With the impact of Christmas and wider consumer culture (a big factor in reducing carbon emissions), it is important that we consider how we can reduce our carbon footprint. Especially at this time of year, it is crucial to make strides towards a carbon-neutral Christmas that doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment.
Here are some tips of what every family can do to limit its carbon footprint and help the planet – and society – this festive season…
1. Reuse wrapping paper
Tons upon tons of wrapping paper is thrown away each year, especially on Christmas Day. Whilst previous advice may have been to opt for recyclable paper (and this should be preferable to the disposable kind), an even better way to limit your impact on the environment is by reusing wrapping paper each year. Of course, this requires a bit of care taken when unwrapping – especially for children – so it’s not without its flaws. Apply the same logic to gift bags and name tags, too.
2. Repurpose Christmas cards
Whilst you can’t exactly send the same Christmas card each year, you can repurpose the ones you receive. Either opt to put them back on display or use the cards to make Christmas tree decorations. Most Christmas cards will be laminated, so with a little sprinkle of craftsmanship, you can repackage cards up as decorations, which isn’t only good for the environment but it’ll save you a few quid, too. Also, consider sending e-cards this year as a means to further reduce carbon emissions.
3. Pass on gifts to those who need it
If you have a gift that you don’t necessarily need (especially children’s toys), consider donating them to those who need it. If you aren’t aware of anyone in need, there are local initiatives and charities that would welcome the donations. Community Facebook groups are a great place to enquire about how to go about this. Please do not purchase anything to donate, but perhaps look to donate something you already own – or have been gifted – instead.
4. Donate food to those less fortunate
A growing Christmas trend is to donate a plate of food – or an entire dinner – on 25th December to homeless shelters. This excellent initiative reduces the waste in homes – and most importantly, it feeds those who need it at a difficult time of year for many. Also, opt to donate food items to foodbanks ahead of Christmas, and please scour your kitchen cupboards for anything you can gift on a regular basis throughout the year.