Top Tips for a Sustainable Christmas
Why have a sustainable Christmas?
The carbon impact of Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day account for 5.5 percent of the UK’s total annual carbon footprint.
The 5 days from 27 to 31 December are the busiest of the year for Perth and Kinross Recycling Centres. The most visited Centre is Friarton, who had a whopping 773 visits on 31 Dec 2021, when the average daily visit total is usually around 450. The total number of visits made to all Perth and Kinross Recycling Centres during our busiest 5 days in 2021 was 13,058!
Together we can make a difference! Sign the Climate and Nature Pledge today!
Perth & Kinross Council have designed a climate and nature pledge to help and inspire everyone to tackle the climate change and biodiversity loss emergency together. Your climate actions can reduce carbon emissions and help us reach net zero, making Perth and Kinross a greener place to live, work and visit. The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world and more than 1 in 10 of our species are currently at risk of extinction. However, you can help our species by undertaking positive action. With lots of people taking individual climate actions we can help make change on a larger scale.
The pledge launched in November 2022 and will be open to the public for the foreseeable future. In 2023 we plan to undertake further engagement with the public to gauge the success of the pledge.
If you are looking for support and inspiration to undertake actions you sign up to, please visit our Take Action section of the website for more details.
Help our planet at Christmas by engaging in the following festive activities
Reduce waste by buying gifts with little or no packaging. Here are some examples of perfect gifts to reduce waste and help protect biodiversity:
Zero Waste and Refill Shops
- Support your local independent shops, and consider finding giftings in zero waste and refill shops – chocolate refills are a great option! These shops also have gift sets with household and beauty items such as shampoo bars.
- Gift something to help biodiversity. Native bulbs and seeds help insects and mammals coming out of hibernation in the spring. Why not build or buy a bug hotel, toad house, hedgehog house, bird box or bat box. Bird feed cakes and seeds help biodiversity throughout winter – visit our ‘In Your Garden’ garden planner to enhance nature within your garden throughout the year.
- Host a festive frock swap/ decoration swap
- Alternatives for gifting include charity donations and experiences such as beaver tours and wildlife walks across Perthshire.
- Sign a friend up for an organic vegetable and fruit box.
Rent a Tree
- Support local businesses by finding your nearest Christmas tree farm to buy or rent a native Scottish grown potted tree. The benefits of renting a Christmas tree means there is zero tree waste because the tree does not die in the new year. Return your tree to the farm where it will be re-planted and cared for by the supplier, ready to use again next year. This ensures trees continue to provide habitats for wildlife in between festivities. By renting your tree it also continues to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Knowing your supplier means you can have a better understanding of where and how a tree has been grown, therefore this provides a clear picture of the carbon and travel footprint. When buying a potted tree rather than renting, you still have options to replant in your own garden or if you want to bring it indoors again next year you can grow it on in a container, moving it into a bigger pot annually.
- Natural wreaths are a great way to explore nature and bring attractive foliage into the home, which can be easily composted after Christmas. Venture out to the garden and select ever green cuttings to add to a natural rattan ring to provide a lush design. Add some scented plants too such as rosemary, bay leaves and lavender. Heather adds a pop of colour to the display. If you already own a plastic wreath why not try adding real foliage to make it more realistic, and designs can be changed each year, which eliminates the need to buy any more decorations.
- Rather than buying new, rummage around your local charity shops where decorations and be bought and reused.
- Wood and paper (made from recycled or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified materials) household decorations are a great alternative. Why not try paper chains and store carefully for following years.
- Use LED lights on your Christmas tree as these use less energy and last longer.
In 2016, the UK threw away no less than 227,000 miles of wrapping paper.
- Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese method of using cloth to wrap gifts. This is a fantastic way to wrap presents in a special and beautiful way. It is also an easy method which is perfect for wrapping those oddly shaped pressies. Approach fabric shops or zero waste initiatives such as Remake Scotland in Crieff to source fabric offcuts. Natural fibre which is non-bleached fabric is the ideal option. However, many options are suitable as the fabric can be reused repeatedly and last for years. Ask friends and family to reuse the fabric again for gifting.
- If using wrapping paper, ensure this is made from recycled or FSC-certified paper which isn’t foil-backed, and has no glitter.
Accessorising your Wrapping
- Dried flowers can be used as an alternative to gift bows. Paper raffia or natural ribbon should be used instead of synthetic fibres. Certain paper tapes are compostable.
If we placed all our Christmas cards alongside one another, they would stretch around the world 500 times.
- Using ecards helps to prevent deforestation. These cards also do not require physical production or transport which saves natural resources such as oil and fossil fuels. Also, they provide an inexpensive way to send festive greetings, with some online options such as Canva being free.
- If you want to still send a physical card, why not rethink how you do this. To create memories, why not agree with a family member or friend to reuse and rotate the same cards to one another. This is a sentimental way to look back on messages throughout the years.
Cooking and the Festive Dinner Table
The production, processing, transport, storage, consumption, and disposal of food all contribute to greenhouse-gas emissions. Over one in seven British consumers buy more food than they need at Christmas. We also get through 4,500 tonnes of tin foil and 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging during the Christmas season.
A 1/3 of the world's food is being wasted, can you help to reduce this figure. 600k tonnes of food is wasted annually, which equates to 61% of all food waste in Scotland. By reducing this food waste, we would save each household £437 a year!
If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be equivalent to taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.
Love Food Hate Waste
- Visit the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign which provides useful guidance on cooking sustainably, food storage techniques, using leftovers and composting.
- Perth and Kinross have a variety of food redistribution locations, food larders and community fridges to ensure food waste is reduced. See the interactive map to find your local food initiative which is available to all.
- Buy and fill your own eco-friendly and plastic free crackers. You can customise each filler to suit your guest to ensure the gift is personalised and will be used.
- Use fabric napkins rather than paper, as these can be washed and reused.