Christmas is on its way and just like many of you, this is my first time spending it in the UK so I am both excited and curious about how British people celebrate the biggest holiday of the year. Christmas is a wonderful time, but it’s also considered to be the time when people consume and also dispose of significantly large amounts of waste. As a sustainable-living individual, I have always been seeking for different ideas and ways on how to reduce my carbon footprint in daily activities. For that reason, I started to do some research and I have discovered some amazing tips and shopping places right here in Leeds where all of us who are interested in sustainable, less-plastic ways of living can experience and practice these lifestyles. Here are some of my findings, I hope you will find them useful, especially at Christmas time.
1) A truly green Christmas tree:
When thinking of Christmas, I guess the first thing popping up in our heads are Christmas trees with lots of shining, twinkling decorations and also snow (haha I am also expecting snowfall in Leeds, so let's keep our fingers crossed that we will have it this year). I believe that many of you have plans to purchase Christmas trees and put glittering decorations on them. That's why here I recommend some ideas that can assist you to make better choices :
- Buy a locally-grown Christmas tree to support local farmers at Leeds and also help to reduce the carbon emissions coming from transporting these trees. Here are many addresses where you can come and choose the trees you want: Stockeld Park, Home Farm, The Arium, Swillington Organic Farm...
- Buy an FSC-certified tree by Forest Stewardship Council. FSC-certified trees are grown as part of a well-managed forest, minimizing the use of pesticides, and protecting forest plants and animals. You can visit FSC website for more detailed instructions.
- Rent a Christmas tree. This is a totally new idea for me, yet I haven't found any rental service in Leeds, but in some other places in the UK, they do offer this service. If you happen to know any stores in Leeds that allow customers to rent trees, share with us now!
2) Sustainable Christmas gifts: less is more.
Christmas is the time of give and take as we dedicate our blessings and appreciation to the ones we love. And do you know that there are tons of brilliant ideas for gifts that you can choose from?
- Consider to present your loved ones hand-made gifts: cooking them a meal, baking them a cake or planting them a small potted-tree or even giving them a big hug or a kiss.
It's time to say goodbye to plastics-wrapping gifts. Buy your friends and family a plastic-free gift or green items such as reusable tumblers, straws or bamboo toothbrushes that can inspire them to start a more sustainable lifestyle.
- Here is the list of some zero-waste shops and refilling stations that I have discovered in Leeds. I normally purchase reusable items, refill my body/ hair products and even some dry food at these stores:
- Adam and Eco- Natural soap and shampoo shop in Leeds Kirkgate Market, the shop owner is a lovely and friendly lady.
- Panda Refill Shop- They have almost everything from plastic & packaging free wholefoods, baking supplies, eco-friendly products, you can find Leeds Kirkgate Market or shop online.
- Eco Topia- A lovely store in Central Arcade that sells diverse reusable products, offers refilling services for all kinds of products from hair/body liquids, dry food, different ingredients..
- Leeds Refill Zero Waste Shop- A small, lovely store and very near to Leeds Trinity. They also offer refilling services for beauty products and dry food.
- You can consider gifts or greeting cards that once you purchase them, you are also giving support back to the local community. Here also some online stores where you can purchase gifts and give back to the community, most cards and wrapping paper on these website are also FSC-certified by Forest Stewardship Council:
- Oxfam – charity cards, plastic free options
- The Woodland Trust – plastic free charity cards and wrapping paper
- WWF – plastic free charity cards
3) Happy meals for all:
The best moment of Christmas is probably when we all gather in the kitchen cooking together and then enjoying lovely, delicious food. I have 2 tips that you can consider when planning to cook this Christmas:
- Buy locally-sourced and organically-grown food to support local farmers at Leeds. Take a day shopping at Leeds Kirkgate Market or Leeds outdoor market next to coach station on Dyer street, I am sure you can find plenty of fresh food and vegetables with very reasonable prices.
- Avoid food waste while you cook and maybe try out some plant-based meals for this Christmas. Love Food Hate Waste is a great campaign across the UK to advocate people to cook meals with minimal waste, they have some great menus and handy downloadable shopping lists for those cooking for 2, 4 or 6 people this Christmas!
4) Reduce, Reuse and finally Recycle:
The best option I would suggest is to reduce most of your shopping this holiday, consider buying the things you really need so that your waste can also be cut down. Then after you have used them, try to reuse them as many times as possible, give them many life-cycles, year after year, instead of discarding them after a single use. Finally, the last option is to recycle them. Here is some guidance by Recycle Now campaign about which items can be recycled and where to recycle them.
At Leeds, there are more than 30 places where you can recycle your items. Make sure you go to this Local Recycling Locator link, use the filter to learn about what kinds of items can be recycled and which places will accept them.
Finally, I really hope that my blog has been useful for you and it can motivate you to celebrate your festive holiday in a more sustainable and environmental friendly way.
Let’s live green and love the Earth this holiday season.
Merry Christmas to you all!!!