't mean you can't give great gifts, you might just need to think about gifting slightly differently.
Gifting experiences rather than physical items is a great start. Or if you are feeling creative and crafty, then making your own gifts is a really good option as well.
But you don't have to scrap buying gifts either. Look to shop in second-had/charity shops, or as mentioned previously, your local zero waste store can usually provide some great gift options too.
The important change to make is not buying for the sake of buying, but instead making conscious purchases that have a low impact on the planet, and can be used over and over again.
Cut Down On Packaging
Often this starts at the point of purchase. Shopping at a local store or with online businesses that use sustainable packaging is key to minimising unnecessary or single-use packaging.
When it comes to wrapping, see if you have any paper leftover or kept from previous years that can be up-cycled and re-used. On Christmas day, it's a good idea to keep any wrapping paper that's left in-tact so it can be re-used in years to come.
Try to avoid wrapping with plastic ribbons and tape, and instead look into tape free wrapping.
Choose Your Tree Wisely
A long lived debate, making an informed choice about whether you buy a real or fake Christmas tree is important. Both come with their own set of pros and cons. But briefly, if buying a real tree ensure that it's grown sustainably (ideally certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and/or Grown In Britain), and if choosing a fake tree ensure that it is well made to last for years to come, and if possible, purchase second hand.
Consideration should also be put towards decorating the tree. Instead of buying new each year, try and up-cycle old decorations first, or even better, have a go at making your own. If you do decide it's time to buy new, then there are now plenty of options made from sustainable/recycled materials, so be sure to shop consciously!