Have yourself a merry sustainable Christmas!

Christmas is a time for eating, drinking and being merry.... oh and presents, lots of presents. But how can we all do our bit to make this Christmas a little bit more sustainable?

We’ve gathered a couple of ideas together for a more sustainable Christmas, but we’d love you to send some in to climateemergency@warwickshire.gov.uk if you have more.

  1. Choose your wrapping paper wisely and go for recycled. Or if you fancy being creative, get some rolls of brown wrapping paper and print your own designs on the paper. You can buy stamps which can be used again and again, or for the very adventurous of you make some potato stamps - this might be one to do with the children. Cut down on the amount of tape you use too and use paper string which can be recycled or ribbons which can be used again.
  2. Make some of the gifts you give. You could make some simple biscuits or some chocolate truffles. Package everything in paper bags which you can decorate. Try this simple biscuit recipe from the These are also suitable to make into Christmas tree decorations. If you’re a dab hand at knitting, why not knock up a scarf or a pair of gloves as a gift?
  3. Shop and buy locally. Supporting local businesses is good for our local economy but it also helps the environment by avoiding driving to bigger shopping centres. Shopping in local independent stores also means you might find something unique that you won’t get elsewhere.
  4. Rent a Christmas tree. The idea is simple – you rent a Christmas tree, the company delivers it to your home, you decorate it, then when Christmas is over, they come back, pick it up and replant it. Some families who do this have even been renting the same tree each year. This gets a big green sustainable tick. But if you can’t rent one it’s better to go for a real one rather than buying an artificial one. According to the BBC, researchers have found that real Christmas trees have a smaller carbon footprint and are therefore better for the environment than fake ones. That means the grower has planted a new tree for each one they chop down. In fact, The Woodland Trust say that up to 10 trees are planted for each one tree cut down.
  5. According to Sustainable(ish) the UK will throw away up to one billion Christmas cards after Christmas. An alternative to Christmas cards is to send an e-card online, but if you would still like to send a physical card how about sending on that you can do something with afterwards. This is where plantable cards come in. It’s like two gifts in one – a card plus some beautiful flowers further along the line. These ones on EcoVibe are great.
  6. Avoid single use plastic gifts by choosing products made from biodegradable or recyclable materials. Alternatively, introduce your gift recipient to a local zero waste store where you can refill your own bottles. Buy some lovely bottles that can be used again and fill them with bubble bath or shampoo. Or go down the food route and fill containers with pasta, oils or snacks. Google ‘zero waste shop’ to find your nearest and read our case study about the zero waste store Rugby Unwrapped.
  7. Make your own Christmas crackers and fill them with anything from sweets to flower seeds. It’s always best to avoid plastic toys, let’s be honest, nobody wants an excitable child with a whistle sat at the table – and it’s much better for the environment too.
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