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Planning an eco-conscious Christmas

Written by Sustainability

15 Dec 2020

Each Christmas in the UK it is estimated we throw away 6 million Christmas trees, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper, two million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 17.2 million Brussel sprouts!

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas...

The festive period results in huge amounts of waste, whether in the form of irresponsibly discarded Christmas trees, heaps of leftover food or gifts that are bought and thrown away. An extra 30% of waste is produced and discarded throughout the festive period when compared with the rest of the year.

Many of us have been able to start preparations for Christmas earlier this year – from putting up your Christmas tree early to completing all of your shopping online. By taking some extra time to plan in the next couple of weeks, you can also make this Christmas your most eco-friendly yet! 


Recycle your packaging waste

Alleviate the negative effects of Christmas packaging by recycling or reusing as much as possible. 

Be eco-conscious with your wrapping paper as not all wrapping paper is recyclable. Make it easier for friends and family to recycle by wrapping your gifts recyclable wrapping paper - Waitrose sell a great variety in store and online. 

Be wary of glitter! Don’t recycle any Christmas cards or decorations containing glitter as it cannot be recyclable and can contaminate other materials in recycling bins.

Save space in your recycling bin by flattening cardboard boxes and remember to recycle your drinks cans - recycling just one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a set of Christmas tree lights for two whole hours! Most metallic items are also recyclable (including mince pie cases…)


Reduce Food Waste

When catering for family and friends at Christmas and indulging in seasonal treats, it’s easy to end up with surplus food. An estimated 54 million platefuls of food is wasted over the festive period.

To avoid food wastage, plan your meals so you are not buying food you won’t eat.  If you do have food left over, check out Love Food Hate Waste for zero-waste recipe inspiration including sprouts with pancetta and chestnuts and an old classic… bubble and squeak.

Know your Christmas tree’s carbon footprint

If you would like to buy a real Christmas tree this year, make sure it is locally sourced. The whole life-cycle process of transporting the tree to your home can rack up a hefty carbon footprint otherwise! 

Nevertheless, The Carbon Trust outlines that a real Christmas tree has a lower carbon footprint than an artificial plastic tree, especially if it is disposed of in a responsible way. On average, you would need to use an artificial tree for at least 10 years in order for its environmental impact to equal that of a responsibly-disposed natural tree.

By making some small changes this festive period, we can all do our bit to help to make Christmas a little greener and a little less wasteful this year.