Seven ways you can be more eco-friendly this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 08:49 18 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 18 December 2019
Andy Williams called it the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most wasteful.
In fact, every Christmas, the amount of waste produced by UK households increases by a staggering 30pc.
So, as the nation digs out its decorations, scrambles for Secret Santa ideas and eats three times its body weight, how can we be more environmentally conscious about our festive habits?
Here's a few tips on how you can be more eco-friendly this Christmas.
It's an obvious one, but millions of us still aren't recycling properly.
An estimated 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and 83km/sq of wrapping paper is thrown away in the UK every Christmas, much of it going into the incorrect bin.
Most wrapping paper is recyclable, with the exception of paper with glitter or a foil-effect, while the countless bottles and cans dotted around the house should be discarded appropriately.
Breckland Council has recommended a wrapping paper 'scrunch test': if it stays scrunch, recycle it. If it bounces back, it should go in the rubbish bin.
"Recycling correctly should be a part of everyone's routine, especially at Christmas time," says Alison Webb, Breckland's executive member for the environment.
"The scrunch test is not only a fun way of finding out if your wrapping paper can be recycled, but also a vital way to increase our correct recycling rates."
2) Make sustainable fashion choices
Everyone, aside from Scrooges amongst us, loves a Christmas jumper.
But earlier this month, Environmental charity Hubbub urged us to stop buying festive fleeces after finding 95pc of those on the shelves were made entirely or partly from plastic.
What's more, according to research from Oxfam, around 1.7m items of sequined clothing and accessories - which won't ever biodegrade - will be binned following this year's Christmas party season.
Revellers are instead advised to buy second-hand, borrow from friends and donate items which are no longer needed to charity shops.
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3) Don't buy gifts for the sake of it
It may well be a season of goodwill and giving, but Macmillan Cancer Support predicts the people of Norfolk will spend £40m this year on gifts they suspect their loved ones may not like.
Inevitably, many of those presents will go to waste and end up in landfill, so the charity recommends asking for a donation to your favourite charity as an alternative.
4) Go green with your Christmas cards
It's a Christmas tradition that may never die, but it's thought more than a billion cards are thrown out within days of December 25.
5) Make your own Christmas crackers
Every year our houses end up cluttered with pointless little plastic toys from the countless crackers we've pulled.
If you don't put them in your 'stuff that doesn't go anywhere' drawer, they'll likely end up in the bin.
Why not have a crack at making your own? There are plenty of online guides and you'll just need to think of some useful, environmentally-friendly surprises to fill them.
6) Cut down on food waste
Seeing the fridge and cupboards brimming with goodies at Christmas is a glorious.
Our eyes, however, tend to be bigger than our bellies, so consider freezing your leftovers or donate to your local food bank such as those run by The Trussell Trust in Norfolk.
7) O Christmas Tree - are you eco-friendly?
It's not always clear whether to buy an artificial tree which is near impossible to recycled, or a fresh tree which needs chopping down.
Despite the plus side of being able to re-use a fake tree, their carbon footprint is huge given the materials used and long travel distances following manufacture.
Experts say your best bet is to buy real, whether grown in Norfolk or with an FSC certification to show it's from the UK.
Once Christmas ends, trees are best recycled locally for chipping or by planting them in he garden if the roots are still intact.
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