With just a few days left for those Christmas preparations, here are our last-minute tips for celebrating this festive time of the year, without costing the Earth!

  1. Still looking for last-minute presents? There’s a big trend this year for buying experiences instead of physical gifts. Vouchers for local restaurants, theatres, cinemas and other venues are a great way to support your area’s businesses and they don’t come in wasteful packaging.
  2. If you’re wrapping physical gifts, try using some nice cloth material – it’s two gifts in one, as your recipient can reuse it. You can use narrow strips of cloth as ribbons to tie up your present. An alternative is to simply use newspaper and string (a good way to avoid cellotape). If you explain why you’ve chosen a more sustainable wrapping, perhaps you’ll inspire your recipient to do the same!
  3. When it comes to protecting the environment and cutting your carbon footprint, your food choices will make a big difference. The food we eat is responsible for 80 per cent of tropical deforestation – including to produce feed for the 10 million turkeys bought in the UK at Christmas. Could this be the year you try a meat-free Christmas dinner?
  4. The equivalent of about two million turkeys end up in the bin over the festive period, along with lots of other food. Our top tips to avoid food waste are to plan how you’ll use up your leftovers in advance, and to dish out a small quantity onto plates. People can then come back for seconds if they’d like. That way, most of your leftovers will be in your pots rather than on plates, so you can put them away to use up later.
  5. If you’ve got lots of folk coming to your house over Christmas, here are a few tips for avoiding disposable plates, cups and cutlery:
    i. Check out the charity shops for some extras – you can always donate them back afterwards.
    ii. See if you can borrow some.
    iii. Would your visitors go along with bringing their own, to help you out and reduce waste?
    iv. If you’re using disposables, choose ones that don’t contain any plastic.