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How to be green this Christmas

Christmas is perhaps the biggest and most celebrated event of the year, with lots of gift buying, wrapping, decorating and event hosting taking place. Invariably, all this ‘celebration’ has a significant environmental impact.

But Christmas doesn’t have to be a burden to our planet, and with some effort and imagination, we can reduce our environmental impact this holiday season. From choosing a Christmas tree, to using recyclable wrapping paper and shopping locally, here are some tips for a greener Christmas.

Choosing your Christmas tree: real or fake?

Artificial trees may seem convenient as you can keep them for decades, needles aren’t shedding everywhere, they don’t drink water and you don’t have to dispose of them afterwards. As such, you might think choosing an artificial tree is the most sustainable choice, but these ‘faux’ trees are often made from PVC plastic and the manufacture of PVC involves hazardous chemicals, huge energy outputs and vast outputs of toxic waste.

Artificial trees and the like are also typically manufactured in places like China or Vietnam, which means there is the additional carbon footprint for shipping them over to our shores to consider. Your typical artificial trees aren’t recyclable either, so unless you intend on keeping your tree for a long time, you could be making the wrong decision if it is driven by your environmental conscience. Instead, a real tree could be the more eco-friendly choice, as long as you consider where and how it has been grown and you make sure to recycle or dispose of it correctly.

Rethink your decorations

From baubles and tinsel, to incandescent lights and giant inflatable Santas, there are a multitude of Christmas decorations to choose from; all of which will have an impact on our environment in one way or another.

Replacing plastic decorations for something handmade or created from sustainable materials is one thing, but even switching to LED Christmas lights could save up to 80% energy, or even better, opt for solar-powered lights. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll be saving on your energy bills too!

Eco-friendly Christmas crackers

Christmas day isn’t complete without a cracker-war! A paper hat and a plastic toy or screwdriver set; which always seems to end up lost or in a bin, all seems a tad wasteful on reflection.

Now we’re not suggesting getting rid of them; they are a holiday stable. Instead, there are now lots of sustainable options for Christmas crackers available from high street stores; which use recycled materials and contain eco-friendly gifts inside.

Here’s an even better suggestion – why not create your own? If you shop around and get creative, you can buy DIY crackers or start from scratch, using recycled paper to create your own crackers; which can be hand-decorated and filled with your own sustainable gifts.

Use recycled wrapping paper

Wrapping paper is one of the biggest Christmas environmental ‘faux pas’; in fact, statistics have shown that if we all recycled just half of the wrapping paper produced at Christmas, we would save 25,000 trees!

You might think you’re getting a bargain roll, but before you make your purchase, check if it can be recycled, as most wrapping paper, particularly the shiny and glitter-coated ones, are definitely not recyclable.

As a replacement, you could use brown or recycled paper, recycled foil or even newspaper. Similarly, the shiny ribbons and gift tags can be just as easily replaced with string and recycled paper or cardboard tags.

Gifting small and local

Buying gifts locally not only means you are supporting small business owners and the local community, but you will also reduce your carbon footprint. 4,000 tonnes of Christmas presents bought every year are manufactured and shipped from China, making the environmental impact of gift-buying at Christmas significant.

Next time you add something to your basket on Amazon, consider the difference you could make to your local community by purchasing from a local business.

Food for thought

Christmas dinner, party food, drinks and hampers - Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them. But the food we consume at Christmas has frequently travelled thousands of miles before it’s sold in our supermarkets – a lot of which then goes to waste.

If you choose to buy from your local farmers’ market or even just buy less food this Christmas, you will cut your carbon footprint. Looking for some additional tips for buying eco-friendly food? Pick loose fruit and vegetables instead of packaged produce. Use recycled materials; such as paper bags and bring your own containers. And don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!

If your business is looking to reduce the environmental impact of your product’s packaging, Paramount Packaging Systems’ Fuji flow wrapping machines can process all biodegradable, biocompostable and recyclable materials. Speak to a member of our team today by calling 01252 815 252 or email

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