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We're Dreaming of a Green Christmas!

Written by Iona Nixon (Y8) and Gracie Cusker (Y8)

November 2023

Our latest meeting was all about Christmas! We discussed ideas for tackling waste and how we can make our festive season Greener and more sustainable.

Christmas Trees - Do you like to keep it real or fake it?

There is an ongoing debate on which is better for the environment, real or fake Christmas trees? We discussed this at length at our last meeting and here are some of the reasons for and against this tree-mendous argument.

Christmas TreeTeam Real

  1. The carbon footprint left behind for a fake tree is 10 x larger than a real one (according to The Carbon Trust). The majority of fake trees travel from many, many miles away and are made out of plastic whereas real trees are largely bought locally.
  2. Real trees can be taken to the local tip and chipped to be spread in parks. Local authorities often arrange drop-off points or special collections of 'real' trees in early January and advertise the dates along with any other changes to collections over the Christmas period. Please check your local authority website for more information.

Team Fake

  1. Fake trees can be kept for many years. You can put your tree up as early as you want and it won’t be dead by Christmas Day. A fake tree used over multiple years (7-20 times depending on the weight and different materials in the tree) is better for the environment than buying a new, commercially grown tree every year. 
  2. They are also a lot cleaner and you do not have to hoover up the fine pine needles which are a pain to tidy up if you have a real tree. 


When it comes to food at Christmas, the UK alone discards 54 million platefuls of food over the Christmas period (according to GWP Group) which is a shocking fact! Here are some tips on how to lower that number and reduce your own food waste:

Plan Ahead If you plan your Christmas meal in advance you should have just the right amount of food for the day.
Have a Leftover Meal There is no harm in saving food and eating leftovers on Boxing Day night for dinner. Visit the Love Food Hate Waste website and simply type your leftover food in ‘recipe search’ and select your recipe or select 'Christmas' in the filter box.
Give to Food Banks Any leftover you don’t want you can give away to a food back and it will be donated to someone who will need it this Christmas.

Wrapping paper

Although wrapping paper may be fun to rip open it’s actually not very good for the environment. Here are some small changes you can make that will have a big impact:

  1. Instead of paper try using gift boxes because they can be used over and over again and last for a long time!
  2. Ensure you buy recyclable wrapping paper or use fabric wrap (can be more expensive but worth it!)
  3. Open your presents really carefully this year so you can save your wrapping paper to re-use again next year! (Tell your loved ones to try this too!)

As a result of our discussions the Eco iLeaders have pledged to make at least one change that will help the environment this Christmas:

"I will only ask for presents I need and will use." Isobel S

"I will get environmentally friendly crackers without all the plastic stuff inside" Tenshin D

"I won't let the family buy sprouts because they end up in the bin." Alex M

We hope our tips give you some inspiration and wish you all a very merry, greener Christmas!

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