OSiT Sustainable Christmas
Christmas is a time for indulgence and here at OSiT we LOVE the festive period. We also LOVE the planet and want to give you some useful tips on how to have an eco-friendlier
Christmas, without compromising any of the festive magic.
Some cold hard facts...
It is estimated that Brits cook 80% more food over the festive season, equating to 230,000 tonnes of waste.
We throw away 2 million turkeys, 11.3 million potatoes, 10.9 million parsnips, 7.5 million mince pies and a whopping 17 million Brussel sprouts.
Just during the festive season alone, approximately 125,000 tonnes of food-wrapping plastic is discarded.
Another 125,000 tonnes of plastic from sweet wrappers, advent calendars and gift boxes goes to landfill at Christmas time.
Over a million rolls of sticky tape are used on Christmas Eve.
Royal Mail sends over 1.3 billion cards that are binned every year, totally 30,000 tonnes to landfill.
Only 1% of consumer good are still in use 6 months later, with 41% of toys bought at Christmas going to landfill by March 2023.
12,500 tonnes of Christmas decorations are discarded to landfill each year, including 68,488 miles of Christmas lights.
It’s the ultimate centre piece lasting the festive period. Traditionally, the first signs of Christmas are the trees appearing in the streets and this acts as a reminder for gift purchases to remember those who have been good in the last year. The best reminder of this is the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree centre piece, which is a yearly reminder of Britain’s previous good deeds. While the tree purchase for your home will not require such sacrifices. It is a good place to start with good deeds and remembering to give back.
This year at Office Space in Town we have purchased all our Centre Christmas trees from Tree2me. They have a brilliant program, where for your one Christmas tree purchased they plant 5 trees. They team up with tree-nation planting programs all around the world and you can find more information at www.tree2me.co.uk. You will also be pleasantly surprised the starting price for the Trees are really reasonable with delivery and collection options available.
Another great option is London Christmas Tree Rental. You basically collect your potted Christmas tree and return at the end of the Christmas period, and they keep the tree alive. You could return yearly collecting the same tree. This would ensure your Christmas tree is not going to join the other 7 million trees that end up in landfill each year. More details can be found at www.londonchristmastreerental.com.
Lastly whatever you do, don’t make your Christmas centre piece a plastic tree! Most of them have a large carbon footprint as they are made in China and are not recyclable.
Investing in some LED Christmas lights will pay for itself in the long term. Not only are they safer, but they’ll also use less energy and last longer than traditional lights. Incandescent bulbs can use up to 80 per cent more wattage, and at the same time, use up to 90x more power than LED bulbs.
Here is a link to show how much it costs to run LED lights.
Although it’s hard to avoid plastic when it comes to decorating your house, it can be done! A great way to be sustainable with Christmas decorations is by creating your own. This can also be a fun activity and a great way to save money.
Make your own Christmas wreath
Wrap up warm and go for a walk to forage for your foliage, flowers, and branches! You can find the rest of the things you need around the house; you’ll just need a wire coat hanger and some string to tie it together, here is a link to a step-by-step guide.
DIY Christmas Origami Baubles
You can get creative and make your own baubles for the Christmas tree, its super easy, fun and a great way to avoid using plastic. You can also make the baubles into a garland by simply threading through some string. Here is a link on how to do make the baubles
Plastic free Christmas cracker
Crackers are a tradition in most households, but they contain plastic and single use toys, which ultimately ends up in landfill. The best way to find a plastic free Christmas cracker, is to make it yourself! You also get to choose which prize goes inside.
Here is a link on how to make these yourself:
Gift wrapping & cards
Wrapping paper is a huge problem for the environment at Christmas time. It is understandably very popular but unfortunately, incredibly wasteful. 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away every year in the UK alone. That's nearly enough wrapping paper to stretch to the moon! Because wrapping paper is a single use item, it is used once, throw away and sent to a landfill or to be recycled. But a lot of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable due to foil or glitter. To ensure your wrapping paper is plastic and glitter free and can be recycled, check that is certified by the FCS. Or put your presents in reusable bags that still looks good under the tree but won't go to waste. https://www.stylist.co.uk/home/eco-friendly-christmas-wrapping-ideas/178770
Sellotape is another reason wrapping paper cannot be recycled, use biodegradable alternatives like paper tape, water-activated tapes, zero plastic sellotapes or 100% plant based tape! https://small99.co.uk/materials/alternatives-to-plastic-tape-sellotape/#:~:text=Sellotape%20or%20sticky%20tape%20is,and%20where%20to%20buy%20them
Similarly, Christmas cards can be harmful to the environment with a single Christmas card emitting 140g of CO2 every time one is produced. Why not send your Christmas cards online this year? E-cards can be a lovely way to let people know you're thinking of them this Christmas, but with no waste. If you do want to send physical cards, there are environmentally friendly alternatives. Cards made out of seed paper can be planted after use and will grow into wildflowers. You can also reuse Christmas cards, with a bit of DIY they can make lovely Christmas tree decorations.
Finding or making the perfect gifts for your family & friends can be the best thing about Christmas. Here is a little guide to eco-friendly and thoughtful gift giving:
Easy peasy – homemade coconut lip balm. All natural and super easy to make.
Crafty advanced – beautiful marbled table coasters
Beautiful vintage & antique jewellery - https://www.thevintagejeweller.co.uk/
A world of designer brands which are far more cost effective than buying new! - https://www.vestiairecollective.com/
Buy from their shop with profits going directly to WWF, Send an Ecard that saves habitats and wildlife or adopt an animal on behalf of your loved one and they will get regular updates & a cuddly toy. https://shop.wwf.org.uk/
https://shop.savethechildren.org.uk/ - here you can buy virtual gifts that help change the lives of children across the world. They also sell lovely candles and eco-friendly gifts.
If you are looking to buy new, perhaps the Black Friday sales are too tempting, then perhaps consider doing a Secret Santa to reduce the number of presents (and save money!) or perhaps gifting an experience or a day out to reduce unwanted gifts going to landfill!
Christmas Party season is around the corner and the question on everyone’s mind is what will I be wearing? Whether you are going to your office Christmas party, having a team dinner, or going for happy hour with your friends we bet you can make an amazing outfit from clothes you already own!
Pair sheer tights with a black skirt, turtleneck jumper and chunky boots for that ‘90s Minimalism’ look. If you would prefer to ‘Be The Rainbow’ then dig out your favourite colourful piece and be bold! Are you not bothered about the latest fashion trends? You cannot go wrong with a timeless little black dress paired with heels and a festive red lip.
According to GQ “you’re either red or your dead” so what perfect timing to dig deep in that wardrobe and pull out something red for Christmas. If colour isn’t your thing, 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 do need to buy something new why not look second hand. Did you know that Zara partners with the British Red Cross and ASOS partners with Scope? Why not try one of those charity shops, you may even find brand new items! If you prefer to shop online look no further than Vinted, the platform that is one community, thousands of brands, and a whole lot of second-hand style. Christmas Jumper Day is on Thursday 8th December, why not get a preloved one? Find out more about Christmas Jumper Day here.
Overeating during the festive period has become somewhat of a British tradition. We allow ourselves to indulge in the array of festive delicacies that crowd the supermarket shelves.. and why not? IT’S CHRISTMAS!
Well, food waste is a massive contributor to climate change. 1/3 of food produced for human consumption is thrown away, with a disproportionate amount of this being at Christmas time. Along with the food, the resources that goes into producing and transporting the goods are also wasted.
Aside from the Climate Crisis, UK Landfill sites are reaching their limits and 4.7 million adults are affected by food poverty. Here are our 10 top tips to shop sustainably and keep your food waste to a minimum:
1. PLAN AHEAD – If you are hosting, work out what you’re having and only buy what you need. Choosing loose vegetables will enable you to buy less and save on plastic waste.
2. USE YOUR LEFT OVERS – Christmas left overs can be made into lots of delicious dishes, from pizzas to pies! Check out BBC Good Food’s Christmas leftovers recipes here.
3. TAKE IT HOME - If you are eating out and can’t clean the plate don’t be afraid to take it home with you. Better still – bring your own container!
4. SAVING YOUR SCRAPS – Veggie peelings and other organic material can be composted at home. Alternatively, a zero-waste vegetable stock can easily be cooked up and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
5. EAT WITH THE SEASONS – Choosing UK grown vegetables means that they are not only locally grown but seasonal too. Seasonal produce means fewer food miles and artificial ripening methods. Why not check out your local organic veg box delivery?
6. EAT LESS MEAT – Reducing our consumption of meat and dairy has been acknowledged as the single biggest way to reduce our carbon footprint. Although turkey and Christmas go hand in hand, why not switch it up this year? There is a growing variety of veggie and vegan options readily available on supermarket shelves – not just nut roasts!
7. BUY ORGANIC – Organic will be the most environmentally friendly choice. If you can’t say no to the turkey, we urge you to buy organic meat produce. Organic produce is selected from responsible farms and fisheries, where farming is friendlier to the environment and cares for animal welfare. Organic is a little pricier but when by buying less food from sustainable sources, you can rely on the quality and know that you have done your bit. Abel & Cole make it easy! Order ‘Easy Organic Everything’ including fresh fruit and veg and organic meat and fish online.
8. FREE UP YOUR FREEZER – Empty your freezer during the build-up to Christmas, that way leftovers can be stored for longer.
9. DONATE TO FOOD BANKS – Why not give a little this Christmas? Many supermarkets across the country have collection points and The Trussel Trust can help you find your nearest food bank. Fresh food can’t be accepted but other items such as tinned and dried food and non-food essentials such as toiletries, feminine products and baby supplies help adults and children in crisis.
Olio provides a platform to share unwanted food and other items to local neighbours.
10. GIFT A SOIL ASSOCIATION DONATION – The Soil Association is the charity working to transform the way we eat, farm and care for our natural world. Donations start from as little as £5 and go towards positively changing UK farming legislation, giving access to food to those in need and working with farmers to feed our nation.
The winter months can be the toughest time for some families and individuals in your community and this will be further heightened by the cost-of-living crisis this year. Here are a few ideas of how you can give back to your community this Christmas time.
With less donations post-pandemic and a surge in people relying on food banks need your help! You can donate food, organise a food harvest or volunteer. You can find your local food bank here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/
You can search for local shelters in your area and offer to either donate money, clothes, books or many other useful things or offer your volunteering helping hand. A London shelter that is close to the heart of OSiT is Shelter from the Storm and you can find more info here: https://sfts.org.uk/
You can offer your help at your local charity shops like Oxfam or Cancer Research. They will be particularly busy over the Christmas period!
https://www.goodgym.org/ offer an opportunity to carry out works to help the community like planting trees at your local park or helping an older person in their community with tasks. Also while also including fitness in to this with a group run with other good-gymers.
Map of UK Landfill site: https://www.lovejunk.com/blog/trash-talk/uk-landfill-site-map/#
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fury-mountains-christmas-rubbish-recycling-23226374Download the PDF version