If you are conscious of your environmental impact then the festive period can be a time of worry. There is often a lot of waste at Christmas and this doesn’t sit well with those who try and do their bit for the environment during the rest of the year. Outside of the money you spend, there are a lot of traditions around Christmas time, like decorations, lots of food stuffs and presents that all have the potential for waste and damage to the environment. However, there are some simple things that we can all do to help in being a bit more eco friendly this year. Take a look at our top tips on how to be sustainable during Christmas.

Make Sure Your Tree is Recycled

One of the biggest problems every year at Christmas is the disposal of Christmas Trees, as many people choose to throw them rather than recycling. As trees are for the short term, there are often millions of trees each year mixed in with rubbish that goes to landfill and this is something we want to try and avoid. Find your local tree recycling center here and make sure that you do the sustainable thing and get your tree recycled. A great alternative is buying a real tree and reusing it every year. A more eco-friendly Christmas tree option is also available from places that rent trees from a forest and then replant the trees for when they aren’t in use.

Recycle Paper from Gifts

One way that you can minimise your carbon footprint this year is to make sure that you recycle all of the paper from gifts by either sending it to recycling, or unwrapping presents carefully and reusing the paper for other gifts. You can store wrapping paper year round with the tips in our blog. Although people will likely use Christmas paper for wrapping, it's unusual to see the whole family on the same day so you may have time to wrap presents after you’ve exchanged with loved ones on Christmas day. Gift bags are great as you can reuse them time and time again so consider gifting presents in these rather than using paper for more sustainable Christmas gift giving.

Sustainable Christmas Cards

Although sending Christmas cards is on the decline, if you are someone that still likes to send season’s greetings through the post then think about sustainable options. The Woodland Trust shop has a great range of Christmas cards that have been sustainably sourced and all proceeds go to protecting Britain’s forests. A rising trend is also plantable Christmas cards like Wildflower papers and a range of other plantable cards that come with seeds. This is a great way to spread Christmas cheer and do something good for the environment at the same time. This can reduce waste with cards going in the bin and not being recycled properly. If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint all year, check out our tips on simple ways to reduce plastic use in the new year.

Get a Smart Meter

You can also be more environmentally friendly over the festive period by using a smart meter in your home to monitor your energy usage. Nobody wants to be a scrooge at Christmas time and constantly be watching a meter but it's good to be more conscious of your energy usage. If your house is warm and you’re not feeling cold, have a look at the meter and your usage and consider turning your heating down or even off for a few hours during the day. Think about the electricity you’re using in other ways too - if it’s daytime, you don’t need to have the Christmas lights on the whole time. Small changes can make a big difference for the environment.

Consider Food Waste

Planning out your food needs carefully over the festive period can always be difficult and it’s likely that you will be faced with leftovers. There is always leftover turkey, so think about recipes that can make use of the rest of the meat in the days after Christmas. Freeze food that isn’t going out of date if you don’t need it and remember to check the dates of things on boxing day. There are also food leftover apps like Olio, that allow you to donate leftover food to the homeless or those in need over the festive period. If you have been gifted lots of biscuits or chocolate and don’t need them, consider donating these too!

These are just some of our top tips on making sure you think about being a bit more sustainable this Christmas. It’s a time of joy and happiness spending time with your loved ones but we can all do our bit to help the environment!

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