Christmas time is here once again. Families are gathering, presents are arriving and food is in abundance. And while we are caring for our loved ones, we must also remember to care for the Earth now more than ever.
This year has been eye-opening, jolting more countries, businesses and individuals into becoming more focused on sustainability. Becoming green is no longer merely an option, but a necessity. And it is vital that we remain consistently aware of our impact on the environment during the holiday season.
So, how can you stay festive and sustainable this Christmas?
Make your decorations eco-friendly
Making decomposable decorations could significantly reduce your Christmas carbon footprint. Instead of buying plastic baubles and tinsel, why not try making a dried fruit garland or gingerbread tree decorations?
Local high streets sell materials such as wool, wood and recycled glass that can be fashioned into festive ornaments. Sourcing materials in the local area will also prevent you increasing your carbon footprint on deliveries. You could also re-use last year’s decorations, or buy some second hand. Charity shops around the country sell Christmas decorations all year round.
Decorative lighting is also a Christmas holiday staple. Switching to LED lights, or switching them off when you leave the house or go to bed, can reduce your energy emissions considerably.
Eat less meat
The UK carves around 10 million turkeys each Christmas. While the emissions created by poultry farming are relatively low, lamb and beef farming produces an average of over 15kg of CO₂ emissions per kilo of meat. And the emissions produced will only increase further during the Christmas period.
We are by no means saying that you should cut meat out of your Christmas dinner completely. But incorporating more vegetable options could reduce your carbon footprint significantly. With so many vegetarian and vegan meat substitutes now available in supermarkets, surely you could swap a couple of dishes for their more sustainable counter-parts?
Choosing your fruit and vegetables carefully is also key to keeping your carbon footprint low. While cutting out meat will bring it down, transport emissions on exotic fruit and vegetables can make it soar once more. So, try to buy local, this will help cut your CO₂ emissions and boost the economy in your local area.
Cut the waste
The UK produces over 3 million tonnes of waste during Christmas alone. Most of which will go to landfill, where it will produce high levels of methane gas and CO₂. And a lot of this is down to wrapping paper.
Around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is discarded each year. If rolled out, this would wrap around the Earth nearly 10 times! On top of this, many ribbons and bows are also plastic based. Using recyclable brown paper and string can be a sustainable alternative to these harmful wrapping options. If you do receive a gift that is wrapped in unrecyclable wrapping paper, try to open the gift carefully (we know it’s hard). You can then keep the paper and recycle it for next year! Also steer away from gifts with a large amount of unnecessary packaging.
An astounding volume of food waste and subsequent packaging is generated at Christmas time. When shopping for your festive feast, try to only buy food that is needed, with as little packaging as possible. And get creative with your leftovers! This will not only save you money and cut waste, but it will also give you the chance to create a whole new delicious meal.
Keep your tree green
Christmas tree farms are great for the environment. They create jobs, generate more oxygen and bring Christmas cheer. Most importantly, they are biodegradable. After the festive season, these trees can be turned into mulch or compost if discarded ethically.
If you would prefer to use an artificial tree, make sure that you buy a second-hand one. Not only are you giving a perfectly good tree a second chance, you won’t be buying into the creation of more plastic, synthetic products.
How can Monarch help?
Becoming sustainable should be a priority for everyone. Many may see incorporating sustainable habits into every day life as complicated and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
At Monarch, we focus on helping our clients to reach their net zero goals. With more than 30 years of experience, we can find the most effective solutions for your business, tailored to your individual energy consumption. We want to make becoming sustainable easy for everyone.
Get in touch to hear more about how Monarch can help you to become sustainable, all year round.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas from the Monarch team!