A sustainable Christmas

  • A sustainable Christmas

Ten tips

Follow these ten tips for preventing waste and help to minimise the Christmas season's impact on the environment.

Christmas is usually a time when people consume a lot, buying presents, food and drink, as well as ornamental plants, such as fir trees. People also make more journeys and use more energy in their homes.

For this reason, we should all try and minimise the impact that the festive season has on the environment, by following a series of simple ideas, tips and good practices that will help to make this Christmas more sustainable and responsible.

Tip 1: The super shopping kit

TIP: Shopping is one of the main activities during the festive season. Get yourself a super shopping kit and avoid as much plastic as possible. Don't give in. Say NO to plastic!

IMPACT: The plastic you use for just a few minutes takes 400 years to decompose. This means that you will come across it throughout your life, on your trips to the mountains, your holidays at the beach, and if we don't change our ways, even in your soup!

Tip 2: Ornament swap party

TIP: Around the time of Santa Llúcia, you start dusting off your Christmas ornaments. Make the best of the occasion: organise a swap party and exchange your decorations. You can renew your Christmas decorations without spending a penny, while enjoying the company of your friends and relatives.

IMPACT: Waste management and treatment causes 10% of Barcelona's CO2 emissions. In the context of the climate emergency, we have to reduce the amount of waste we produce. We can do this by exchanging, repairing and reusing things. Because the best waste is the waste you don’t create!

Tip 3: Promotional Christmas tree

TIP: You can enjoy doing handicrafts while reconnecting with the true Christmas spirit and your inner child. If you have children at home, it gives you another fun family activity to do. Decorate you home using creativity: we invite you to find sustainable alternatives to Christmas trees. You can make them out of wine corks, cardboard boxes, dry branches, books or other everyday objects you have at home.

IMPACT: After spending a few weeks in our living rooms, thousands of trees are dumped at the tree collection points located throughout the city. One more wasteful habit of the festive season that we can save the natural world.

RECYCLE: If you opt for a natural tree in the end, take it to the nearest collection point once the festivities are over.

Tip 4: Practice furoshiki

TIP: Wrap your presents using this traditional Japanese technique. Create a trend by starting a virtuous circle of giving and receiving. The material you use to wrap your present passes from person to person in your inner circle, and it is quite likely to return to you before long, as a present.

IMPACT: It is calculated that around 70 km2 of wrapping paper is used at Christmas. This is equivalent to 10,000 football fields!

Tip 5: Secret Regifting Santa

TIP: Don’t buy things that will turn into waste. Tidy up your home and find potential gifts that you have hidden away. Tidy up your house and, while you're doing it, you get “Secret Santa” presents.

IMPACT: By changing consumer habits, we can put a stop to the indiscriminate exploitation of the planet's resources and slow the effects of the climate emergency. We need to change our habit of producing things, using them and throwing them away for habits that prolong the useful life of things, turning waste into resources.

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Tip 6: Save on Alka-Seltzer!

TIP: Don't make yourself finish all the food on the table. Prepare a batch-cooking session to make the most of it. You save yourself the indigestion, make January less expensive and avoid all those intense gym sessions to lose the weight you gained during the festivities.

IMPACT: We would save the planet quite a few tonnes of greenhouse gases. If we don't throw as much food away, we could save up to the equivalent of driving 20,300 cars throughout their useful lives.

Tip 7: Don't be tempted... no single-use items on the dining table!

TIP: It is a time for getting together with friends and relatives, and having a lot of meals, one after the other. For convenience, we often bring out single-use crockery. Keep up with the times! Using disposable crockery is old fashioned! You save on trips to the rubbish containers, and, more importantly, you protect your own health. This Christmas, keep calm and recycle!

IMPACT: Half of the plastic waste found in the sea comes from single-use items.

Tip 8: Charge your batteries

TIP: Keep your eyes open and get presents that don't need batteries. During the Christmas season, we consume 40% of the batteries sold during the whole year. If we use products that work with wind-up mechanisms, solar or electric power, we are doing the Earth twice as much good. First, we don't pollute, and second, we use more energy-efficient devices.

IMPACT: A single button battery can pollute all the water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Tip 9: Discover cardboard shaping

TIP: Have you ever seen children open their presents and then end up playing with the cardboard boxes that they came in? Cardboard is an ideal material for creating your own toys.

IMPACT: After glass, the waste fraction that increases most is paper and cardboard, rising by more than 20%.

Tip 10: Long live bottles

TIP: To prevent empty bottles becoming a headache, we suggest a DIY workshop to turn them into glasses. Renew your stock of crockery by including a wide variety of cheap, original glasses.

IMPACT: Every year in Catalonia, we consume 147 million wine bottles, 43% of which are NOT recycled.

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Ten tips

Follow these ten tips for preventing waste and help to minimise the Christmas season's impact on the environment.

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