Tips for an eco-friendly Christmas

While Christmas is a magical time for many, some traditions can really put a strain on the planet. RGU Student and Go Green member Brioney shares her top tips for an eco-friendly Christmas.

After deadlines and exams, I bet you are excited for Christmas and winding down with family and friends. It might seem impossible to try to achieve a perfect Christmas that doesn’t hurt the planet, but here are some great ways to get you in the festive and eco-friendly mood!

Eco-friendly advent calendar

Advent calendars are a good way to build up some excitement until Christmas with a daily treat or gift, for both children and adults. However, an estimated 16.5 million advert calendars containing single use plastic are in circulation this year. By being careful in your choice of calendar this Christmas you can put less strain on the planet.

If you are a fan of chocolate, consider trying a vegan advent calendar this year such as by brands like ‘moo free’. This will help reduce your calendar’s carbon footprint since just one litre of milk produces 1.3kg of CO2.

You can also try to make your own DIY calendar with little gifts inside as a fun festive activity that can be reused every year. The good thing about this alternative is you can fill your calendar with whatever you want, from bath bombs to jewellery or even stationery!

Low-carbon Christmas tree

Buying a new tree every year and getting rid of it after the festive season has a negative impact on the environment. Opting for a fake tree and using it every Christmas is a good solution to reduce your carbon footprint. But keep in mind that you need to use your fake tree at least 10 times to negate its carbon footprint, so choose one you know you won’t get tired of. Or you could even buy a second-hand tree to save money!

If you prefer the more natural aspect of a real tree, there are also ways to be mindful of the planet. Make sure your tree is FSC-certified, and think about replanting it after the festive season is over if it is potted. If it’s not, do some research on how you can recycle your tree in your local area.

You can also bring nature indoors to decorate your tree sustainably. For example, you could swap tinsel for natural foliage. If you like crafts, why not try making your own Christmas decorations with things you have at home? But if you want to go for a quick and easy alternative you can buy at the shops, choose decorations made from recycled wood, fabric and glass over plastic or PVC, which are non-recyclable.

Sustainable gifts

Did you know that in 2016 alone, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper was thrown away? Changing the wrapping you use is just one of the ways you can reduce your waste this Christmas.

In order to try to cut back on unnecessary consumption, consider getting some of your presents for your friends and family from your favourite charity shops. There are plenty in town on Union Street or around the Rosemount area.

Ask your friends and family what they want before you buy to make sure you don’t get them anything they don’t actually want or need! Indeed, over half of UK adults say they have received gifts they don’t want at Christmas.

Once you have your presents ready, try wrapping them in plastic-free wrapping paper. You could also consider alternative wrapping options like gift bags that can be reused or try Japanese wrapping cloths. Even newspaper can be a fun and unique way to wrap your presents!

Vegan Christmas dinner

It might be hard to imagine a classic and tasty Christmas dinner vegan. However, I have some easy tips to share to help you cut back on meat consumption this Christmas.

Firstly, you can swap out the chicken for a plant based option such as Quorn ‘meat’ or even Tofu. Poultry is in the top 10 most wasted foods in the UK and 100,000 tonnes of it ends up in the bin every year! There are a lot of festive options for vegan meals found in your local Aldi or ASDA.

The rest of the dinner can include your favourite roasted vegetables like parsnips, and of course roast potatoes. You can roast everything with plenty of oil or dairy free butter to make it even more delicious. And don’t forget to season your “meat” with herbs and spices of your choice.

Lastly, the perfect Christmas dinner isn’t complete without some vegan gravy and cranberry sauce!

Brioney Redmond

Let us know how you will be making your Christmas more eco-friendly this year by leaving a comment. Enjoy the break everyone!

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