Christmas: the most wasteful time of the year?

November 7, 2022

It can be hard to ‘think green’ at a time of year when people are usually indulging themselves more than usual. But with 30% more waste generated during the festive season compared to the rest of the year, it’s really important to think carefully about your consumption at Christmas.

Lots of our Christmas traditions are rooted in excess, with shops encouraging us to buy bigger and better each year in terms of food, presents and decorations. This year, why not start a new tradition of trying something new each year to make your Christmas a bit more eco-friendly. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Every year, 8 million Christmas trees are cut down for the season in the UK alone, with many millions of those ending up in landfill afterwards. If you don’t want your beautiful tree to meet such a sad end, be sure to recycle it in January, either by replanting it for next year or by donating it to be turned into chippings. Keep an eye on the Council’s website for locations where you can recycle your tree. You could even try renting a Christmas tree, and after the season is over your tree is collected and looked after until you’re ready for it again the following year.

Food waste is at an all-time high at Christmas. To avoid having lots of extra food that may end up in the bin, try to be savvy and plan ahead to know much you need to buy. Doing your Christmas shop all at once rather than in dribs and drabs will help make sure you’re not picking up extras each time you go shopping. If you do end up with leftovers, try some of these BBC Good Food recipes to make best use of them, and if they really can’t be used make sure you dispose of them in the food bin.

There can be lots of hidden waste in giving and receiving presents. Children’s toys especially can come packaged in lots of plastic that can’t always be recycled. To avoid the excess waste, opt for presents like wooden toys for young children or experience gifts for adults. Make sure you wrap your eco-friendly presents in eco-friendly wrapping paper as well – use recyclable wrapping paper, or even better use gift bags or alternative materials like old newspapers and scrap material to skip the paper wastage all together.

Hopefully these ideas have got the festive ball rolling for a more sustainable yuletide season. If you’ve got a suggestion that we haven’t covered here, be sure to share it in the comments below!


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