Helping You Enjoy A Sustainable Christmas
For our sustainable Christmas, the main thing we’d like to keep in mind is ‘simplify’. Making things simple reduces cost, waste and stress. As Thoreau so beautifully said: “simplify, simplify, simplify”.
Let’s all experiment and re-evaluate our choices this Christmas; the more we do this, the more ideas will follow and the more our personal, sustainable essence of Christmas will develop.
The most important thing we can do is connect to the meaning of Christmas – whether religious or personal. We fell that Christmas should speak to us in the way it did as a child; full of magic, wonder and connection.
Let’s give ourselves permission to slow down, to stop running in circles and allow ourselves to say no to too many commitments. Let’s focus our attention on the details we so often miss.
We can all learn from the generations which came before us. For the grandparents who lived through hardships, wars and economic depression, their mending, upcycling and resourcefulness became, for the majority, a way of life. Many of us will remember how our grandparents reused last year’s gift wrapping paper (sometimes after ironing it flat to help with the creases), brought a potted tree indoors each Christmas to decorate, embellished the home with boughs of holly from the local woods, and how they served delicious local, seasonal festive food.
With this in mind, the simple adages ‘less is more’ and ‘it’s the thought that counts’ really do ring true
A Few Sustainable Christmas Ideas To Get You Started
• Rent a Christmas tree
• Decorate a tree for the birds – use seed balls, peanuts, suet fat balls etc and appreciate watching their involvement
• Decorate your home with nature – a wreath of pines, holly branches, sprigs of rosemary etc
• Purchase plantable Christmas cards
• Experiment with sustainable wrapping ideas
• Less really is more – purchase things with value, purpose and meaning
• Celebrate together – invite people to your home as your gift to them
• Keep your focus on those you love – make time for new and old traditions
• Celebrate with seasonal food
• Minimise food waste
• Every pound we spend is a vote for the world we want to create
Rent A Christmas Tree
This year you could rent a real tree from a British farm. You decorate and care for the tree during the festive period, then the company picks it up and replants it in January. They’re often known as ‘Trees For Life’. Real Christmas trees tend to be more sustainable than artificial alternatives. One study concluded you’d have to use your fake fir for at least 20 years for it to be greener.
Here are some UK Christmas tree rental schemes (you may find more in your local area):
Cotswold Fir/Rental Claus – Gloucestershire
Love A Christmas Tree – Kirkby Mallory, Leicestershire
London Christmas Tree Rental – London
Rental Christmas Tree – Stroud
Christmas on the Hill – Muswell Hill, Hampstead, Stoke Newington, London
Festive Tree Hire – Reading, Berkshire and Surrey
If you decide to buy a tree, please do ensure it’s been grown as locally as possible: you can go to growninbritain.org to find growers in your area.
After Christmas, visit recyclenow.com to find out about drop-off points in your area, where your old tree can be recycled into chippings for local parks and woodland areas. You could also take it to your local tip where you can add it to the other green waste, or chop it up and stack the wood in your garden to create a habitat for birds and bugs.
Alternatively buy a tree with roots (as many of our grandparents did) and replant in your garden each year.
Sharing our Rent A Christmas Tree content via Country Living Magazine.
Experiment With Sustainable Wrapping Ideas
Every pound we spend is a vote for the world we want to create. We’re sharing eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas to assist cutting down on waste and to help build the world we want to create.
• Upcycle shipping supplies – reuse cardboard boxes, tissue paper sheets and packing paper which companies often use to ship their products.
• Add natural festive touches – use tree branches, cinnamon sticks, small pinecones, holly, Christmas tree clippings, dried flowers from old bouquets, rosemary etc to decorate your gifts.
• Swap paper for fabric gift wrap – make your gift wrapping part of your present by opting for a scarf, shawl or handkerchief over traditional paper. See the Furoshiki method of fabric wrapping.
• Use biodegradable paper tape – use compostable paper tape or washi tape. Biodegradable alternatives are made with wood fibres, pulp or bark and natural adhesives.
• Ditch the tape altogether – fold your wrapping paper into itself and secure your gift with no tape required.
• Turn old clothes into ribbons and bows – upcycle into reusable fabric ribbons and bows.
• Tie gifts with compostable twine – use ropes and twines made from organic cotton, hemp and other natural fibres. Reuse year after year and compost after use.
• Use old household items – outdated road maps, books on the shelf you’ll never read again, old sheet music etc.
• Gift items in recycled or repurposed bags
Sharing our sustainable wrapping ideas via EcoWatch.com.
Less Really Is More – Purchase Things With Value, Purpose And Meaning
Having read a BBC Worklife blog ‘The Science Behind Giving Good Gifts’, we wanted to share a snippet of it with you:
Recent research has shown that spending more does not always guarantee a well-received gift. One study found that the more expensive a gift, the more givers expected recipients to appreciate it. But while givers thought spending more conveyed more thoughtfulness, receivers didn’t associate the price with their level of appreciation.
“When givers give gifts, they’re trying to optimise on the moment they give the gift and see the smile on the recipient’s face right in that moment. But what recipients care about is how much value they’re going to derive from that over a longer time period.”
So, your gifts should be less about the ‘big wow in the now’ moment, and more about the long-term love and appreciation of the offering.
Give gifts with value, purpose and meaning.
Celebrate With Seasonal Food And Minimise Food Waste
“Look after the land and the land will look after you…” Aboriginal Proverb.
A recent survey discovered that two-thirds of consumers are open to changing how they eat for the sake of the environment. Many are eager to waste less food, eat more plant-based diets and buy more seasonal fruits and vegetables. An interactive seasonal food map, launched by the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), can help you plan your festive menus: Seasonal Food Map.
This Christmas, consider things like the ecological footprint of food production, protection of biodiversity, human health, food miles and the negative consequences of long supply chains.
• It’s the perfect time to celebrate seasonal food, meaning fewer air miles.
• Go for some plant-based options as a simple way to do something sustainable for the planet and its inhabitants.
• Plan ahead for the festive season so you don’t overbuy. Consider the number of people attending and go from there. Try not to buy extra just in case.
• Before you step foot in a shop, write down everything you need for all your menus (and other snacks and nibbles) and stick to your list.
• Purchase direct from farms, markets or reliable organic suppliers, where possible.
• Be aware of the use by dates and eat accordingly.
• Try not to overcook. It will take more time for you and you’ll have more leftovers to contend with.
• Reduce plastic waste and food waste.
Ask questions, shop around, trace the product back to where it was produced and see if you’re happy with the way it was made. That way, you should be happy with the meal you put on the table alongside your loved ones, safe in the knowledge that it didn’t cost the Earth.
And of course, don’t forget to recycle. Any non-glossy paper wrapping can be shredded for the compost or added to your recycling bin. Keep the bows and ribbons for multiple re-uses, as well as tissue paper, gift bags and boxes. Recycle as much packaging from your festive beverages and food as you can. There’s a handy guide to the recycling services in your area at Recycle Now.
British Recycled Plastic
Our team takes a keen interest in environmentalism. We are each invested on a personal level to lower our carbon footprints and take steps to better the way we live. By no means are we perfect, but we like to live by the excellent saying by Howard Zinn “small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
As a business, British Recycled Plastic is proud to offer a range of products that are not only incredibly tough and durable, but actively help to dismantle the UK’s domestic waste mountain and keep used plastic out of landfill. Engineered from 100% British waste, our products are guaranteed for 25 years and supplied to thousands of organisations and private homes across the UK.
We’re taking waste and making it wonderful.
Do also check back, as we update our blog each week.
You’ll find that we write regularly on environmental issues, along the lines of A Sustainable Christmas, as well as recycling news and more.
And finally, another concept from Thoreau… his thoughts being even more poignant during the festive season. ‘I am convinced that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely’.