The ultimate guide to an eco-friendly, waste-free Christmas

In this time of overindulgence watch your waste, not your waist this festive period. With Christmas just around the corner, there's still time to make some changes that will reduce the impact of your festivities over the season.

Christmas is undeniably the most wonderful time of the year but it’s not for the planet. Excessive amounts of food cooked and wasted, tonnes of wrapping paper end up in the bin – not forgetting your tree. We’ve pulled together some top tips over the festive period to help you leave a positive impact, not a negative one. 

Fight Food Waste

According to WRAP, food and drink waste in the UK increases by a massive 80 per cent over the Christmas period, with a staggering 230,000 tonnes of food binned over the

1. Plan ahead
It’s as simple as making a shopping list. Only buy what you need and think about what you can make from the leftovers. Saves time in the aisles and money too – win win!

2. What’s in stock?
Before heading to the shops check your cupboards and freezer to avoid buying extras that you’ve already got in stock. No one needs to stockpile gravy granules.

3. Don’t go the extra mile
Set yourself a radius for sourcing all fresh seasonal ingredients for your dinner. Shorter supply chains are less likely to generate food waste, plus you’ll be supporting local businesses too. 

4. Freezer friendly
Who doesn’t want a mince pie all year round? Keep the good times rolling – wrap up your leftovers and freeze to extend their end of life cooked veg, cheese, bread and even gravy all freeze well.

The wrap trap

In the UK, consumers use approximately 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each Christmas, enough to stretch nine times around the world, and 1 billion Christmas cards (the equivalent of 33 million trees).

1. Get crafty
Switch to brown paper which is 100% recyclable. Get inspiration from Pinterest and create your own patterns with stamps, paint or pens. Plus any leftover paper can be used all year round.

2. Do the scrunch test
If your paper scrunches up into a ball and stays then it can be recycled. If it bounces back then it’s off to landfill!! 

3. Sticky situation
Sellotape is made of polypropylene, a type of plastic that is not recyclable. To avoid contaminating your recycling remove all tape from your wrapping paper before you put it in the bin.

4. Waste not, want not
Use scrap paper, magazines and newspapers to create unique gift wrap. Get thrifty and use what you already have – a pillowcase, a scarf or an old (clean) tea towel.

O Christmas Tree

According to the Carbon Trust, a 6.5ft artificial tree is responsible for about 40kg of GHG – which means you need to reuse it 10 times to keep its environmental impact lower than buying a real tree every year.

1. The real deal
Buy locally-grown organic trees that not only reduce transportation emissions but support local businesses too. Why not rent a tree and have the same tree back year after year.

2. DIY (do it yourself)
Save yourself the mess of pine needles and create your own alternative tree – decorate a houseplant, stack books in the shape of a tree, or a potted plant you can look after all year round.

3. Light it up
Use LED lights on your Christmas tree, they use less energy and look just as good! Also, switch off your lights at night – it’s safer and won’t cost the earth.

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