GREEN CHRISTMAS:
HOW TO MAKE THE FESTIVE SEASON MORE SUSTAINABLE

From recyclable wrapping paper to vegan roasts, we’ve got every nook, cranny and nibble of the festive season sorted.

Forget White Christmas. Sure, it’s a cracker of a Christmas film. But it’s the twenty-first century, and we’re dreaming of a Green Christmas this year around – just like the ones we don’t yet know.

Christmas, after all, may be the season of giving, but it’s also the season of giving the environment around us a really hard time. From one billion Christmas cards sold a year in the UK to 30% extra waste, it’s not a very jolly season for the atmosphere around us.

Worse, still, is that we often don’t really care. A new report by KIS Finance suggests that while 61% of people claim to be concerned about the environment, only 9% prioritise this when Christmas shopping. Dogmas are for Christmas, not just for life, guys.

It’s not difficult to see why this is the case. When you’re racing around a perspiring Hamleys on Christmas Eve trying to get the latest polymer nightmare, the last thing on your mind is Greta Thunberg’s view on plastics.

With a week to go until the big day, we’ve come up with a few suggestions that just might change that. We’re not saying you should scrap presents altogether, or have a frozen Christmas without heating – but a few small steps could go a long way. 

And give an excuse to avoid that Hamleys trip.

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IT’S A WRAP

The UK bins the equivalent of 108m rolls of Christmas wrapping paper every festive season. Which probably warrants one of those ‘if you stretched them all out you could reach the moon and back’ facts, but we’re not maths boffins. But basically, that’s a load.

There’s lots of ways to make a difference, while still keeping your Christmas a wrapper’s delight. It might seem a bit overkill, but try keeping and reusing your wrapping paper for future prezzies (i.e., don’t rip it open like a five year old). Alternatively, you can switch up your wrapping paper for brown paper (recycled, like our new magazine paper!) or even ditch paper altogether for cute fabric wraps.

GO NUTS

It’s nuts to think that 24% of all food products launched this year in the UK were vegan. Again, though, a rise in ethical living doesn’t translate to Christmas. Ten million turkeys will still probably be flogged this year, which any veggie statistician will eagerly tell you equals exactly ten million deaths.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to move onto a nut roast (though they are ace, trust). But even a few small steps could help. Swapping your cheese board from a vegan one from La Fauxmangerie or having a meat-free Boxing Day could be ace. And if you’re really 2019, you’ll make sure to leave Santa a glass of hemp milk with his oatmeal cookie.

SECOND-HAND EXPERIENCE

With much of the 3 million tonnes of extra waste produced each Christmas being plastic, it’s time to think about buying more second-hand and sustainable goods. 

You can get some absolute bargains on resale sites like Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay – especially on otherwise pricey musical equipment and technology.

If you want to buy new, try to support independent, ethical or local business where you can. Christmas can be a tough time for them if they’re forgotten about in lieu of the big players – so go show some merry love and back brands with a moral backbone.

BARKING MAD

Eight million Christmas trees are bought in the UK per year, resulting in 12,000 tonnes of waste. Add that to the 30m trees used for Christmas cards, and it’s a rough few weeks for the forest.

If you’ve got a natural Christmas tree, make sure to either chop it up small and put it in your recycling bin, or recycle it at your local household waste centre. Try thinking about a faux one for the future – the best option being wood – no shedding too!

Oh, and here’s a list of some gift ideas to boost your Green Christmas:

Reusable fabric crackers, Wearth London, £14.
Vegan sock multipack, WAWWA, £24.
Wooden Christmas tree, Nautilus Design, £185.
Artisan vegan cheese, La Fauxmangerie, various.
210m Brown Paper roll (recycled), £14.11.

Words by Kyle MacNeill

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