Whilst we are all busy getting into the Christmas spirit, eating too much food (pretending December calories don’t count) and spending time with family; it is easy to forget about staying sustainable. But don’t worry we have prepared a list of 12 easy ways you can stay sustainable in the festive season.
1. Try making your own gifts
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me; A partridge in a pear tree
If your loved ones for some reason, don’t want a partridge in a pear tree then why not create something better? Crafting your own gifts can be a rewarding experience, and personal gifts are always meaningful. You can take it one step further by using recycled and sustainable materials.
2. If you really are awful at DIY then buy your Christmas presents from local businesses
By supporting locally owned small businesses, it stimulates the local economy and keeps money and jobs within our community. Not only this, but it makes Bristol the unique and vibrant city that it is. There are plenty of Christmas markets happening so you can take your pick:-
3. Eat ALL the left overs
Reduce your food waste by eating EVERYTHING!! And if you really can’t fit it in, freeze it and have it in the New Year
4. Give charitable contributions
Stuck for present ideas? Why not make a contribution to their favourite charity? Or if there is nothing you particularly need, request that they give a donation. Christmas is the time of giving and what better way to do this by giving to those in need.
5. FIVE GOLDEN RINGS! (joking) Wrap your gifts the right way
Use only paper which is recyclable, practice Furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping gifts in fabric (think old clothes!) or use old newspaper.
6. Send e-cards
Don’t waste time, money and trees on expensive Chrimbo cards, send e-cards instead! You can get creative with paint and make your own or use a website. These ones are all completely free - https://www.thebalance.com/free-ecards-and-virtual-greeting-cards-1356640
7. Reduce the Juice
Use energy saving lightbulbs, turn the Christmas lights off when you go to sleep, shorten your shower time, fill the kettle with only the amount you need. Check out the why and how at reduce the juice.com - http://www.reducethejuice.co.uk/how-and-why
8. Share your Christmas cheer and do some volunteering
There are plenty of volunteering opportunities in the festive period and it’s a great way to make sure that everyone has a wonderful Christmas. Take a look on info hub to see what you can get up to: https://infohub.uwe.ac.uk/students/jobs/search?text=&typeofwork=5312&location=&country=Any
9. Car share to show you care
For travelling over the holiday period save petrol, money and the environment by sharing your ride with friends and family. You can even have a sing along to all the festive tunes.
Here are some useful sites for finding car shares around the UK: https://www.blablacar.co.uk/ , http://carshare.liftshare.com/ , http://gocarshare.com/ .
10. Try out your baking skills and make some vegan treats!
As you may know dairy products are extremely detrimental to our environment and also to the well-being of cows and chickens. The total carbon footprint of the UK dairy sector, including emissions from dairy farms, transport, distribution, processing and end use, is estimated to be 15.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year (Carbon Trust, 2011). Just for comparison, if you drive to and from work every working day for an average of 40km (25 miles) a day, your car’s yearly emissions of CO2 will be around 1.35 tonnes. And that’s just the UK! So why not try out making some delicious vegan treats to save the cows and our planet. Check out some of the recipes on this page: http://www.foodblogs.com/re cipetin-eats/2014/04/28/15-amazing-vegan-cakes
11. Recycle your wrapping paper
Would you believe that the equivalent of 11,624 football pitches of wrapping paper ends up in our waste bins after Christmas, together with around 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging!!! Most shiny Christmas wrapping paper is not recyclable as it contains glitter, plastics and other non-paper additives. Make sure you recycle or re-use!
12. One man’s trash is another man’s (or woman’s) treasure
It’s likely that you will receive some unwanted presents, maybe a mango cutter from your grandma or an ugly jumper from a distant aunt BUT someone else would snap those up immediately. Don’t throw them away and add to the pile of rubbish in the ocean, instead donate it to a charity shop or sell it on Ebay for some extra dollar (we won't tell anyone, promise).
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Green Team!
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