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I'm dreaming of a green Christmas...

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas...

Published at 6:50am 21st December 2019.

If you're keen to do your bit for the planet while celebrating Christmas this year, we're here to help.

  • The environmental impact of Christmas is huge.
  • The appetite for leading an eco-friendly lifestyle is increasing year on year - 48% of Yorkshire and The Humber residents intend on going gren.
  • Eco-shops opening up across the UK, including in the Stray FM area.
  • We've asked some experts for their top tips.

Christmas has a massive impact on the environment. A Manchester Uni study found that every year, eight billion trees are cut down across the UK for Christmas cards and wrapping paper.

It also said that just from the amount of food we eat over the festive season, we consume 80% more food than the rest of the year. The environmental impact is said to be the same as a car travelling six thousand times aroung the world!

As people across the world become more aware of the environment, they might want to try and reduce their impact. A recent survey found nearly half of people living in Yorkshire and the Humber wanted to go green this Christmas.

One way of doing that through the year is to buy from an "eco shop". Over the past few years, loads have opened across the UK, including here in Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale.

We asked some eco-shop owners for their top tips to save the environment while enjoying the festivities.


Wrapping paper - don't use it.

This one was top of the list for all of the eco-shops.

Charlotte Hawkins, from Waste Not in Burley in Wharfedale, told Stray FM:

"Use reusable wrapping which recipients can return or reuse.

"Scarves are great as they can be used for wrapping or keeping warm, and can be found cheaply in charity shops.

"This is really important as the UK uses 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year (that's four rolls per household), and most of it can't be recycled."

Michael & Dally run Skipton's The Eco Store. They've got some ideas too:

"You could potato print it with festive designs or tie it up with a ribbon or twine - it’s great to get the kids involved.

"Better yet, wrap things in wrapping paper you already have lying about from presents you have received."


Buying local

That's the advice from Rebecca Lodge, who runs JarFull, a new eco-shop soon to be opening in Harrogate.

Rebecca told Stray FM:

"Buying from your local highstreet and Harrogate is one of the best places to do that with so many unique independents on our doorstep from fruit and veg shops to butchers to gift shops.

"Buying locally reduces our carbon footprint hugely."

And Michael & Dally in Skipton remind us "you can get hold of packaging-free ingredients at your local eco-store."


Eco-friendly Christmas decorations

This ranges from Christmas wreaths to Christmas crackers and everything in between.

JarFull's Rebecca said:

"Foraging for natural materials such as pine cones, holly and ivy is so easy and all can be used to make our own Christmas door wreaths.

"Orange slices can be dried out and cinnamon sticks can be tied together using string too all without any single-use plastic."

They also make them in Skipton...

At Waste Not in Burley in Wharfedale, the focus is on Christmas crackers!


Talk to your Gran

This one's from Sharon and Hugh at FINK Home and Nature, Boroughbridge.

They told Stray FM:

"Speak to Gran and ask her for tips.

"50 years ago there was less of everything and necessity was the mother of invention.

"Before the days of Tupperware and cling film, my Mum used the waxed paper the bread came in to wrap food for storage and my Dad's packed lunch."


Be careful...

Hugh and Sharon also warned us that sometimes we can go a bit over the top - and that results in an overall negative impact on the environment.

These are their warnings:

  • It's not all about plastic - driving all over the district in your car doesn't do the environment much good, even if you are searching for the latest eco-friendly products.
  • Not all plastic is bad. If you can reuse plastic, it's probably useful. The problems lie with single-use plastic.
  • Think before you replace all of your belongings with the latest eco product. Your old goods may not be as green as the latest versions but as long as they work, you're doing the environment no favours by replacing them.