The festive period is a time to recharge the batteries, catch up with friends and family, and reflect on the year passed. This Christmas, Growhampton are offering a few simple eco-lutions to address common environmental issues such as metres of leftover wrapping paper, piles of food waste and the unnecessary deforestation to woodland. Times are a changin’. The festive period CAN be celebrated responsibly and here’s how:
Buy an Experience rather than a Material Gift
London is home to many fantastic theatres and playhouses. Why not treat your loved ones to tickets to the latest performance in the West End? Likewise, a cooking class or yoga session are also something sure to be well appreciated.
Fair Trade and Zero Waste
If you do opt for something material, charity shops and fair trade are the way to go. The likes of East Sheen, Chiswick and Putney are lined with stylish second-hand shops for you to dig deep among the bric-a-brac for that hidden gem. As they say, “one person’s trash is another’s treasure”. The Thrift Shop at the Students’ Union Reception is also full of high quality fashion items looking for a new home.
If you are looking for an ethical food or beauty related pressie, swing by the zero waste shop in the Hive Café. There are many options, including chutneys and jams cooked up by students as well as artisan products made by local entrepreneurs.
Cut Food Waste and Choose Recyclable Wrapping
Donate any excess food from social gatherings to a local food bank or via the food waste app OLIO. Alternatively consider freezing any cooked leftovers, or transforming your Christmas dinner into a nutritious soup / broth for the cold months ahead. Soup can also be frozen.
Each year in the UK the equivalent of 4 million Christmas dinners are wasted – which amounts to 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 5 million Christmas puddings! Taking this into account, 125,000 tonnes of plastic wrapping will also be discarded over the festive period. Staggering! That means opting for a product with recyclable wrapping is another key step we can all take.
Don’t get wasted this Christmas! Let’s make a change!
Reduce Meat Consumption and Go Organic
Have a read of this brilliant blog written by Emily Wright, chef at The Hive Café, on easy ways to eat more sustainably over Christmas. One take-away tip is to be bold and try out some vegan alternatives at a traditionally meat-heavy time of year. Also, do not be put off by the sometimes-expensive organic options in the shops. How about eating less, but choosing higher quality?
A Gift for the Planet
We love the idea of planting a tree or donating to a valuable charitable cause this Christmas. Mother Earth is precious and deserves affection.
Build an Eco-Tree
The majority of Christmas trees are flown in from northern Europe and sprayed with nasty chemicals to keep them fresh for the 5-week festive period. This year Growhampton installed an alternative Christmas tree in front of the Hive Café, which involved sourcing sticks, foliage and foraged materials from around campus. The result was an eco-tree! A simple design and fun activity that can be replicated anywhere. Why not give it a go!
If you do buy a tree, consider re-potting it after Christmas and keeping it in a shady part of your garden to be reused for next year.
Get Crafty and Reuse
Design your own cards and tap into your inner creative spirit. Likewise, old newspapers make excellent wrapping paper. The average UK household will use four rolls of wrapping paper this Christmas, which amounts to 227,000 miles for the entire country! This is equivalent to circumnavigating the earth 9 times! Hold on to any wrapping paper for next year!