Reduce Your Environmental Impact This Christmas
Not Perfect, But Trying For a Better Christmas
Festive season for most of us is our period of peak consumption. From food, to gifts, their wrapping, and travel, the holiday period is all about abundance and joy which mostly in 2019 comes in the form of something materialistic. Without becoming a Christmas scrooge, taking a moment to consider our footprint on the Earth over Christmas and consider some small switches to help people and the planet can have huge lasting impacts.
Here are some Ocean Generation mindful tips for Christmas the period;
The Christmas Tree Guide
The first sign of Christmas at home is the twinkling tree in the living room. Whether you do real or fake, it usually depends on what your childhood entails, and if the smell of pine needles fills you with festive joy or leaves you indifferent as you construct your artificial tree. Which is the most sustainable tree option?
Real Christmas trees require no manufacturing and are 100% recyclable. There are concerns over cutting down trees and losing habitat for wildlife, but Christmas trees are not usually grown in forests but are a crop and once the trees are harvested, more are planted. If in the UK, most importantly, buy local to reduce the trees carbon footprint
Artificial trees are mostly made from a combination of plastic based materials and cannot be recycled. But the argument is if you are going to use it year after year, and keep it for at least 10 Christmas’, it keeps its environmental impact lower over 10 real trees. In 2019 there are also more sustainable options and definitely more innovative designs made out of recyclable or degradable materials, including driftwood and metal options.
In conclusion, it’s your preference!
Christmas is a time for feasting and celebrating but unfortunately, UK residents will waste 54 million platefuls of food during December. In order to avoid so much food going to waste, plan accordingly of what you and your family are realistically going to eat over the festive period, and if that’s difficult and you still end up with a load of food left over consider getting creative with your leftovers and cooking up some innovative post-Christmas meals. Donate excess food to local food banks and other charitable organisations or even share with neighbours and local families. Lastly, consider tis the season to continue or even start composting!
Turkeys appeared on Christmas tables in England in the 16th century, history tells of King Henry VIII being the first English monarch to have turkey for Christmas. Since then tradition has lived on and globally around 22 million turkeys are eaten on Christmas day. Consider a vegetarian substitute on Christmas day or Boxing day. Check out some of these bloggers with incredible food recipes and some alternatives;
83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will be thrown away or burnt this Christmas (that is enough to gift wrap the island of Jersey). An addition 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown out rather than recycled at Christmas as well. Tis the season of giving but how we present our gifts and being mindful of their wrapping and stuffing can make a huge difference on the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill this year.
Get creative this Christmas and wrap your gifts using reusable wrapping materials and decorate them with springs of holly and string instead of paper tags and single-use ribbons.
Old newspaper, cloth and reusable gift bags are more sustainable options than conventional wrapping paper.
Think about this too; it’s not just the gifts that get wrapped this Christmas, for those cooking turkey an estimated 4,200 tonnes of aluminium foil gets thrown away every Christmas in the UK. Silicone or metal lids are great alternatives to protect your bird while in the oven!
Gift with Love – Choose Love
This Christmas thousands of families arriving on European shores and across the world, will be met with barbed wire, borders and batons. Refugees often arrive freezing and hungry after long journeys, they can then spend years living in camps, damp makeshift shelters and the future for children is bleak without an education.
Choose Love is the world’s first store where you can buy real gifts for refugees. Both in store or online with a downloadable gift card that can be shared, Choose Love contains practical items like tents, nappies and sleeping bags. But instead of taking them home, each purchase buys similar item for some who truly needs it.
Consider purchasing your gifts with a heart at either online at choose.love or drop by their pop-up stores over the festive period in London, Los Angeles or New York.
Sustainable fashion is popping up like never before but one of the main barriers of entry for many consumers is always the price point. Sentiments are that ‘sustainable fashion’ is becoming synonymous with ‘luxury’. But fear not, if this Christmas if you are looking for an incredible ethical gift that’s not thrifted, challenging the price of ethical clothing is the new platform Normou. An eco-friendly fashion platform with up to 70% discounts. They are making shopping consciously the new normal. Shop your favourite ethical fashion brands, without breaking the bank.
If your looking for fashion for yourself, don’t be one of the Brits that splurges $2.4 billion on party clothes this season often discarded after only one wear. Browse platforms like HURR or My Wardrobe HQ to rent your party wear. Renting an outfit is cheaper, more ethical and helps the planet!
If you’re traveling this Christmas, especially by plane consider offsetting your carbon footprint. Flights currently account for 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide production, and because planes fly closer to the atmosphere, they create more damage than conventional transport on the ground. To put It into perspective, a roundtrip flight from San Francisco to New York results in the loss of 54 square feet of Artic Ice per passenger.
While we as individuals are unable to control the air industry, one of the easiest ways to reduce our individual flight impact if by participating in voluntary carbon offsetting schemes. While offsetting does not confront the morality of air travel and its contribution to global warming, it is a cost-effective, economically efficient manner of taking responsibility for residual emissions.
There are many options online, but a great website is Climatecare.org. You simply estimate using their online calculator your emissions, choose an offset project from their online portfolio (from tree planting to supporting renewable energy projects) and start offsetting your emissions.