How to have an eco-Christmas
Buying gifts can be a challenge at the best of times, but don’t panic! Making sure you give planet-friendly presents isn’t as tough as you might think – here are some tips to help you along the way:
- Look out for gifts that come with as little packaging as possible, or at least some you can recycle.
- Quality not quantity! A family Secret Santa means you don't have to buy for everyone.
- Opt for secondhand. If you're doing a Secret Santa, how about a rule that it has to be bought from a charity shop or a second-hand website!
- Why not put together a zero-waste kit? You could include a portable cup, a biodegradable lunchbox, or some wax food wraps. Look for more ideas in our shop.
- Make something yourself. You can choose your own packaging, and the personal effort makes a gift priceless! Cook up some fudge or make your own gin.
- Tote bags are a fun gift and a great way to avoid plastic bags at the checkout.
- Adopt an animal as a gift.
- Give an experience - how about Wildlife Trust membership.
- Buy sustainable products. How about a Hebridean wool blanket. Spun in Yorkshire with wool from the local Wildlife Trust’s grazing flock of rare breed Hebridean sheep. Hats and shawls are available too.
- If you are sending Christmas cards you can recycle last year's to make your own. Alternatively, send a eCard that raises funds for nature.
Wrapping it up
Of course, choosing the gift is just the beginning – think before you wrap it up:
- Shiny wrapping paper is pretty, but it’s not recyclable! The same goes for glittery paper. Use brown paper for a lovely vintage look.
- Sellotape is made of plastic but you can get brown paper tape - or get creative with some ribbon or string. Better yet, go for a reusable option like a box, bag, or cloth.
- Don’t forget your Christmas cards – the same rules go for glittery and shiny cards. Watch out for the plastic wrappers too. Try to find ones sold loose or packaged differently - or have a go at making your own! Or, you could send a Wildlife Trust e-card!
- Save any Christmas cards and cut them up to use as tags for next year.
We waste a lot of food throughout the year but figures reach a high over Christmas!
- Don't buy too much. Plan meals so you know how much food you'll need.
- Shop local to avoid food miles. Often local markets are a great way of avoiding plastic-wrapped fruit and veg too.
- Get a local veg box delivery. Often they are from local farms, plastic-free and are full of wonky-looking veg. All wins for the planet!
- Compost vegetable waste.
- Eat your leftovers. Some of the tastiest meals are made from yesterday's food.
- Cut down on meat and dairy. Meat has a big carbon footprint so try out some vegetarian or vegan alternatives.
- Organic means that fewer chemicals are used and is a big help for wildlife. Make one or two switches to organic produce in your next shop. Even small changes make a big difference.
Chances are you have a magical cupboard at home full of sparkly Christmas decorations that come out every year. If so, great! Make the most of what you have and don’t throw them out unless you have to! BUT, if you want to add something new, make sure you think first!
- Avoid tinsel. Those little bits that end up sprinkled all over the house are plastic. Instead have a go at making your own decorations. How about some bunting, dried fruit, origami, pinecones or popcorn tinsel!
- Reuse your Christmas tree 🎄
- Buy a pre-loved fake one instead of a new one. Check out Freecycle , eBay or Gumtree.
- Rent a tree. These trees are grown in special pots that can be dug up and replanted year after year. Check it is grown sustainably first.
- Look after a real tree. Growing trees is always great but transporting and disposing of them isn't good for the environment. So look after your tree and reuse it year on year.
- If you do get a real tree here are some tips on how to recycle it at the end of the month.
- Get creative for nature. You could make your very own wreath that’ll feed the birds as well as looking great!
- Turn off your Christmas lights overnight and when you are out the house to save energy.
- Turn down your heating a notch or two and save money as well as the planet
- Avoid buying Christmas crackers which often contain plastic toys. Make your own using toilet roll tubes instead. Writing your own jokes is the best bit!
- Make your own natural table decorations - holly leaves and dried fruit look fantastic.
- Avoid synthetic candles which can give off chemicals. There are plenty of vegan, natural alternatives.
Avoid throwaway plastic, go homemade, and keep wildlife in mind. It’ll add a sweet personal touch that’ll mean the world to someone this Christmas!