Let's be honest, we all like to go a bit mad at this festive time of year. It is Christmas after all! But when you stop and consider the impact production, mass consumption and pollution have on our planet, it's worth looking into how we can all give our festivities a sustainable overhaul.
Christmas doesn't have to be a burden on our planet, and with some imagination and a bit of effort, we can all enjoy a Green Christmas!
Look for gifts made locally
You may not even realise it, but most of the gifts you buy today contribute significantly to greenhouse emissions. They're produced all over the world, and carry with them a heavy carbon footprint from transporting them from the factory to your tree. We suggest an alternative. Craft fairs and artisan shops are a great place to find gifts that have been made locally, so they don't come with the transportation costs and air mileage.
Choose gifts made from recycled materials
A lot of small businesses and individual sellers have started taking their own steps to becoming more sustainable by using recycled materials. Even some of our biggest brands have started to head in that direction by implementing their own sustainable technologies and processes, such as using Bluesign® approved fabrics and MADEKIND™ from Berghaus. MADEKIND products reduce the environmental impact from production to take better care of our planet.
Buy quality products that'll last longer
We've all panic-bought a cheap gift only for it to break within days. By investing a little bit more and buying higher quality products you're increasing the lifetime of the product, lowering the amount of production needed, and leaving you in no rush to go buy a new one. Here at Millets we believe that when you buy high quality gear it should last as long as you do, that's why we stock some of the highest quality products on our store!
Use recycled and/or recyclable wrapping paper
Every Christmas over 83km² of wrapping paper ends up in a landfill. That's loads considering it only gets torn apart and cast into a bin bag moments later without second thought! And think all those hours you spent wrapping. This year why not use recycled and/or recyclable paper when it comes to wrapping your prezzies? It'll reduce the amount of waste produced and keeps paper out of the landfill.
Tip: Also try and reduce the amount of tape you use. By using less tape, more of the paper can be reclaimed, so it's easier for the person receiving the gift to save the paper for reuse. Using ribbons (properly) removes the need for tape entirely.
Make homemade cards
Christmas cards are a tradition, there's no denying that. But they're a tradition that consume a huge amount of natural resources. The number of Christmas cards sold in the UK alone harvests nearly 150,000 trees and would fill a football pitch 5 stories high! That's too many trees for just a throw-away item. Why not have a crack at homemade cards? Sure, they may not be as pretty or professional, but they're a lot more personal and are certainly appreciated. Making cards yourself can also be a fun activity for the whole family in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Lower the lights
One of the best parts of Christmas is seeing the lights go up. Nothing would get me into the festive spirit more than seeing who has the biggest and brightest light show. Times are different now though and the cost of electricity doesn't just drain your wallet, it also devours natural resources. To reduce the amount of resources we use, try some of these suggestions when planning your holiday light show.
- Reduce the size - A smaller presentation of lights often looks more subtle and much prettier. It also fits the tone of the 'season of giving', as by saving electricity, you're actually giving back to the planet
- Switch to LEDs – LED Christmas lights use up to 95% less energy than traditional Christmas bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours indoors. They save you money and when one bulb burns out, the rest stay lit, making them so much less hassle.
- Lights out at bedtime – Because what's the point in having a fancy light show if no one's awake to see it?
Go Even Greener
Choose a live tree
Believe it or not, live Christmas trees are actually the more sustainable option. Yes, plastic trees theoretically last forever, but they're made of petroleum products (PVC), and use unnecessary resources in manufacture and shipping. Research also shows that they're typically thrown away after a few years and sent to landfills where unfortunately they do last forever.
Live trees on the other hand are a renewable natural resource that are grown on tree farms and are replanted regularly. Almost 90% of them are recycled into mulch as well, which is then used for landscaping. Live trees are usually grown and sold locally too, keeping those emissions down. And last but not least, if saving the planet wasn't enough to tempt you, they also smell like Christmas too!
Tip: Why not buy a tree in a pot so you can reuse it every year?
Christmas trees are recyclable too
Christmas trees are not only biodegradable, but they can also be recycled when the festive season is over. Look for recycling projects in your local area.
We'll certainly be doing our bit to make Christmas more 'Green' this year and we really hope you do too. It's really simple and you'll feel better for it as well! Just remember, the greener, the merrier! And on behalf of all of us here at Millets, Merry Christmas!