Holidays Social Responsibility

8 ways to have a more sustainable Christmas

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Did you know that every Christmas, the amount of waste produced by UK households increases by 30%? With six million Christmas trees and 277,000 miles of wrapping paper being thrown away each year, there are things we can all do to reduce our impact on the environment this Christmas (and save some pennies).

1. Reduce food waste

According to a report by Unilever, the UK wastes an average of two million turkeys, 74 million mince pies, and 5 million Christmas puddings every year! As well as money being wasted, this is a huge amount of food and packaging that will be heading to landfill. Try to plan ahead and only buy what you actually need. If food is left over, freeze it if you can.

2. Choose decorations wisely

Everyone loves a bit of glitz and glamour at Christmas, but often decorations such as tinsel aren’t recyclable. Try and be mindful of what you are decking your hall with – as plastic decorations can’t be recycled, try to limit the amount you buy. It’s also a good idea to consider switching to LED Christmas lights – these are much better for the environment as they use around 80% less energy than standard bulbs, also saving you money on your energy bill!

3. Use recyclable wrapping paper

Most wrapping paper is not recyclable, particularly if it’s metallic or has glitter on it. Instead of using wrapping paper, try using brown paper or even newspaper to wrap your gifts. With a little extra added foliage and decoration this can look just as festive. It’s also usually cheaper than normal wrapping paper, and is 100% recyclable. It’s estimated that if we all recycled half of the 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper produced, we’d save 25,000 trees!

4. Reduce the amount of gifts you buy

According to Amazon, 17 gifts are bought per individual on average. Rather than buying gifts for all of your friends, consider organising a Secret Santa instead or think about consumable gifts (gingerbread anyone?) – this will work out a lot cheaper, and also reduces waste and unnecessary present buying.

5. Think about the type of presents you’re buying

For those you are buying presents for, think about how you can give more sustainable gifts. There’s plenty of ways you can give presents that are low-waste, such as a house plant, a reusable water bottle or coffee cup. Alternatively, rather than buying a material present, think about buying someone an experience/ day out! You could also try creating your own DIY gifts – take a look at content ambassador Laura’s article on cutting the cost at Christmas for some tips.

6. Unplug appliances in your home

Before you leave University for Christmas, make sure that all of the appliances in your home are unplugged and the switches turned off. This can help to save money on your electricity bill as well as reduces the waste of electricity.

7. Recycle your Christmas tree

Real Christmas trees are much more sustainable than artificial trees, as long as you dispose of them correctly. If you’ve got a real Christmas tree, make sure you recycle it once Christmas is over – you can find a few ways you can do this here.

8. Don’t buy a new outfit for every occasion

While it can be tempting to buy a new outfit for every event this Christmas, try to avoid this where possible. Instead, take a look at what you’ve already got, and if you do need some new clothes, try having a look in your local charity shop.

For more information on reducing your impact on the environment, take a look at Lydia’s article on how to make your student home more sustainable. Or, if you’re thinking about ways you can cut down on your waste entirely, have a read of Laetitia’s zero-waste starter pack.

Merry Christmas!