OSiT's Guide to an Eco-Friendly Christmas from The Green Team
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas tree! But what is the most sustainable option?
The Carbon Trust has found that real Christmas trees have a smaller carbon footprint compared to artificial trees, you would need to reuse your artificial tree for at least 10 years for it to be greener than a real tree! When buying your real Christmas tree, it is best to buy a locally grown Christmas tree rather than a tree that has been imported with a
large carbon footprint. Typically for every tree cut down, there is another one planted but be sure to check with your supplier!
However, pot-grown trees are the most eco-friendly way to have a Christmas tree in your home. Once the potted tree has spent Christmas in your home, it can be kept in the garden and will be ready to use the following year. If you don’t have a garden to replant your potted tree, then there’s another alternative: hire a real Christmas tree. Many garden centers and plant nurseries offer this service, they then replant the tree and re-hire it for the next Christmas.
The way you dispose of your real Christmas tree has a big impact on its carbon footprint.
You must dispose of your tree by shredding, re-planting, or burning it on a bonfire and not sending it to a landfill. Most councils offer a curbside recycling scheme, they will collect
your trees and shred them into chippings and use them elsewhere such as local parks. Check on your council’s website to see what they are offering!
If a real Christmas tree really isn’t for you, try and buy a pre-loved tree and if you already have an artificial tree, keep it and keep using it. If you plan to replace it, try first to donate it before you dispose of it.
Now how do we decorate our homes and our trees as sustainably as possible... There are many ways!
There are lots of companies supplying plastic-free, sustainable decorations. Some of our hand-picked favourites are Alura Round Bauble – these pretty little baubles are made from recycled, hammered glass and can be purchased at www.protecttheplanet.co.uk. Sass & Belle has a sustainable decorations section on their website where you can go back to basics with recycled glass, carved wood and papier-mache baubles. https://www.sassandbelle.co.uk/christmas/christmas-decorations/sustainable/
Many charities in the UK sell Christmas decorations in their stores and online like this little Octopus tree decoration found at Save The Children.
If you like to get creative at Christmas why not consider DIY decorations? Here are some of our favourites:
A dried orange garland is perfect for hanging above the fireplace or on the Christmas tree and is so easy to make at home. Here you can find a how-to guide. Another very simple but elegant decoration that takes little to no effort or creative flair is these festive candle holders. You can use empty wine or spirits bottles or glass water bottles, take a snippet from your Christmas tree and fill the bottle with water – and that’s it! This simple idea is from Traumzuhause.com
One of the biggest sources of waste during Christmas is wrapping paper, while these may make presents look nice under the tree, they often end up in the bin after they’re opened.
Although you may think that recycling your wrapping paper is the simple solution to this problem, unfortunately, a lot of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable due to foil or glitter. Where possible, aim to purchase only 100% recycled and recyclable wrapping paper. Here are some options: www.re-wrapped.co.uk/shop and https://shopping.rspb.org.uk/christmas-shop/christmas-gift-wrap It is important to remember that wrapping paper can’t be recycled if there is tape attached to it. some great alternatives are natural cord/twine and kraft tape.
Shopping ethically and sustainably is easier than ever, with so many companies committing to fair trade and greener policies. You can find websites that are dedicated to this cause www.ethicalsuperstore.com and https://www.greentulip.co.uk/ which make shopping easy! Or if you are like us and you like researching unique and out-the-box gifts, you can find all sorts online including great products that have made collections with charities. British Red Cross 'Close to Home' collection of vegan soy wax melts this Spicy Orange scent was designed by Asiyo, a young refugee originally from Somalia and now supported by the British Red Cross, at a workshop with Ohros. Or you could donate a gift to a charitable cause on behalf of someone. Christmas is a time for giving. Action for Children have a gifting option to give meals, gifts and even trips to see Santa for vulnerable children who may not have a Christmas this year.
With Christmas Party season fast approaching, it is time to start thinking about outfits! Whether you are going out for a team dinner or having a party in the office we are sure you can save those pennies and create the perfect outfit for your event! Velvet has always been a winter staple and this year it reigns supreme! Dig out that velour piece and rock that Timeless Elegance look. Christmas is the season to sparkle so you can never go wrong with sequins and metallics. Intense Red is the colour of the season, be bold by finding your favourite red piece! Why not also pair it with a festive red lip? If colour isn’t your go to, why not opt for a ‘All Business Grey’ or ‘Head to Toe Black’ look, according to Vogue these were storming the runway this AW.
Maximalism will remain a strong trend for AW23, enhanced with shades such as pink, apricot, and indigo or cobalt blue. Be daring and dig out a bright piece from your wardrobe. If you aren’t a fan of colour but want to keep up with the catwalk trends Black-and-white has continued from SS22. ant a classic look you cannot go wrong with a blazer and the double-breasted tailoring trend has been doing the rounds for some time now.
If you feel like you want to buy something new why not try second-hand? Have you looked where your nearest charity shops are? If you do prefer online shopping why not look at Vinted or Depop! Have you ever thought about checking out a London Vintage Market: our personal favourites are Brick Lane and Portobello Road Market, but there are plenty of options that you can check out – here. Christmas Jumper Day is on Thursday 7th December, why not support the charity and purchase from their website. Find out more about Christmas Jumper Day here.
The festive season is, without doubt, the most indulgent time of the year, especially when it comes to food! With traditions of conjuring up familial feasts, fridges stocked to the brim with food, hampers of snacks and cupboards full of treats. However, what we don’t want is the mountains of food waste. Here are a few tips to consider when planning your Christmas meals:
Portion planner: Use tools such as the portion planner on BBC Good Food to get the amount of food just right. From portions of turkey, the vegetables and all the sides. This useful link breaks it down per person click here.
Avoid over-buying: Only buy and cook as much as you need. The key is in your planning. Once you establish how many guests you will have, well in advance and you can easily prepare a list before you head out to the shops. We have all made the mistake of shopping when hungry, everything looks tempting! Or even better you can order your ingredients to do one complete shopping trip.
If you are conscious of your carbon footprint, you can also opt for walking or public transport to your nearest local business. Your bakers, butchers, or little grocers. Not only are you supporting your community, but it is truly a more eco-friendly way to shop by cutting back on the number of vehicles on the road. How about sharing a car with a neighbour or friends if you do need to head out to a larger shop.
Home-made festive treats: This will cut out all the extra packaging that comes with buying store-bought gifts. Making treats from scratch means you use what you have You can add your personal festive touch, making it a lovely Christmas gift. Biscotti, to gingerbread to homemade gins!
Sustainable food choices: Opt for loose fruit and vegetables to reduce the amount of packaging. By choosing seasonal& UK-grown produce, you help cut back on food- related emissions saving your food travelling from miles across the globe.
Food waste is one of the biggest issues facing the restaurant industry and recent years have seen a growing number of restaurants and chefs starting to tackle the issue. In fact, it’s not just chefs and restaurants who are paving the way for doing things more sustainably. Customers expect more from businesses these days, and actively seek out places that give back to the planet and the community.
So whether you are meeting up with friends/family or taking your team out for a Christmas meal why not try a sustainable restaurant. We have had a look into a range of sustainable restaurant options for you and here are some of our favourites:
Jikoni, Marylebone Jikoni’s dusty pink awnings, patterned textiles and floral tablecloths have proven to be a perfect fit in Marylebone Village, slotting in nicely in this curated, boutiquey part of London. Jikoni in London was the first independent restaurant to become carbon neutral in 2021.
Where: 19-21 Blandford Street, Marylebone,
London, W1D 3DH
Book now: Jikoni
Silo, Hackney Wick. Silo was probably one of the first sustainable restaurants to appear on the map, initially opening in 2014 in Brighton. It has since moved to Hackney Wick and is paving the way for sustainable restaurants everywhere with its zero-waste approach to cooking. You’ll also find a countertop made with recycled glass bottles, post-industrial materials used for the furniture and a constantly changing menu because this place is all about seasonality.
Where: The White Building, Unit 7, Queens
Yard, Hackney, London, E9 5EN
Book now: Silo
Hawksmoor You may not feel Christmassy without indulging in some epic steaks and Hawksmoor's meaty offering isn't one you'd necessarily associate with being planet-friendly. But the steakhouse has worked hard to ensure all its meat is sourced ethically and supports the earth's food system and is now the world’s first carbon-neutral steak restaurant group. It set itself the goal of becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2022 and managed to reach that target a year ahead of schedule.
Where: Multiple locations
Book now: Hawksmoor
Trampoline was founded to help London’s refugee community integrate, train and become independent citizens. Built on the values of looking forward, being compassionate, and believing in better they’re committed to using their business as a genuine force for good. Building and maintaining relationships that transform lives. Partnering with The Hotel School, and employment partner, Thomas Franks, they work together to provide a holistic route from gaining refugee status to meaningful employment and a place in our proudly multicultural community.
Where: 27 Camden Passage, London, N1 8EA
Book now: Trampoline
There are plenty of more sustainable restaurant choices in London which you can find here.
Helping out your community
Most of us will experience loneliness at some point in our lives, regardless of age, circumstance, or background. This loneliness can feel overwhelming for some around Christmas time. A time that is meant to be for connecting with friends, and family and having fun. Loneliness can affect everyone in different ways over the holiday season with groups like migrants and refugees, carers, and people over 65 being especially impacted. The results of a 2018 survey looking at loneliness during Christmas time in the UK revealed that 17% of people felt lonelier than usual over the festive period.
Being lonely severely impacts not only your mental health but also your physical health, with lonely people being more susceptible to stress, high blood pressure, stroke and overall reduced immunity. Reaching out to a lonely person can make all the difference during this time of year, a great way to do this would be through volunteering. The Marmalade Trust are a fantastic charity that puts on free Christmas Day lunch events in local pubs and restaurants for people who would otherwise be alone at Christmas, they also provide doorstep visits for those unable to attend an event.
The cost-of-living crisis is another huge contributing factor to stress at Christmas time for some people. With energy and food prices at an all-time high, a lot of people are under a lot of financial stress. This Christmas is set to be one of the most frugal ever, with nearly half of UK adults planning to cut their overall spending over the festive season according to new research from TopCashback. They found Brits will be spending on average £280 less than last year, equating to around £13bn less being spent by consumers compared to Christmas 2022. Most of us will experience loneliness at some point in our lives, regardless of age, circumstance, or background. This loneliness can feel overwhelming for some around Christmas time. A time that is meant to be for connecting with friends, and family and having fun. Loneliness can affect everyone in different ways over the holiday season with groups like migrants and refugees, carers, and people over 65 being especially impacted. The results of a 2018 survey looking at loneliness during Christmas time in the UK revealed that 17% of people felt lonelier than usual over the festive period.
Being lonely severely impacts not only your mental health but also your physical health, with lonely people being more susceptible to stress, high blood pressure, stroke and overall reduced immunity. Reaching out to a lonely person can make all the difference during this time of year, a great way to do this would be through volunteering. The Marmalade Trust are a fantastic charity that puts on free Christmas Day lunch events in local pubs and restaurants for people who would otherwise be alone at Christmas, they also provide doorstep visits for those unable to attend an event. Due to the cost-of-living crisis, families are facing homelessness as they can't afford their rent or their energy bills and many are being forced to rely on food banks. The number of people sleeping rough is up by 21% from last year. If you can afford to, donating to charities like Shelter and Crisis that directly help those in need is invaluable at this time of year. You can view donate here - https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/the-cost-of-living-crisis/You can download the PDF version of the guide here