Having an eco-friendly Christmas doesn’t have to mean missing out on any fun. In fact, because you can save energy and money while going green this holiday season, it’s a win-win.
While larger companies like Utility Warehouse and their UW green initiatives are helping the nation as a whole protect the environment, there are also a few simple things you can do at home to help. Here are four ways to be kinder to the environment while enjoying the festivities.
1. Reduce festive landfill
It’s hard to imagine Christmas without Christmas cards and beautifully-wrapped presents. But according to businesswaste.co.uk, about 30,000 tonnes of Christmas cards are thrown away each year. That’s almost three times heavier than the Eiffel Tower in just paper. And that’s not including all the wrapping paper that also gets thrown away.
This year, consider sending e-cards instead, and use recycled or recyclable materials to wrap your presents with. For example, brown packing paper saved from parcels can become simple and elegant wrapping paper, and scarves make pretty wraps and great bonus gifts, too. In fact, there’s a Japanese tradition called ‘furoshiki’, which is the art of wrapping goods for gifts and transportation. It’s a stunning, eco-friendly option and there are lots of easy tutorials to follow online.
2. Make your Christmas tree even greener
You might be surprised to hear it, but getting a real Christmas tree can actually be more environmentally friendly than getting an artificial one.
It’s true that plastic trees are reusable. But the environmental impact of manufacturing them, and then the artificial trees eventually ending up in landfill, is significantly greater than buying a sustainably-sourced real one.
Try buying a tree from a responsibly-managed farm that’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. And once Christmas is over, remember to take your tree to your local recycling centre to have it turned into compost.
It’s also possible to rent a real potted Christmas tree. You’d simply water it regularly as you would any other house plant, and then return it to the farm to be cared for until next Christmas.
3. Use energy-saving lighting
LED lights are much more energy-efficient than old-fashioned bulbs. Luckily they’re fast becoming the default form of lighting, so it’s easy to find LED Christmas lights online and in shops. Because they use far less energy than incandescent bulbs, they’ll save you money on your electricity bill over time. They also last much longer, saving you money on having to buy new lights more frequently, too. And don’t forget to switch them off when you’re not using them to save even more electricity.
Solar-powered string lights are also a great option, and can be charged in the sun during the day and switched on at night.
4. Support environmentally-responsible companies
Making sure your money’s going to companies that are actively doing their bit for the planet not only helps the environment in the long run, but could also save you money too. For example, Utility Warehouse (also known as UW)’s tree-planting initiatives organise a new tree to be planted for every customer who takes all their services. In turn, the more services a customer takes with UW, the more discounts off their monthly bill they get – including for energy.