It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a time spent with family and friends and often involves a great deal of indulgence. But is there another way of approaching the Christmas? One that more sustainable, and one that means we reduce our carbon footprint, while still having the jolliest of seasons.

Here’s some of our favourite ways to do it:

Think about the lifespan of the festive products you buy

Above all else, it’s important to consider whether or not something is recyclable before you buy it. Christmas cards, wrapping paper, crackers and even decorations are several examples of festive items that can have a long term damaging effect on our environment. According to research, each Christmas sees 1.5 billion Christmas cards thrown away without being reused, alongside crackers being responsible for 154,000,000 pieces of plastic in the UK each year. Fortunately, many retailers have started offering recycling christmas cards and wrapping paper, but they don’t do everything. In reality, to have a greener Christmas, you may need to miss out on favourites that you’ve grown used to. Especially if these favourites involved glitter.

Here are some great ways to avoid festive paper and plastic waste

  • Recycled brown parcel paper for wrapping: Even if you aren’t happy with the understated, classic look it offers, you can add your own illustrations to personalize the packaging.
  • Go for string instead of sellotape: Even if you do go for recyclable wrapping paper, the plastic in sellotape makes it far trickier to reuse. Much like the brown parcel paper, using string will give your gifts more character and mean they can be used again next year!
  • Wrap your presents with scarfs: It may at first sound a little strange, but it’s actually a genius move.Of course the festive period is often a time where your scarfs will come in handy, but if you have any lying around, this is a fun and sustainable way to keep your gifts hidden before the 25th of December.
  • Make cards using scrap paper and free of glitter. Much like the brown parcel paper, take this as an opportunity to show your creativity. Your loved ones will find these cards so much more memorable, plus it will massively reduce your carbon footprint. But remember, do not use glitter when making the cards.
  • Decorate your home in a sustainable way: Much like cards, you don’t need to overspend and find Christmas decorations that will soon end up in a landfill. Using cardboard from delivery boxes and items from round the house will bring so much more charm to your festive set up and is an important step to a sustainable christmas. Passers-by will certainly prefer seeing charming signs in the window then the homes that have turned into light pollution centres.
  • Send e-Cards instead:If it’s part of a yearly tradition to send cards to every one of your nearest and dearest, it’s worth looking for an alternative method, and it’s worth looking online. As well as being waste and carbon footprint free, there is so much potential for an e-Card, from a wide range of images to personalised animations. There’s also an infinite amount of space to write messages (something that paper and plastic cards cannot offer). Platforms such as Paperless Post, Some E-Cards and Punchbowl are a good place to start, and might even result in you never buying a greeting card ever again.
Photo by pure julia on Unsplashlink

Make Second Hand Gifting your go-to

When planning a more environmentally friendly festive time, this will make a massive difference. It will drastically reduce your carbon footprint, as well as decreasing the amount of plastic packaging that is usually used this time of year. Initially purchasing and selling second hand or ‘preloved’ products gained popularity through platforms such as eBay and Depop, and it is now commonplace for big retailers to have their own sustainably second hand, recycled products. An example of this (and perfect if you’re looking to purchase sporting essentials for discounted prices) is our Sustainability Scheme known as Decathlon Second Life. Every one of our Second Life Products has either been marked or used, which despite being in excellent working order, means we cannot sell them as new. This however does not mean these items can’t still be enjoyed, so our team experts fully refurbishes every Second Life product, so we can then offer them at prices that are kind to your pocket, and even kinder to the planet.

Choose Ecodesigned Products

If you do decide to opt for buying brand new, it’s a good idea to try think about the lifecycle of products that you are purchasing. By choosing gifts that have been created in an environmentally friendly way, whether that be through using recycled materials or with sustainable methods that mean reducing the impact on the planet during its production. With Decathlon’s Ecodesign range, we want our products to help protect our playground as well as being accessible for our users. When making our ecodesign methods include:

  • Cotton Recycling:Growing chemical free cotton means 98% less water pollution on farms than with traditional forms of growing fabric.
  • Cotton Growing:All of our cotton is sourced sustainably, from growing organically to using recycled cotton. This reduces our use of harmful chemicals, new resources and water pollution.
  • Recycled Polyester: We recycle plastic bottles to create the same warm and breathable Quechua fleeces, reducing our use of petrol based sources. In 2019 alone we recycled 32 million plastic bottles!
  • Dope Dyeing: By integrating the colour pigments into the fibre during the thread manufacturing process, we can save so much water wasted by the traditional dyeing process.
  • Biton: A process that minimises the amount of water used through only dying one thread instead of two, which has far less impact on the fabric, and far less water used.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplashlink

Make it a Gift for the Planet

Got that family member that doesn’t want anything? Instead of buying them a candle or some socks, why not make a donation to an environmental charity in their name? If they love the plane(and we hope they do) this is a gift that will go down like a storm, and one that isn’t related to climate change. Great charities include Friends of the Earth, The Wildlife Trusts and Greenpeace. You’ll more than be given the oppurtunity to create your own personalised e-certificate which will show your giftee the difference their present is making

A Rooted Tree is the Way to Go

It’s been long believed that to stop Christmas trees being needlessly wasted, that buying a plastic one is the best option. But as they’re made from plastic and usually cost a similar price to real christmas trees, that isn’t necessarily the case. If you have a garden, the best option is to purchase a rooted tree. This means when it comes round to taking the decorations down, you don’t have to throw it away, you can just replant it in your garden and keep it healthy until next year. It will help the planet and give something extra to your garden.

Keep an Eye on the Food Waste

Last but certainly not least, we should look at food. Alongside the gifts, it’s the thing that everyone loves the most about the festive period. However, with that love, often comes filling the fridge to the extent which ends up with endless food that is often thrown away. This Christmas, always think about a Plan B when it comes to buying food. What could you turn it into it doesn’t get eaten? What’s the expiration date? Are there any elderly neighbours, foodbanks or soup kitchens the food banks it could be donated if it doesnt have any use? By just thinking about the food’s lifecycle, you can both cut down on food waste and help someone that may really need it (which is what Christmas is really about anyway)

Have a wonderful, eco-friendly Christmas!