The holiday season is upon us, the Christmas tunes are playing, mince pies are on the shelves and your wallet is feeling lighter.
This time of year is a joyous one, but some of the decisions we make this month can have a massive impact on our planet. It’s possible to spread holiday cheer without widening your carbon footprint.
Let’s look at some small changes you can make this month to have an eco-friendly Christmas...
Make recycled Christmas decorations
Decorating your office or home is a charming way to spread the holiday spirit and can be done without creating excessive waste. Homemade decorations are a great way to use materials that you already have around the home.
A quick Pinterest search for 'handmade Christmas' will bring back hundreds of classy and beautiful options for spreading some waste-free cheer.
Low power Christmas lights
Switching from incandescent string lights to LED lights can lower your electricity bill and your impact by reducing your energy usage. LED holiday lights use 90% less energy than traditional bulbs. Indoor LED lights only use about 0.06W per bulb, compared to 0.5W per bulb on traditional fairy lights.
Over the course of the season this small change could result in significant savings and allow you to enjoy your festive display with peace of mind.
Recycled wrapping paper and cards
During the holiday season our paper usage skyrockets as we purchase endless wrapping paper and post all those cards. A study found that 38,300 tonnes of extra paper waste will be generated at Christmas time. However, there are simple alternatives to combat this massive amount of waste.
Wrapping presents in newspaper or magazines can be a fun way to use all that extra paper that’s going in to your recycling bin. For Secret Santa in our office this year we wrapped our gifts in sheets of product labels from one of our members, innocent, who kindly sent us these excess sheets from their printer that were due to be recycled - and now we've been able to reuse them first, saving our team from buying lots of paper!
For an eco-friendly card option, instead of posting paper cards to friends and family opt for festive e-cards to add some cheer to their inbox.
When the fun’s all over
What about all of the waste that’s left over after your celebrations? Almost all wrapping paper can be recycled in the normal paper waste stream. The only types of paper to exclude are shiny metallic and glitter varieties. This article from WRAP sums it up nicely with their suggestion of a ‘scrunch test’- if you can scrunch the paper into a ball, then you can recycle it.
Remember that all of your light up decorations and string lights should be recycled, either through your local council’s collections or at a household recycling centre. For a reminder of what should/shouldn’t be recycled through your household waste stream, take a look at this article for more information.
The list doesn’t stop there!
Simple changes like those outlined above can allow you to have a happy holiday season while respecting the planet. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but hopefully it’s spurred you to start thinking about other ways you can lower your impact this season. Here’s to a happy, healthy, planet-friendly holiday!
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Client services manager
Abigail joined Ecosurety in 2015 and is now Client services manager, ensuring our team provide valuable support to our clients and look for additional value we can add beyond compliance. She graduated in 2014 with a BSc in Environmental Studies from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. Her degree is a reflection of her passion for environmental issues, which were evoked while growing up surrounded by the beautiful natural landscape of New England.
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