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Father Christmas

How to have an eco-friendly Christmas this year

Christmas is a time when waste is immense.

All that wrapping paper, excess plastic packaging on the gifts. Even the many coffee cups bought simply because of the Christmas imagery printed on them. As we are currently faced with a climate issue, we need to really consider the consequences of our consumerism. Therefore, I'm sharing with you just seven simple tips to help you have an eco-friendly holiday.

Christmas trees

In the UK it's estimated that six million Christmas trees are sent to landfill every year, equalling approximately 9,000 tonnes of extra waste. Each tree sent to landfill has a carbon footprint of around 16kg and costs your local council approximately £2 in fees. Is that £2 really necessary every year?

If your artificial tree becomes an unwanted item rather than throwing it away you can sell it. So that someone else can reuse your unwanted tree, therefore cutting down on waste. The majority of artificial trees are shipped from China, adding to their large carbon footprint, so they're not very eco-friendly. The Soil Association has a list of organic, eco-friendly Christmas tree growers in the UK, helping you to make a greener choice when it comes to your Christmas.

Lights

Be eco-friendlier with your lighting choices. Did you know that Christmas tree lights left on for 10 hours over 12 days, produces enough CO2 to inflate approximately 12 balloons? So turn them off, when they are not needed. Or consider using a more energy efficient alternative.

Solar LED lights are fantastic, affordable and readily available! LED lights use 95% less energy and will cost you a lot less to run. Over a 30-day period, lighting 500 traditional holiday lights will cost you about $18.00. While the same number of LED lights costs only $0.19.

Travel

As students, we are going to be travelling home for the holidays to spend Christmas with family. However, you can make your travels more environmentally friendly. Be carbon-conscious this Christmas! Ensure your car is winter ready, such as checking your tyre tread and pressure, using high gears and not idling the car. These three things can help you lower the amount of carbon you release on the road trip home. Another way to reduce carbon emissions is to travel by train instead of driving across the country.

Gift wrapping

Zero Waste Gift Wrapping

Wrapping paper is one of Christmas's biggest wastes, 227,000 miles of paper is thrown away every year. Trees being wasted just to wrap a gift, is it worth it? Try wrapping your presents in a more sustainable way such as old newspapers. This gives a rustic more personal feel to gift-giving. Check out the blog post on other zero waste wrapping methods.

Food

To cut your carbon footprint, buy local or buy less. Produce brought locally means you support local businesses, farmers and the community. Shop at a local farmer's market, this reduces the number of vegetables and fruit that would be plastic wrapped from the supermarket. If you are not a vegetarian and you eat turkey at Christmas, try buying an organic turkey instead, ensuring the turkey was reared in humane conditions.

All in all, the main issue is food waste. Approximately two million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 17 million Brussel sprouts are thrown into landfill every year. This is crazy and way too much, considering how many people will go hungry at Christmas. By simply only purchasing enough food for the number of people you need to feed on Christmas day, will reduce the amount of waste. Remember the shops are only closed for a few days, you do not need to stock up for the apocalypse.

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