Top tips for staying eco-friendly this festive season

At this time of year, tonnes of packaging, wrapping paper and other holiday-related materials are thrown away. It is hard to stay cautious during the festive rush, but now more than ever it is important that we all try to be as environmentally friendly as possible. To achieve this without the stress, there are a few areas that it helps to be mindful of. You can start by trying out our top tips for an eco-friendly festive season!

1. Avoid mass-produced wrapping paper. Unfortunately, most wrapping paper on the market is not recyclable and ends up in landfill. To make the paper white or colourful, the manufacturers use chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Instead of using mass-produced wrapping paper, try using eco-friendly brown paper that has already been recycled. You can decorate it yourself or write messages on it to make it really special (kids will love it too!). Or you can use eco textile bags or boxes that can be reused every year instead of being thrown into a rubbish dump.

2. Use energy-saving LED fairy lights. Before LED lights became widely available, billions of kilowatts were used each year to power traditional decorative lights. Not only do incandescent lights waste energy at a vast rate, they are also unreliable – if one bulb breaks, the whole string goes out, meaning they have to be thrown away, creating even more Christmas waste! Today, you can choose reliable, energy-saving LED lights, or even fairy lights powered by solar energy, to bring your home one step closer to net-zero during the holiday season.

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3. Use only organic, locally sourced food for your holiday feast. We know it’s tempting to buy exotic foods, but doing so harms the environment. Just think of the journey your ingredients have had to make from the manufacturer to your table. The shorter this journey, the better. So stick to locally grown fruits, vegetables and meat; source as much food as possible from farms or producers nearby. To avoid environmentally harmful waste, you should also try to buy the exact amount of food that you and your family are going to consume.

4. Buy a living Christmas tree in a pot. Then, at the end of the holidays, plant it in your garden or the local park. If, however, you still prefer to buy your tree from a traditional Christmas farm, make sure that no pesticides or artificial colourants have been used in its production. And when it’s time to get rid of your Christmas tree, don’t forget to recycle it. There are lots of recycling programmes worldwide; find one that’s available in your region.

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5. Recycle, recycle, recycle. With all the gifts being given and received, and such an influx of new items in your life, don’t forget to recycle the things you don’t want or need anymore. Mobile phones contain hazardous components that can poison the soil. Old phones, tablets, clothes, etc. should be recycled properly or, if they are still in working condition, donated to local charity organizations.

6. Holiday season, with all its spirit and cheer, is a great time to make a contribution in the form of a good deed by volunteering. You can help to clean up a local forest, beach or park, plant trees or donate money to your local environmental organization. Find out about eco-friendly programmes near you and choose what fits you best!

7. Be sensible when picking presents and try to avoid buying for buying’s sake. Each year, countless presents are panic-bought for people who do not need or want them; these end up being thrown away or forgotten about. While your grandma might love a homemade piece of soap or a personalised photo album, your children may be happy to receive an experiential gift, such as a trip to the zoo or farm, a creative workshop, or tickets to a show.

We hope these tips will help you be mindful of the environment during the festive season. Have a fantastic holiday and a happy new year! Find out how to make your home more environmentally friendly with these smart PV blinds

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