Christmas, but Make it Sustainable
There’s so much to love about Christmas. Twinkly lights, feel-good movies, giving, receiving and togetherness. Ahhh, Christmas.
There are also those parts of Christmas that are less lovable. Excess? Check. Waste? Check. Factory-farmed roast dinners? Triple check. Eep.
This year, Christmas is bound to look different for many of us, but we can still make it memorable. Cheesy games will be played over zoom and gifts to loved ones may be delivered by courier rather than by hand (fear not pals, we hear Santa is a keyworker).
A Christmas Makeover
While we’re in the spirit of reconsidering traditions and getting creative, it’s the perfect time to overhaul some of the more problematic elements of the holiday season. A Christmas revamp, if you will.
It’s okay, Elf can stay, waste with impunity? Not so much. Turkey with trimmings? We’ll take our Chrimbo dinner cruelty-free and planet friendly instead, please.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it ‘til the happy cows come home. We could all do with reducing our waste. Over Christmas, we generate 30% more (!!!) waste than usual. Waste has a whole host of negative impacts on the environment, from greenhouse gas emission to plastic pollution. Let’s give the planet the gift of a low-waste Christmas:
You’ve probably heard the stats about the quantity of wrapping paper we get through. Paper’s recyclable, you say? Actually, lots of wrapping paper is plastic-based. If you scrunch it and it doesn’t stay scrunched, likelihood is: it contains plastic. Besides; Sellotape, foil-backed gift tags, and glitter all render even pure paper wrap unrecyclable.
What you can do: recycled paper, newspaper and brown paper are all recyclable. If you want your present to look more luxe, why not try a natural fabric wrap like cotton (which could be reused or composted!). Use twine or ribbon rather than sticky tape to secure.
A jaw-dropping 6 million trees are binned each January in the UK alone. Each of these gives off an average of 16kg of CO2. Plus, when you add in the water and land required to grow them… yikes. That’s quite some toll on the Earth for a few weeks of tree.
What you can do: We love a living Christmas tree. Kinder to purse and planet – you buy it once and with the right care it can last year after year, all the while converting CO2 to oxygen. You can find potted trees in supermarkets and DIY stores – look for Fraser Firs for a hardy, needle-holding variety. Most councils also run a tree recycling scheme, where they compost or wood-chip old trees. If you’re short on space inside, go off-piste and adorn your favourite house plant with ornaments instead.
You know those gifts that you can tell the giver didn’t really know what to get you, but wanted to show they cared, so just panic-purchased? We’ve all received those gifts. We’ve all given those gifts. This is the year to say NO to pressure purchasing!
What you can do: Plan ahead. Write a detailed Christmas list before you hit the (online) shops so you’re not caught short or tempted to click just anything. Choose gifts with reduced packaging made with earth-friendly materials as much as possible., Been eyeing off the latest pair of Veja’s? Write to your loved ones and tell them exactly what you want (choose wisely!) Or, you could suggest they make a charity donation in your name if they’re keen to give a Christmas gesture. If you do received unwanted gifts, try upcycling them or advertise them on local sites such Freegle or Freecycle.
The festive season is famous for excess. The unsurprising result of all that extra food around the place is extra food waste.
What you can do: Meal plan! We advocate for this all year round; making a plan saves time, stress, money and waste. There are bloggers out there who have even done the hard work for you. If you didn’t manage to get through the whole Christmas dinner (who does), use up leftovers creatively; remember that veggie peels and scraps make great stock and that birds love stale mince pies.
Do It the Vegan Way
While we’re on the subject of food, here’s a massive way to make a difference this Christmas: go plant-powered. According to researchers at the University of Oxford, ditching meat and dairy products could reduce a person’s food carbon footprint by a whopping 73%. When there’s a world of veg to choose from and so many delicious plant-based alternatives available, you don’t have to compromise on flavour to have an earth and animal friendly Christmas dinner.
What you can do: Check out our Vegan Christmas Feast Guide for the ultimate plant-powered festive fiesta. If you can’t part with the full roast dinner, why not give it a vegan twist with our Jackfruit Christmas Dinner? Everyone knows you can’t have Christmas without a decadent dessert. Our Christmas Yule Log is the ultimate post-dinner chocolate indulgence.
Let’s inspire each other: Share your conscious Christmas plans with the Bonsan clan on social @bonsanvegan! #AbsolutelyVegan #SustainableChristmas.