Have a Sustainable Christmas
Sustainable Overton volunteer Holly gives her top tips for living life sustainably this Christmas.
It’s that time of year, everyone is going Christmas crazy! Just because it’s the season of good will, doesn’t mean you have to forget your ethics. Billionaires like Jeff Bezos won’t even notice if you buy less this Christmas but small changes in your purchasing can make a difference. Let’s have a quick look at some simple ways to minimise negative impacts of the season and maximise the good you can do with your hard earned cash.
Swap Christmas jumpers
I love Christmas jumpers and often buy a new one every year, but many people throw away last year's jumper to stay on trend, creating huge amounts of waste (I wear my Christmas jumpers throughout December then stash them away for next year).
If you have Christmas clothes you no longer want, you could donate them to a charity shop, give to a friend or offer them for free on your local facebook group.
Buy a tree from a local shop
If you love a real tree, you can order them in Overton from Wilson’s greengrocers and Overton Gallery. If you have an artificial tree, then keep on using that one – reusing things is a great way to reduce the impact of that product. You can often buy second-hand artificial trees from Facebook or a charity shop too. When it’s time to say goodbye to your tree, remember that real trees can be dropped off at Overton hill car park in January where they are collected by the council and chipped for footpaths. Artificial trees can often be given away to local groups or used by someone for wreaths or decorations rather than throwing them away.
Buy locally produced, seasonal food
Food has had some massive coverage in the press recently and has been blamed for climate change but ultimately, we all need to eat! Whether you believe that cows or avocados are the culprit, it doesn’t really change the fact that we should all be eating locally produced, seasonal food and supporting our local farmers. Don’t get me started on food miles (I don’t like my dinner to have travelled more than me), it just seems logical that we should eat what grows nearby, rather than flying it across the world. We are very lucky to be surrounded by farms in Overton, many of these are organic and work hard to minimise their impact on the environment. Let’s support these local farms and their style of farming.
Recycle wrapping paper
Some people unwrap presents and carefully store the wrapping for another time. Others wrap gifts in fabric or brown paper tied with string. There are lots of ways to reduce the impact of wrapping paper. Buying recycled wrapping paper, using paper tape or ribbons, recycling paper (as long as it isn't foil and doesn't have a plastic coating) are great ways too. Remember it's better to use up the wrapping paper that you have, rather than bin it to buy ‘greener’ paper.
That aunty you never see probably hasn’t used the lavender soap from Christmas three years ago, so maybe call her, send her a gift card or make her a cake instead. It’s true that it’s the thought that counts so there's no need to splash the cash when something homemade means so much more, if you have time. Buying experiences or finding items that people actually need is a great way to reduce the chance of buying an unwanted gift.
No one likes it when a gift breaks a couple of days after Christmas. Try to avoid poor quality gifts (we’ve all made the mistake when buying online though!). Sometimes you can pay only a couple of pounds more for something far better quality that will last longer. Many websites have reviews, so read up about products before buying. Check out Etsy and Folksy for something handmade and a bit different, visit local shops or buy second-hand for some unusual gifts and support small creatives or charities.
Make your money work
Check out companies before you buy from them. Do they have a sustainability policy? Is it good enough? Do they say how much they donate to charity? Remember vague promises and talk of trying to be green isn’t enough – a sustainability policy or corporate social responsibility (CSR) report should be robust, and they should be doing more for the planet than you do at home – after all, they’re making money from what they do!
Have I missed anything? Get in touch and send us your top tips for a more sustainable Christmas!