Sustainable Christmas ideas: 6 ways to make this yuletide greener

Here are 6 more sustainable Christmas ideas to ensure your festivities are cleaner than a cracker joke:

1. Wrap gifts using Furoshiki or recyclable brown paper

The UK throws away obscene amounts of wrapping paper and the plastic, foil, glitter and sticky tape on many sheets makes them unrecyclable. Furoshiki, a traditional, reusable Japanese wrapping cloth is a fab alternative – or else use recyclable brown paper.

2. Buy sustainable Christmas crackers

According to 99 per cent of Brits throw away the plastic gifts inside crackers. Either buy sustainable Christmas crackers that are plastic-free or try making your own using loo rolls holders, brown paper and a bit of tongue-out craftsmanship.

3. Buy food made through resilient farming systems

“By shopping locally, we can talk to people about where our food comes from, to make informed decisions about the kind of food we want to eat, and the farming practices we want to support,” explains Lucia Monje-Jelfs from the Sustainable Food Trust.

Do your research for a sustainable Christmas dinner. The Farms to Feed Us database highlights small-scale producers growing food using resilient farming systems, whilst Big Barn pulls together more than 600 artisan and specialist producers who support local sustainable agriculture.

4.Go meat-free (if not, go organic and free-range)

Having a plant-only diet is the best thing we can do to lower carbon emissions and with so many great vegan and vegetarian cookbooks around (try Anna Jones or Vanilla Black), now’s the time to go the full (meat-free) hog. If flesh is your festive fancy, buy local, organic and free-range. Here’s a guide to shopping organic on a shoestring.

5.Plan better, eat less and donate your leftovers

The UK throws away a reported 2m turkeys at Christmas, crowning 270,000 tonnes of uneaten festive grub. To reduce waste, clear the fridge before Christmas, and plan and portion your meals sensibly. Share any leftovers on Olio, an app that pairs you with neighbours who might need them – and supplies recipes to make best use of leftovers.

6.Drink sustainably

“Drink all that stuff that’s been in the back of the cupboard forever,” advises Tim Etherington-Judge, co-founder of Avallen, a Calvados brand aiming to be the world’s most sustainable spirit. Drinking seasonally is important too. “Avoid citrus, avoid summer fruits. Don’t drink passion fruit daiquiris at Christmas,” he says.

Aim to buy locally, from drinks producers who are trying to make a difference like Cooper King Distillery gin, Nc’nean Distillery whisky, Sapling Spirits vodka, and fizz certified by the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain.

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