As Christmas fast approaches there is the inevitable rush to buy everything from presents to food, it’s easy to overlook the carbon cost of the things you buy and the trips you make. Everything we buy, everything we wrap, open and give has a carbon cost to it.
If you are environmentally conscious and your carbon footprint concerns you, then here are some tips for the Christmas Period that can help reduce your carbon activities. Even if you are an environmental sceptic following these tips might even save you a little money.
If you can buy locally produced goods, particularly food, then not only are you helping to support local industries and shops which are important, but you are reducing the carbon foot print of the item you are buying.
Get to know your local shops and town centres and in doing so support your local community. Why buy something produced abroad that has to travel a huge distance, when you can buy something produced just a few miles down the road?
If you do have to shop outside of the local area, then try shopping on line with a view to having your shopping delivered to you. This doesn’t reduce the carbon foot print of the products, but it will help you reduce yours. If you have to make multiple trips out to buy shopping then you will be using fuel and energy, and producing carbon. If the retailer delivers then they are likely to combine the delivery with many other deliveries. This will reduce the overall impact on the environment of multiple car journeys.
If you do have to make car journeys over the period, try to combine several trips into one, such as shopping, visiting family and dropping off presents. Unnecessary trips just add to your carbon production and cost money.
There are plenty of ethical gifts, such as gifts to favourite charities, which can be given that don’t generate any carbon at all. Some of these gifts can be used to help others, or even help to reduce carbon through the gift as part of a scheme. These gifts can be far more educational and interesting than any cheap stocking filler that barely lasts Christmas Day.
Ethical Superstore (opens in new window) provides great eco gadgets and environmentally friendly gifts.
Don’t waste time or money buying traditional greetings cards. Save on the postage and send e-cards instead which will reduce your carbon footprint, not to mention you can guarantee delivery for an e-card right up to and including Christmas Day itself!
Make Your Own Gifts
Sometimes the best demonstration of your affection for someone is to make them a gift with your own hands. See what you can utilise in your house. If you have particular artistic leanings, then put them to good use. Some gifts don’t require a huge amount of effort or talent to make, for example by using old photos to make a personalised calendar. Not only does making your own gifts reduce your carbon foot print, but it can be appreciated far more for the personal time and effort you have put into making the gift. Put those years of watching Blue Peter to good use!!
If you plan sensibly you can make gifts over the year to be ready in time for next Christmas at an almost negligible cost! Making your own wine, jam, preserves and so many others can be done at very little cost, very little carbon and make excellent future gifts.
Recycling Old Presents and Gifts
If you have old gifts that are in good condition that you have finished with, why not think of giving them as presents to other people? Someone among your friends and family are likely to have similar interests as you. Just make sure that they are in a good condition and that you don’t give them back to the person that gave it to you!! This is far better than throwing the gift away to landfill.
Following some, or all, of these steps over the festive period will help to reduce your carbon footprint and will help to save you a little bit of money too.
Merry Carbon Saving!
Written by Symon Silvester