Our new ‘12 days of sustainable Christmas’ campaign provides useful advice for celebrating the festive period without damaging the planet and your conscience.
December is now upon us. The first windows of advent calendars are open, the Christmas tree has engulfed the living room and perhaps the most organised amongst us will have already purchased a cargo of gifts – gifts for everyone from partners to second cousins and Julie over the road who looks after the cats when you’re on holiday.
It’s generally accepted that the Christmas period is a time of excess. When you think about the volume of waste, the wrapping paper, the packaging within the wrapping paper, the presents within the packaging within the wrapping paper, the endless food spreads and inevitable leftovers, the soon to be redundant tree and everything else that gets chucked into the festive mix. That’s a lot of…stuff.
According to a study by waste management company Biffa, the UK generates 30% more waste over Christmas than any other time of year. They estimate a usage of 227,000 miles of wrapping paper and 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging.
The Yuletide is turning
Now more than ever there is a feeling that the tide is turning towards a more sustainable, carbon-and-waste-conscious festive period. Looking back at the last 12 months, we have seen a growing presence from 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, a string of international mass protests from Extinction Rebellion and increasing pressure on large corporations to display a commitment to cutting carbon. Furthermore, this week and next week political leaders and climate diplomats are meeting in Madrid for COP25 – the latest of a series of meetings dating back to 1995 that aim to lay down the next set of goals and actions in order to restrict global temperature rises to 1.5°C.
“Sales growth in the past 12 months has fallen to its lowest ever level – just 0.1%, compared with 2.8% a decade ago”
It seems only natural that this shift towards a greener collective mindset will carry over into the Christmas period. It would seem wrong to undo everything in a month of excess at the end of each year when a less carbon-intensive approach doesn’t necessarily flatten the vibe.
However, many retailers won’t be keen to turn up to the sustainable Christmas party. According to a recent article in the Guardian, November and December traditionally account for over 20% of total annual sales and sales growth in the past 12 months has fallen to its lowest ever level – just 0.1%, compared with 2.8% a decade ago. This is something that has been attributed to Brexit uncertainty, a willingness to be greener and simply a matter of reaching “peak stuff”. Both high street and online retailers may be worried that even December won’t be enough to save them this year.
We have now landed in a situation where shamelessly materialistic Black Friday hysteria has come up against antithetical campaigns such as Green Friday and Buy Nothing Day, which aim to negate the consumerist saturation that such campaigns encourage.
12 Days of sustainable Christmas
As of 1st December, we have been posting tips for a sustainable Christmas on Twitter and Linkedin. Each tip is designed to refocus your Christmas celebrations on the things that matter, the planet and the people around you. The move away from reliance on materialistic pleasures towards having great experiences with those closest to you may provide you with more satisfaction than you’d think.
“Get creative with your kids by making decorations from old bottles and newspaper”
There is a misconception that anything environmentally-conscious will suck the fun out of proceedings, that the green amongst us are killjoys or do-gooders. In fact, it can be quite the opposite, given that stripping back can encourage creativity and shift your focus onto more long-term gratification.
Allow our 12 days of sustainable Christmas to liberate you and enjoy this month even more than you would have. Do it without the discarding of a perfectly functioning tree on your conscience, buy people experiences that give them more lasting satisfaction than a gift they may never make use of, spoil yourself with leftover recipes where you would otherwise spend more money on food, get creative with your kids by making decorations from old bottles and newspaper, turn off the TV, stop watching the 100 greatest TV moments that you’ve seen time and time again and play a game that brings everyone together and shows a side to you all that never usually comes out.
Sound like a more enrichening Christmas to you? Make sure you follow the below Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to see our sustainable Christmas tips:
Smith Bellerby Twitter
Make this Christmas your most enjoyable and greenest yet.