How to Have a Sustainable Christmas in 2019 | Bundely
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How to Have a Sustainable Christmas in 2019

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas in 2019

For many, Christmas is considered the most wonderful time of the year. But the frightening reality is that it’s also one of the most wasteful times of the year. From Christmas presents, cards, wrapping paper and decorations, our levels of waste reach new heights during the silly season.

Here at Bundely, we’re always looking at ways of reducing our environmental impact and no more so than during big holidays that, let’s face it, have got a bit out of hand in recent years.

Here are 10 of our top tips for reducing waste during the 2019 festive season.

1. Buy experiences rather than physical gifts

There is a real joy in seeing someone open a gift that you’ve spent time choosing. But as I get older and my friends and family get older, I find that people tend to have everything they need.

It’s so easy to get caught up in buying gifts for the sake of it out of habit or expectation. So how about buying a loved one a gift they’ll remember forever by choosing an experience gift such as a visit to an attraction, learning a new skill or trying an activity they’ve always fancied a go at?

Another idea is to suggest a pact to your family or group of friends that rather than buying each other gifts, you’ll all go out for dinner together.

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2. Buy second-hand toys

There are many preloved toys floating about – many virtually brand new. It’s worth considering buying second-hand before brand new as not only will you be helping the environment, you’ll also save yourself quite a bit of money too.

Babies and young children especially won’t mind receiving second-hand gifts, they’ll just enjoy joining in the fun with the rest of the family.

3. Shop locally for gifts

We all know that the majority of manufactured goods are shipped to the UK from China and elsewhere around the globe. But have you ever considered the 5000 mile journey that that toy or gift has taken?!

By shopping locally, not only will you be cutting down your own carbon footprint substantially, you’ll also be supporting local businesses.

4. Use eco friendly Christmas wrapping paper

The average UK household goes through 4 rolls of wrapping paper each Christmas – that’s a total of 227,000 miles of Christmas paper in the UK – enough to stretch 9 times around the world!

So what can you do to reduce your family’s contribution to this shocking state of affairs?

The bare minimum we should all be doing is using recyclable wrapping paper. A lot of people assume all wrapping paper is recyclable because it’s made of paper. However, many have a plastic coating which makes it unsuitable for recycling.

But we can all go a step further than recyclable wrapping paper. How about reusing other materials? Newspaper, fabric, packaging etc. You can make them look more festive with reusable ribbons.

5. Ditch the Christmas crackers


There is a big movement this year to ditch Christmas crackers entirely. If you’re up for that then kudos to you.

But we know some families won’t yet be ready to let go of a tradition that is so closely linked to our memories of Christmas. So if this is you, why not buy some reusable Christmas crackers? There seem to be quite a few people cropping up making these so you may well find a local crafty person or business who is selling them.

Or if you’re up to the task, you could try making your own from scraps of fabric or just make the crowns from felt. There’s lots of ideas on Pinterest.

6. Consider Christmas card alternatives

Have physical Christmas cards had their day? Quite possibly. There definitely seems to be a decline in Christmas card sending in the UK but there’s still a long way to go.

We think e-cards are the way forward; so you can still let friends and family know you are thinking of them during the festive period and uphold the tradition.

If you receive some Christmas cards then display them and enjoy them during the festive period. Afterwards, you can cut them up and use parts of them for gift tags next year.

7. Christmas tree – keep it real

Some people think that artificial Christmas trees are more environmentally friendly because they are reusable. But it’s actually the case that real Christmas trees are the better choice, as long as you get your tree from a sustainable source.

You could also consider a tree with roots so it can be replanted. If not, do make sure you recycle your Christmas tree. Many councils offer a collection service in January.

Although it’s recommended to buy a real Christmas tree over an artificial one, if you already own an artificial tree then keep using it!

8. Get the kids involved with Christmas decorations

Homemade decorations from items you already have at home can add a personal touch to your festive displays and you can get the kids involved too.

How about decorating jars or papier mache baubles. Pine cones can make wonderful Christmas decorations and there are plenty to be found out in nature – your children will love helping with this too.

For lots of homemade Christmas decoration ideas, check out Pinterest.

9. Buy loose local festive food

Around 10 million turkeys are consumed in the UK each Christmas and that’s just the tip of a sickening gluttony iceberg.

There are lots of issues around food and overindulgance over Christmas time but the two biggest things you can do to be more environmentally-minded when it comes to food this season are to buy locally and to buy food that doesn’t have masses of plastic packaging. These often go hand in hand; locally sourced meat and vegetables especially are more likely to be plastic free.

If you are buying your fruit and veg from the supermarket, be sure to choose loose options and take your reusable mesh bags.

10. Consider your Christmas lights

Christmas lights have gone a bit mad in the last 10 years or so. When I was a kid we had lights on our Christmas tree and that was that. Now lights all over the outside of your house seems to be the norm.

If you’re serious about cutting down your family’s environmental impact this Christmas, it may be time to cut down on those Christmas lights. Where you do use Christmas lights, use those with LED bulbs which use up to 95% less electricity than traditional bulbs.

And make sure you turn lights off when you’re not there to appreciate them.

And there you have it – our top 10 tips for a sustainable Christmas. You might find you’re not ready to adopt all of these this year and that’s okay! Pick the ones you feel you can get on board with and then add more next year and so on. 

Have you got any great tips for an eco-friendly Christmas? Please share in the comments below.

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