Winter nights, fairy lights, Christmas trees and a whole lot of planning for gatherings and gifts! The far-reaching joy that Christmas brings is unparalleled to any other event or time of year, but it doesn't come around without any faults, either.
The Christmas and New Year celebrations that so many look forward to each year bring about alarming amounts of waste. Environmentalists have started calling Christmas time the world’s largest yearly environmental catastrophe. From food waste, to unwanted gifts, to excessive packaging and wrapping, there’s more to this holiday than meets the eye.
Some Not-so-fun Christmas Facts
The length of wrapping paper used at Christmas in the UK alone is equal to the distance between earth and the moon - roughly 380,000 kilometres.
125,000 tonnes of plastic food packaging will be thrown out and not recycled over the festive period, in the UK.
Roughly 1 in every 5 gifts ends up in landfills.
Brits throw out 230,000 tonnes of food during the festive season.
Waste from packaging, wrapping paper, cards and food increases around 30% during the holiday period.
Our Top 5 Brands For Sustainable Gifts
Spread some holiday cheer with these sustainable Christmas gifts
Kodama's purpose is to contribute to a regenerative future, by building products that inspire people to reconnect with the natural world. Through the use of stronger, natural materials and thoughtful design, they're building gear that doesn't compromise function or conscious design.
2. Olga's Organics
Olga's Organics created the first and only USDA organic certified makeup in the USA. Olga originally created her own makeup after realizing many products in her beauty routine consisted of chemicals that could lead to cancer. After ridding her routine of chemical laden products, she deeply envisioned sharing her same beauty routine with the world.
3. One Pure World
One Pure World develops everyday-use products made from 100% natural and sustainable materials. Each product is innovative, aesthetically beautiful, and with improved user experience. The main goal is to reduce plastic and micro plastic pollution.
4. the cork company
The Cork Company believes that fashion can be socially responsible and use renewable resources without compromising style, comfort, durability or, most importantly, our Planet. Cork is also naturally waterproof, stain-resistant, easy to clean, anti-bacterial, super lightweight and as durable as leather. The beautiful cork oak tree plays a major role in the world's ecosystem, and harvesting cork is both healthy for the tree and for the environment.
5. R5 Living
The R5 Living system is an innovative concept of detergents for personal and home care, created with the planet and all its inhabitants in mind. R5 was born to reduce waste: a drastic cut in disposable plastic, anachronistic as well as harmful, and the elimination of water transport, which only involves effort and an unjustified cost.
I’m Dreaming Of A White (and Green!) Christmas
Here are 5 tips for you to have a more sustainable Christmas
Reuse old paper bags, magazines, newspapers or any other packaging to wrap your Christmas gifts in. Pretty up plain paper with colourful doodles of Christmas trees, wrapped gifts, snowflakes, snowmen or anything else that reminds you of Christmas.
Make your own decorations. Paint some pinecones, pass a string through them and you’ve got some lovely homemade baubles. Dust on some eco-friendly biodegradable glitter to make them extra special. You can even make your own using epsom salt and food colouring - it’s that simple!
Don’t go crazy with fairy lights; for starters it looks tacky and they are super inefficient energy-wise. You can still enjoy the cosy vibes by choosing eco-friendly LEDs in place of traditional incandescent Christmas lights. This simple swap lowers electricity bills and generates less waste as LEDs have a 25 to 50 times longer lifetime.
Believe it or not food waste is actually a greater contributor to the climate crisis than single-use plastics. Plan your Christmas parties carefully, there’s no need to go overboard with excessive amounts of food - it’s not good for your health, the environment, or your pocket!
Choose gifts wisely as we know the vast majority will end up in the trash otherwise. There are so many choices for eco-friendly gifts; subscriptions or memberships make great presents, as do gift-cards and homemade goods. And, if you don’t have time to make anything yourself, choose consumables or better yet take a look at our list below for some inspiration.