How to be more Environmentally Conscious this Christmas

By Jo Phillips

Re-use your Tree

Most artificial trees are made from nasty plastic. They impose an environmental cost when they’re made and disposed of, and they need to be reused again and again if they’re going to offset these costs. With that said, if you already have an artificial tree in the house, then this cost is already sunk. Another option comes in the form of a rented tree, which can be returned to the farm on which it’s grown.

Ship Sensibly

If you can’t be there to present your gift in person, then choosing a more lightweight gift will reduce the energy required to get it from one place to another: which in turn means less emissions. If you’re shipping a package over a long distance, then choosing a reputable parcel delivery service. You’ll be able to track its progress, and in the process become more mindful of how much you’re emitting along the way.

Light Sensibly

If you’re in the market for Christmas lights this year, then bear in mind that you’re going to be running these lights for several Christmases to come. Hyper-efficient LED bulbs will save you money; go for something stylish and warm-white, that way you can use your fairy-lights throughout the year, draped across the back of your sofa to create a cosy space.

Wrap Sensibly

Some of the more glittery, ostentatious wrapping paper is infused with foil, plastic and other elements which can’t be recycled. Every year, British households throw away mountains of this stuff – and all of it eventually finds its way to a hole in the ground somewhere. Look for a recyclable solution instead. You might even take it upon yourself to spruce up some standard parcel paper!

Shop Sensibly

Christmas is a time of excess. As such, we’re likely to relax (or entirely dispense with) our ethical concerns for the duration of the season. Even households with vegans in them are unlikely to get rid of the turkey, however, environmentally disastrous turkey-farming might be.

With a little bit of planning, you’ll be able to reduce the miles travelled by your food, and the amount of landmass and water used in its manufacture. Make sure also that you get maximum mileage from the food you buy. Clear a space in your freezer and use it to store all of your leftovers for consumption over January and February. Don’t buy food that won’t be eaten just for the sake of filling out your buffet; it’s better to go for something slightly pricier that will be eaten than to have a steady supply of biscuits that’ll go straight in the bin.