"I'mmm dreaminggg of a greeeen Christmassss..."
It's that magical time of year again!
So, whilst we wait out the next six weeks in anticipation, until the big guy climbs down our chimneys to offload his sack full of pressies, let's explore what we can we do to give our planet a gift and make it a greener Christmas all round.
Follow these six easy tips for Christmas this year, after all, it's the little things that can make a big difference...
Whilst fake trees may seem like the 'greenest' option (pun intended!) it actually takes around 15 years for a plastic tree to be as environmentally friendly as a real fir! Surprising huh!? The reason behind this is, fake trees are made from non-renewable materials, which use up a lot of valuable resources during the manufacturing and shipping stages.
Many choose to change their tree every few years too, meaning that most fake firs end up on landfill. Real trees however, are 100% biodegradable when disposed of correctly.
Some great alternatives to purchasing a fake fir are;
- Rent a tree! Yes, it's a real thing!! As soon as Christmas is over, you can send your little buddy back to the forest, ready to welcome him back with open arms in a years time!
- Buy from a business that plants more trees for every one sold! I mean, it makes sense doesn't it?
- Buy a potted tree and once Christmas is over, give it some space to grow and flourish in your garden until 2022!
If you're worried about disposing of a real tree, don't be! There are lots of charities that will collect your tree for a small fee, we have used Macmillan for the past few years, in Milton Keynes. Alternatively, contact your local council to ask about pick-ups for your old trees, some communities will even have a drop-off point.
It may surprise you to learn that not all paper is recyclable!
Glittery, shiny wrapping paper can not be recycled and nor can sticky tape, so why not choose your wrapping equipment carefully this year?
A great alternative to sticky tape is Kraft Tape, made from paper. It is a sturdy way to dress those awkwardly shaped gifts, without any unravelling.
We LOVE brown packaging paper with candy coloured string, and so do our giftees!! Some other quirky alternatives to wrapping-paper include;
- "Wrapping your gifts in scarves, two presents in one!" We just LOVE this idea from one of our readers!
- "Use the colourful pages of a newspaper or magazine." One family we spoke to has been doing this for years and swears by it! She says "You can't even tell it's not wrapping paper!" You could even, if you're really careful, unwrap your presents and save the paper for next year.
- Another alternative is to use gift bags or boxes which can be recycled again for treats in the future.
- If you're buying a gift box, check that it's FSC regulated! FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council. This is a non-profit agency that works to protect forests around the world. By using rigorous measures the FSC ensures that any product stamped with their seal of approval is environmentally sound.
Did you know that, if you're choosing ribbon to wrap your gifts this year, the type of ribbon you choose can make a big difference...
Silk has by far the worst environmental impact of any textile. In the middle, is Poly-Satin, literally satin made from polyester, which still has that luxurious feel that you want from ribbon. Acetate Satin is by far the best option. It is made from Cellulose; a renewable and sustainable product which has been proven to be biodegradable.
OK so, we understand that Tofurkey isn't for everyone but by switching up your meat intake this Christmas for a plant-based option, you'll not only introduce a new tasty treat into your dinner, you'll also help give Mother Nature a Christmas to remember. A recent report found that a plant-based Christmas dinner has half the emissions compared to a turkey Christmas dinner!
New research also unveils one in five (20 per cent) Brits embraced a plant-based Christmas dinner last year, and with hundreds of tasty alternatives now available, it's easier to do than ever, so why not join the club?
Veganism might sound a bit extreme to some, and I totally get that, but if you're just able to plant one vegan plate on your table a week, you'll be making a huge step towards a healthier and happier planet. As a wise person once said "Every Little Helps".
If you haven't already subscribed to our website, do it now! We will be providing tasty, easy to follow, plant-based Christmas dinner options over the next month, so don't miss out!
The UK's toy industry is huuuge! Last year, consumers spent £370m on them, but environmentalists say this is contributing to the amount of plastic ending up in landfill and oceans.
A poll by the British Heart Foundation found that more than a quarter of parents admit to throwing away toys that are in perfect working order... Shocking statistics considering that there were 4.3 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2019-20. A good idea is to check out your local women's refuge or charities in your local community, and donate old toys to them before stocking up on new ones.
Choosing quality over quantity can make a huge difference this Christmas, why not opt for wooden toys or books over plastic items? If your family and friends would like to buy a gift for you or the kids this year, try sending them a list of presents that you know will be used again and again, and if you get something you won't use, re-gift it and give it to someone who will!
Whilst Jeff Bezos takes his day-trip to space with his Amazon earnings, buying from a small or micro business, this Christmas, means that owners and their families can have a memorable day-trip out somewhere a little closer to home.
During our short journey as a small business, we have met many inspirational business owners, hard working, humble humans who have been working their socks off, often in spare rooms, living rooms or sheds, to follow their dream and to be their own boss. I just rate that energy. I'm not sure about you, but these are the guys I want to back this Christmas, and all year round.
Not only do small business owners do a 'Chandler-style', happy dance, with every sale that is made (true story!)There are actually other perks of buying from a small business and shopping locally. All of the energy that is used to transport goods via planes, trains, trucks, and ships, contributes to global warming and unhealthy air quality. By choosing to shop locally, you'll cut out that nasty carbon footprint.
Worried about how hectic the high street is this time of year? Don't panic! These small and micro businesses are usually available online too! How about looking for a local small businesses Facebook group?
If you're shopping local online, the gifts will still travel less and it will strengthen your local economy to promote further growth and create fairer wealth distribution in your local area.
There's also loads of local Craft Fayres and Markets this time of year- My perfect day out! Perusing for gifts and sipping a coffee (or a cheeky mulled wine!) on the way round. It's just the most wonderful time of the year.
Over the past two years, I think we can all agree that our priorities have changed.
Spending time with our loved ones has been limited and we have had to deal with so many changes to the way we live, it's been really tough! It has however, highlighted what really matters, happiness, building stronger relationships with those we love and creating lasting memories.
When choosing your loved ones' gifts this year, why not opt for an experience day? A spa day, daytrip, or meal out, makes the perfect prezzie and creates lasting memories you can cherish long after Christmas 2021 has ended.
Why not look at local beauticians, restaurants, hairdressers, farms etc? Even if you can't see a gift voucher available on their website, they'll most likely be happy to find a solution! Ask and thou shall receive
Christmas dinner is, hands-down, my favourite part of Christmas! Sharing a tasty meal with my favourite people around the table, smiling, laughing and pulling crackers- it sure does make my day, and with a full belly too! Although food waste is often something we don't even think about, did you know that four million Christmas dinners are thrown away every year – that’s equivalent to 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies, 740,000 portions of Christmas pudding and 11.3 million roast potatoes! Not that I have ever thrown away any of my Christmas dinner (I've been known to remove even the pattern from my dinner plate during full hangry mode!)
Just planning your food consumption carefully this year can help to bring these statistics right down. Don't feel pressured to buy every 'exceedingly good' treat that is being advertised if you know it will go to waste as the healthy eating starts in January.
Waste not, want not, as mother often said!
As my blog draws to a close, I'd like to thank the wonderful tribe at 'Non-Judgy Vegans UK' Facebook group, for their helpful hints and non-judgy suggestions towards this blog. If you're looking at how you can live a greener, more sustainable life and have questions you'd like to ask, without the anxiety- these are your guys!
Whatever you're up to this Christmas, we hope you have a wonderful time with your loved ones!