As Christmas approaches, we’re sharing our 12 tips of Christmas to help businesses reduce waste, use less energy and do right by the planet – all whilst keeping the merriment and traditions of the festive season alive!
So if your business is looking to have an eco Christmas this year, take a look at our tips!
At this time of the year, many businesses will be putting up decorations to bring some holiday cheer to the workplace. The crowning jewel of the holiday decs has to be the Christmas tree. But did you know that a plastic tree has a carbon footprint of around 40kg of CO2?
This is around 10 times larger than a real Christmas tree (when it’s properly disposed of at the end of its life), meaning you’d have to use your plastic Christmas tree for at least 10 years to level out the environmental impact. Of course, if your business already owns an artificial tree, then it’s best to use what you already have. But if you don’t have a tree, definitely opt for a locally sourced real one as your first port of call.
Christmas lights can spread holiday cheer, lighting up those dark evenings and bringing a bit of extra glamour to your workplace. Yet extra lights mean extra electricity, which could bump up your carbon footprint. This is especially true if you opt for incandescent bulbs, which waste a lot of energy- around 90%– on generating heat rather than light (this also means that they can get hot to the touch). These type of lights can also burn out and break, meaning that you’re replacing bulbs or the whole string of lights a lot more frequently.
For a more environmentally friendly lighting option, it’s better to opt for LED lights. These can be up to 75% more energy-efficient, as well as last 25 times as long. This means that your business can light up your tree without worrying about a massive spike in your electricity bills- or carbon footprint.
Exchanging cards is a great way to pass on holiday wishes to your friends and colleagues. As a nation, it’s safe to say that we love a good Christmas card; so much so that we send around a billion cards per year. We should, however, be wary of the potential environmental impact of the cards we sent.
Glittery accents, plastic embellishments and of course, the cellophane wrapper that cards come in can have a negative impact on the planet, introducing extra waste and microplastics into the environment. Opting for more environmentally friendly options such as recycled paper, glitter-free and even seed paper cards (that you can plant in the ground) is a much better way of wishing someone a happy holiday.
Whilst the holidays are a time for giving gifts, it’s safe to say that we can all go a bit overboard sometimes. Indeed, it’s estimated that a whopping £42 million worth of Christmas presents are unwanted and sent to landfill every single year. Rather than panic buy presents for everyone you know, take a breather and have a think about more environmentally friendly ways of giving gifts this year. The key here is to reduce waste. This could involve anything from buying package-less items, second-hand gifts or even doing a secret Santa to minimise presents.
Getting shopping vouchers is also a good way of minimising wasteful presents, as it lets your recipient choose their own item from themselves and ensures they can buy something they really want or need.
Christmas jumpers are one of the funniest ways of getting into the Christmas spirit and office Christmas jumper days have grown massively in popularity over the last few years. Whilst getting a brand-new jumper this Christmas might be tempting, these fast-fashion pieces can have a negative environmental impact. Indeed, a study carried out by Hubbub found that one in three under 35s admitted to buying a new festive jumper every year, with around two-fifths of all jumpers only worn once over the festive season.
Around 24% of consumers don’t want to be seen wearing the same Christmas Jumper every year and we can understand why people would want to shake things up. Yet it’s also worth bearing in mind more environmentally friendly ways of getting a ‘new-to-you’ festive jumper, such as swapping with a friend, relative or colleague or buying second-hand.
Our next tip involves a time-honoured tradition, the office Christmas party! Whether you’re going out to a meal, staying in the office for drinks or hitting the town, we’ve got a simple tip for reducing your carbon footprint- take public transport or arrange joint taxis for people that live near each other. Leaving your car at home also means you can have a drink and won’t have to trudge back to the office the next day to pick it up (or worse, risk drink driving!).
Per Kilometre, a petrol and diesel car release 192g and 171g of CO2 respectively, whilst a bus releases 105g and train emits 41g. Sharing a car lift with someone in a petrol car also reduces emission to 96g per km. Thinking about how you get to your parties this Christmas could help you to lower your Yuletide carbon footprint.
Ripping open a present definitely has to be one of the most exciting parts of Christmas. No matter how old we are, tearing into wrapping paper always brings back that childish joy. Sadly, some wrapping paper isn’t the best for the environment. In a similar strand to Christmas cards, the added extras of glitter or gloss can make wrapping paper unrecyclable and contribute to the planet’s plastic problem.
That doesn’t mean you have to do away with wrapping paper altogether though. You can always look for eco alternatives. Avoid the glittery, metallic and plasticky looking wrapping paper and choose plain or recycled paper instead. You can always get creative with your wrapping and opt for fabric such as a scarf (two gifts in one!) or a reusable gift box that your recipient can pass on. Bonus tip: save gift bags and reuse them next year!
In the run-up to Christmas, we do A LOT of shopping. Indeed, it’s estimated that we Brits will spend a massive £84.7bn this Christmas. From gift hunting to food shops, it’s a lot of shopping… and if we’re not prepared, a lot of plastic/paper bags as well. It takes around 10-20 years for plastics bags to start composing- that’s a long time for something that we only use to carry our shopping from the shop to our home.
Remembering to bring your reusable bags with your when you go Christmas shopping can help avoid producing more unnecessary waste, as well as save you money on buying plastic bags. Investing in some fruit and veg bags can also help you use less plastic over Christmas, ensuring your Christmas veg don’t come wrapped in plastic.
Would it be Christmas without Christmas crackers? Whether you’re bringing them to a sit-down office meal or dotting them around the office for your party, Christmas crackers always provide a source of entertainment (as well as those snazzy paper hats).
Unfortunately, the contents of many crackers aren’t good for the environment. Think of those little plastic toys that get played with for two seconds and then promptly lost under the table.
If you don’t want to give up crackers altogether, you can opt for eco-friendly crackers. These will be made with recycled or recyclable paper and won’t contain any little plastic toys (don’t worry though, the awful dad jokes will still be in there).
Going out for a Christmas meal with the team? Why not ditch the meaty dinner in favour of a vegetarian or vegan option? Now, before you leave an angry comment about veganism, hear us out. Not only is veggie or vegan food tasty, but it’s also often better for the environment. Studies estimate that a vegan diet can reduce your environmental impact by as much as 84%… and the traditional Christmas dinner is no exception.
A turkey dinner for 6 people, including meaty gravy and those all-important pigs in blankets, produces around 23.5 kg CO2e– approximately the same emissions as driving 78.5 miles in a petrol car. A nut roast with all the vegan trimmings only emits around 9.5 kg of CO2e (roughly only 31.6 miles). Now, we’re certainly not saying that everyone should miss out on their turkey this year- it’s just another thing to think about if you want an eco-Christmas.
It’s safe to say that a lot of business’s Christmas parties will involve alcohol. Whether you’re having a few drinks or getting boozy, our next eco tip involves your favourite Christmas tipples. Whilst there’s a lot of discussion about the environmental impact of food, there’s not a lot of discourse about the impact of our love of booze. Alcohol production has environmental impacts at every stage, using excessive water, pesticides on crops and natural resources for can and bottle production.
Thankfully there are responsible and eco producers out there. Ensuring your business stocks up on the good stuff can help to reduce your environmental impact this Christmas season, as well as support sustainable farmers and alcohol producers.
Whether you’re buying a tree, turkey, or gifts, we recommend that you buy from local producers, craftspeople or shops. These days, we can buy things from all over the world and have them delivered straight to our door. Convenient? Yes! But it’s worth considering the air miles that that adds to your Christmas carbon footprint.
Shopping with local producers will ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of your Christmas, as well as bring the added benefits of supporting local businesses, communities, and people! So, no matter how your business plans on celebrating the holidays this year, why not consider supporting other local businesses?
At Tariff, we’ve made a firm commitment to helping businesses of all sizes and industries go net-zero ahead of the Government’s 2050 target. As one of the UK’s leading energy switch providers, we’re in the ideal position to prepare your business for the future.
Whether you’re uncertain of how net-zero policies will impact your business, or you’re seeking a more affordable solution for your business’ green energy needs, we’ll provide a bespoke package that covers everything from finding the right provider, to organising all the paperwork, to finalising that switch over.
Get in touch today to find out more about how Tariff can help your business begin its green journey.