As the Christmas buying season gets into full swing, the plethora of choice in food, presents and holiday options can often feel a little overwhelming. But if you put a sustainability filter on your shopping trips, it can make for a happy green Christmas. Here are 8 ideas to get you started.
Avoid unsustainable palm oil
Palm Oil is used in mince pies, Christmas pudding, chocolates, gravy and lots more Christmas goodies. If it is not produced sustainably, it can cause deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia, which is threatening species such as Orangutans, tigers and rhinos. But it’s possible to find sustainable or palm free options.
Try organic food
The great thing about Christmas is we cook so much from scratch, so have more choice over our ingredients. Although organic can be more expensive, a little planning to maximise leftovers can help reduce costs. Organic farming is significantly better for biodiversity, because no artificial chemicals are used and this means more insects and wildlife. It is also much better for soil health. You can get organic fruit, vegetables and meat in the supermarket, or via deliveries like Riverford and Abel and Cole.
Cut down on waste
This is great for the wallet and the environment. Food waste is responsible for up to 3% of our total environmental impact, or 16% of our food footprint. So planning can help, and if you are still stuck with too many leftovers, put them on Olio. It’s a great way to make sure your food doesn’t go to waste, because plenty of other people might be keen to have it.
 Giki analysis based on an average UK diet with high levels of waste
Streamline your food packaging
Wherever you can, buy food with better packaging, which you can recycle. You can also look out for the green Better Packaging badge. No packaging is usually best, but often very hard to find. Recyclable packaging, as minimal as possible comes next. Both these options will help reduce waste to landfill.
Get arty with your wrapping paper
When it comes to wrapping paper, it can be a minefield. Much of it is not recyclable, and we throw away over 100 million rolls every Christmas! So if you have an artistic streak, or kids who do, why not wrap in plain brown FSC paper (this hasn’t usually been bleached) and decorate it with your own picture. All the extras of ribbons and bows, tend to go straight to landfill and not buying them saves money!
Go for a family secret santa
This is a great way with a large group on Christmas day for adults or kids to give and receive one special present, rather than loads that can feel overwhelming. It also helps cut back on the £2 billion worth of unwanted Christmas presents every year! It is even rumoured the Royal family enjoy a Secret Santa!
Give the gift of experience
Instead of stuff, why not take someone out, or give your time or expertise. Offering your amazing babysitting skills to a sibling with young children, might be their favourite present yet! Or adopt them an animal from WWF or other charities.
Keep your feet on the ground
Flying significantly increases your carbon footprint. A shorthaul flight emits the same amount of greenhouse gases as a regular diet for 3 whole months. Flying economy class to Cape Town, or the Dominican Republic emits over 3 tonnes of climate change gases and that is the same amount emitted by felling 4 acres of rainforest. A lower carbon option is to enjoy our UK Christmas traditions, or try the train to Europe.