Christmas may be the season of good cheer but all that giving and merriment does seem to create a lot of waste. From tons of wasted food to excessive energy consumption, Christmas can be quite environmentally unfriendly. Fortunately, lots of small changes in the home and in the workplace can make a big difference to helping the environment in the festive season.
On the first day of Christmas: Send e-cards
Whether you’re an individual with lots of family and friends or a business that sends cards to all your loyal customers, you’re helping to generate a fair amount of waste cardboard when Christmas is over. A much cheaper, easier and environmentally friendly alternative is to send e-cards. Admittedly, they aren’t as easy to display on bits of string around the living room or office but are a fun, personalised and waste-free alternative to paper cards.
On the second day of Christmas: Have a good clear-out at home
Before receiving more gifts that will end up in cupboards, have a good clear-out. Electronic goods, even broken ones, can be sent away and recycled for cash, while clothes and other items can be given to charity shops. Ebay is also useful for selling on unwanted items and gifts. For large clear-outs, it is easier and simpler to hire a skip – have the skip delivered, fill it up and then have it all taken away, with no time-consuming trips to the tip at such a busy time of year.
On the third day of Christmas: Have a clear-out at the office
Christmas is usually a quiet time for many businesses, making it the perfect time to hire a skip and have that long-overdue clear-out. Many businesses also find themselves handling larger amounts of packaging than normal in the run up to and over the festive period and all of this needs to be disposed of responsibly. Talk to an experienced commercial waste management and recycling specialist to find out how.
On the fourth day of Christmas: Turn the lights off
Energy often gets wasted in workplaces over the Christmas period because staff go off for the holiday leaving office equipment on standby and not turning all lights and heating off.
On the fifth day of Christmas: send packaging-free presents
A nicely wrapped present is lovely but both the wrapping paper and the packaging create waste. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to be an eco-friendly gift-giver, including giving gift experiences and charitable donations on someone’s behalf, which come with no packaging at all and don’t require wrapping.
On the sixth day of Christmas: Buy a fake tree
People love the smell of a real Christmas tree but fake ones have the advantage of being useable year after year in both homes and businesses.
On the seventh day of Christmas: Use biodegradable plates
Office parties, and home ones, can create a lot of waste in the form of paper plates and plastic cups. Fortunately, biodegradable versions are only an internet search away.
On the eighth day of Christmas: Plant-your-own table decs
Table centre pieces are another casualty of Christmas parties both at home and at work. Plant versions are now available that just require water and sunlight to stay looking good all year.
On the nineth day of Christmas: Don’t over-cater
Planning is the key to not wasting food at Christmas. Planning and not giving in to impulse buys and BOGOF offers mean you won’t end up catering for more guests than they have.
On the tenth day of Christmas: Reuse wrapping paper
For those gifts that do need to be wrapped up, a great deal of waste can be saved by reusing wrapping paper (if it isn’t completely destroyed when opened).
On the eleventh day of Christmas: Recycle your real tree
Real Christmas tree lovers have the option to recycle their tree after Christmas as many towns now offer tree collection schemes and use the chippings as mulch for flower beds in public spaces.
On the twelfth day of Christmas: Resolve to be a greener business in 2017
There are so many ways to be a socially responsible business, including improving waste management and energy efficiency and recycling. Resolve to make 2017 your greenest year yet.