A Better Christmas
So let’s start by saying that we love Christmas.
We love the coziness, the getting together with friends, the warm hugs and the occasional eggnog. We love closing the door to the office and walking away, to spend some time with our families and our communities in front of the fire, watching TV that we wouldn't normaly be caught dead watching.
But while risking coming over a little Grinchy, we’re starting to get a little worried about the over-consumption, and the impact it has on our planet.
In the UK over Christmas, 150 million cards will be posted and around 42,000 tons of aluminium foil wrap will be used. Over 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be consumed.
And around 60 million Christmas presents will be unwanted.
It’s fair to say, this year, Christmas 2021 will be even bigger, with Christmas last year being cancelled with millions not able to go home due to the pandemic, and government restrictions. It is predicted the average household will spend £2,500 this Christmas which is 29% more than in a typical month.
But, of course, tis’ the season of giving, spending time with our loved ones and a time to reflect on the past year on how we can achieve our goals, no matter how big or small.
With The Plant recently becoming an official B-Corp accredited, we have our responsibility to do justice tour commitment, not only for our planet but to the people and the society we live in. So, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to reduce our indulgence and hope to have a greener Christmas this year.
Thinking about your Christmas Dinner already?
Let’s face it, our eyes are usually bigger than our stomachs when it comes to sitting down at the Christmas table - piling mountains of food on our plate (all preparing ourselves for an afternoon slump in front of the TV.) It’s to be said that the average household ends up throwing away more than a million tonnes of roast dinners every year. That’s bad for the environment and our bank balances – collectively we waste £94 million, and that’s just on gravy! As you may know, food waste is a global issue, and tackling it is a cause that’s close to our hearts.
We’ve put together some ideas on how collectively we can reduce our waste this year.
- Always plan (Make a shopping list, before you tackle your local superstore)
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach
- Look at the use-by dates
- Become BFFs with your freezer (If you do have leftovers, then you can freeze it; bread sauce, turkey, Stilton, roast potatoes, mince pies, vegetables… even wine!)
- Go out for Christmas dinner instead (plus it's hassle-free!).
- Donate / Give it away - Donate the food to a homeless shelter.
Let’s shop and give gifts with intent this year.
It’s hard to ignore that around 60 million Christmas gifts will be unwanted. But ‘tis also the season of showering our loved ones with small tokens of our gratitude. To reduce unnecessary waste, we need to shop consciously instead of shopping impulsively. Here’s a quick list of how we can help our planet and still give meaningfully.
- Get your family/friends to make a Christmas wish list (this way you are buying something they want)
- It's always important to shop small and independent where possible, especially this year with everything that's been happening due to lockdown.
- Hand-made your gifts. Something personal, and won’t cost the earth.
- Gift an experience, something that will be memorable.
- Charitable gifting. Adopt an animal or donate to a cause on behalf of your friend or family member.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly - Fa la la, la la!
Another important asset to Christmas is Christmas decorations. Although Christmas decorations are nearly 98% made of plastic - we do reuse them over and over again (which isn’t that bad) But, you may be someone who has just moved into a new house, with zero Christmas decorations, and thinking of an alternative to plastic. We recommend getting crafty and starting to make your decorations instead of buying - your bank account balance and the planet will be thankful.
- Dried oranges. Buy a couple of oranges, cut them up into slices and bake the orange slices (on low) for a few hours so they dry out. Tie a string to them. You can use these to create a garland, tree decorations or incorporate it into your wreath.
- Create your advent calendar - To make something like this, you’ll need a nice looking stick in the woods, reuse packing from recent orders (perhaps Amazon?) - (you’ll also need 25 pieces to make into a parcel envelope), Double-sided tape, string or rope a hole punch and a knife.
- Create your wreath with your Christmas tree branches, pick up a few pine cones and spend a morning at Columbia Road Flower Market to gather a few stems of Eucalyptus and berries. Don’t forget you’ll also need florist wire to shape the wreath and either string or sellotape to hold it all together.
We hope this small mini guide helps you in taking the next steps to become more sustainable and have a greener Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you, with love from everyone at The Plant.