Every Christmas, the UK’s waste increases by 30%, a scary number for a season that’s meant to be about thinking of others, from gifts that support our earth to festive foods that won’t pollute the planet, here are 15 tips for a sustainable Christmas. 

Planet-friendly presents

Buy one big gift

A great way to cut down on unnecessary waste is by choosing one big present instead of lots of small ones. This can either be through Secret Santa in larger families or by buying a more specific, meaningful gift, or even better buying that one gift that really counts – an eco gift. 

A study found that 1 in 9 UK shoppers will return a Christmas gift because they received something they didn’t want or need. Choosing to give fewer presents this year will ensure people will end up with less that they don’t need. 

Give an experience 

Cut down on waste and create a more meaningful gift by buying your loved ones an experience instead. Whether that be the traditional sky-diving experience for the thrill-seeker or eco experiences that help lower carbon footprints or have a positive planet impact such as foraging, outdoor dining, craft and kid-friendly nature experiences, you can choose the perfect event, or adventure, for those around you. 

 If you’re looking for something with a lower carbon footprint then consider climate positive experiences such as folliaging and crafting, planet and astral education, or an experience you can do together to create a more memorable Christmas. 

Adopt an animal 

Now, we aren’t encouraging you to buy a puppy this year (a dog is for life, not just for Christmas), but instead adopt your loved ones an endangered animal, for a guilt-free gift. 

WWF offers a wide range of animals you can adopt, from elephants, rhinos, and tigers to pandas, penguins, and polar bears. Many local animal sanctuaries right here in the UK also offer adoption as well. 

Gift something handmade 

If you want to help the environment and save yourself some money in the process then consider a handmade gift this year. If you love sewing, painting, baking, or general crafting then get creative and create something personal. 

If you’re not the best with your hands, then try handmade cookies this year for an easy yet delicious present. 

Choose something that will last 

We often panic-buy presents at Christmas because we aren’t sure what to choose, a great way to avoid this useless waste is by choosing a Christmas gift that will last. 

A great example of this is a potted houseplant, this isn’t only kind to the planet, but your loved one will find joy in the gift over and over again, if cared for properly, this gift can last forever! 

Low waste Christmas trees 

Keep hold of your artificial tree 

Plastic trees last for years but they take an enormous amount of energy to manufacture, and it’s a big piece of synthetic waste to dispose of in the future, but if you already have an artificial tree then keep using it for as long as possible, then consider environmentally friendly disposing options when it’s reached the end of its life.

If you are on the market for a fake tree, then try to purchase one secondhand to reduce manufacturing pollution. 

Sustainable real trees 

If you’re buying a real tree this year then ensure to look for the FSC certification logo to ensure it has been grown in a way that’s both sustainable and environmentally friendly. If you’re looking for one that’s been certified as organic and pesticide-free, then watch out for approval by the Soil Association

Recycling your real tree 

Once you’re done with your real tree you need to recycle it properly. Many councils offer recycling options for trees, with allocated locations you can leave your tree or a tip/recycling centre. 

These trees are often shredded and used as mulch on plants in local parks or on woodland paths. 

Grow your own

Purchasing a Christmas tree with roots enables you to grow it outside and use it again year after year, reducing your environmental impact and saving you money. These trees are available for purchase in pots, but for maximum growth plant them into the ground for a lovely addition to your garden all year round, ready to use at Christmas for years to come. 

Rent a Christmas tree 

More and more places are now offering a Christmas tree hire service over the month of December, this is where you borrow a potted tree to decorate your home then it is returned to continue growing. 

sustainable christmas

Festive Foods 

Cut down your meat 

Globally, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems combined, shifting towards a meatless diet is an amazing way to combat climate change. Cutting down your meat consumption at Christmas will help save the planet.

Vegan or vegetarian meals don’t have to be a boring nut roast anymore, visit Vegan Food & Living for a brilliant range of delicious meatless recipes

Choose organic meat 

If you can’t shake your meat craving then try to choose organic and free-range meat as well as supporting small-scale farming where possible. Although this might be a slightly more expensive option, it’s much better for you and the environment. 

Support local 

Rather than hitting the big supermarkets this year, try to shop at your local, independent retailers instead. You will not only be supporting a more sustainable supply chain, but you’ll be putting a smile on a small business owner’s face, and putting money back into your local economy.

Shop in season 

Reduce carbon emissions created by shipping food from overseas by only eating food that is in season. Choose from a range of delicious, British grown food such as Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Celery, Leeks, Parsnips, Potatoes, Shallots, Swedes, Turnips, and Wild Mushrooms, which are all in season right now. 

Plan your Christmas meals 

Every year in the UK, 7 million tonnes of food is wasted, with a staggering amount of this from the Christmas period. Whilst we all fear having too little food at Christmas, writing a list is a must before hitting the shops to avoid panic buying and the waste it produces. 

If you do end up with leftover food, consider what you can make it into before you go to chuck it away. A curry, some soup, or stir fry is a great way to use leftover fruit and veg. 

Download the GoEthical App for a more ethical future

Shop from GoEthical this festive season, whether you have a specific product in mind, or you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas. Buy and sell sustainable, artisan, ethical, pre-loved and eco-friendly products at our store.

Chat and connect with like-minded community members, and discover detailed listings for ethical and eco products from small sellers to well-known global brands for the personal touch this Christmas.

Download the GoEthical app for a sustainable Christmas:

For queries please either email us on enquiries@GoEthical.com

or call us on 020 8337 2175, we look welcome all to our community and forward to hearing from you.

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