Blogs and News - St George's School, Edinburgh

22 Nov 2019
12 Days Of Eco-Friendly Christmas

Christmas S

Eco-schools’ greener top tips to ease off the unbridled consumerism and save the planet – without being a Scrooge this Christmas.

The planet may not be the top of your Christmas list, but it needs your help. Despite the government declaring a climate emergency, we haven’t seen any real action-so why not take it into our own hands and make a difference this Christmas? Every small step helps!

1. Choose tree decorations that will last a lifetime

Decorations made from recycled wood, fabric, and glass make great alternatives to plastic or PVC options that are non-recyclable. Why not buy a decoration or an ornament from every place you visit instead of opting for the cloned, identical, glittery silver baubles and tinsel?

2. Think twice about gift wrapping

Reuse gift bags, boxes, tissue paper, and ribbon kept from last Christmas. Didn't save any? Make a point to do it this year.

Use brown paper to wrap gifts, tie everything together with string and spruce up with pine tree sprigs through the string for a pretty finish. If you’re ordering from Amazon, the brown paper packaging inside the box is perfect for wrapping.

If you're buying wrapping paper, be conscious of choosing something free of foil or glitter as these varieties cannot be recycled – make sure any paper recycled has tape removed.

3. Plan your Christmas dinner carefully to reduce waste

There’s nothing worse than having legions of leftover Christmas dinner waste. Before you start cooking, plan proportions carefully. On Boxing Day there’s nothing better than having cold Christmas leftovers-you can’t beat seeing how tall you can pile your sandwiches. If you’re not feeling too inventive, try the BBC’s Good Food Leftover recipes.

4. Reduce meat and source ingredients consciously

Perhaps a more difficult option for the meat lovers among us, it's also worth considering reducing the amount of meat consumed during the festive period as we become increasingly aware of its impact on the earth when consumed in large quantities.

There are many delicious veggie options out there – perhaps you could try replacing just one meaty meal?

That said, it's not just about the food we eat; where we get it from can also alter our impact on the planet. Opting for organic meat and veg is the best way to ensure that potentially harmful pesticides haven't been used during the cultivation process. It's also worth sourcing food locally if possible – you may be surprised how close your local farmers' market is to your home.

If you’re shopping in a supermarket, loose veg is a great place to start reducing your usage of single-use plastics. Not only is it usually cheaper, it is also much better for the environment

5. Consider your Christmas cards

An enormous 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by UK households each year according to research. Why not opt for sending E-cards-cutting your carbon footprint, saving trees and saving money. Alternatively, make your own cards, instead of using supermarket-bought glitter-and-plastic-galore cards. If you have some nice Christmas cards, you can cut out the front to make into gift labels for next year.

 6. Reuse your Advent Calendar

If you’re feeling up for a change from the traditional chocolate Christmas advent calendar, why not invest in a reusable calendar, where you can mix things up a bit and instead of chocolate, add different small presents like make-up, jewelry, sweets, keyrings or even Lego-adding a piece to an object by the 24th?

7. Christmas lights and LEDs

LED lights use an average of 75 percent less energy than normal lights and can last up to 25 times longer, meaning you'll save both energy (and money from your pocket).

8. Choose eco-friendly ways to Deck the Halls

It’s fun, it’s free and it’s festive! What is there not to like? Make your own Christmas tree decorations, bake a little something, or get creative with handmade wreaths or presents. 

9. Avoid disposable cutlery

It seems an easy solution if you're hosting lots of friends and family over Christmas and don't have enough supplies, to pick up disposable cutlery, crockery, and cups that can simply be thrown in the bin once the party's over. However, many of these single-use plastic items are non-recyclable and end up going straight to landfill.

An easy alternative is simply asking a friend or family member attending to bring along their plates, cups or cutlery that can be washed and returned to them.

10. Source sustainable Christmas Trees… And dispose of them correctly

If you like real trees lookout for the FSC certification to ensure it is grown sustainably. Once Christmas is over, dispose of your real tree by taking it to a local tip where it will be processed and turned into something new, or by looking out for local council recycling schemes.

If you prefer artificial trees, buy one that will last a lifetime, not one you will have to throw away after Christmas is over.

11. Not all gifts need to be from the store

There are plenty of instructions on how to make handmade festive gifts, rather than splashing out on someone. Homemade treats are always a hit whilst I personally find that it is much more fun inventing my own original idea for a loving gift and much more personal than a shop-bought one.

12. Opt for Natural Decorations

It’s not cheap, buying Christmas decorations. Why not create a rustic looking household by using pinecones, Christmas tree off-cuts, holly, and candles to enhance the festivity and brighten the spirit of Christmas?


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