It may be the most wonderful time of the year but the sheer amount of waste that occurs every festive season isn’t exactly bringing joy to the world. According to WRAP (Waste And Resources Action Programme), every year 500 tonnes of Christmas tree lights are thrown out as are 277,000 miles of wrapping paper, 74 million mince pies, 2 million turkeys and 250 tonnes worth of tree. That’s not even half of it!
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drop the festivities and immediately become a Scrooge, far from it! With a little bit of innovation, you can have yourself a merry little Christmas, just with a touch more sustainably. Here are a handful of ideas to keep you rockin’ around the responsibly sourced Christmas tree come December 25th.
Swap The Wrapping Paper For Something Even Cuter
Whilst recycling your used wrapping paper is an incredibly environmentally kind thing to do, getting rid of the stuff completely would be ideal. Trading a potential paper cut infliction for something soft and reusable such as a silk scarf, not only looks fabulous but will be treasured for life (or reused again to wrap your present next year). It’s essentially an extra gift. See our handy GIF for reference of assembly.
Buy a set of three silk scarves from our website, or come into one of our stores to find the perfect pattern yourself.
Ask What They Want
To reduce the fear of seeing your hard sought Christmas present in your local charity shop come New Years, or worse: the bin, have you ever considered asking your chosen recipient what they actually want? Perhaps instead of that kind of cute but totally unnecessary onesie you’ve been eyeing up in a branch of your preferred fast-fashion chain store, they are in dire need of a new sweatshirt after managing to spill red wine all down theirs at the work Christmas party. Think about it.
Shop Vintage And Second Hand
One man’s trash is another one’s treasured Christmas gift! Not only does shopping vintage and secondhand drastically reduces negative impacts on the world around us but the quality of genuine vintage clothing is way better than modern-day high street garb. One pair of brand new jeans uses over 5000 pints of water in the production line, and you don’t need that kind of guilt playing on your mind when there’s delicious food to be eaten and perfect telly to be watched.
Buy Vintage Christmas Jumpers
You’ve probably heard us go on about how vintage is one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact, but it’s true! And besides, no Christmas is complete without a jazzy jumper. Shop unique throwback styles complete with all the usual trimmings to bring some extra Christmas spirit to your celebration.
Vegan Food Christmas Alternatives
Although meat eaters literally won’t stop going on about pigs in blankets every festive season, raising livestock causes over half of the world’s global emissions and animal farming creates around 18% of all greenhouse gases. Swapping to a nut roast with deliciously seasoned vegetables and a veggie stuffing could warm your stomachs without contributing to global warming.
Forking out for new tinsel and baubles every year, only for them to be cast away to sit in landfills forever isn’t so jolly. Try opting for something a little kinder like hung pine cones or chains made from recycled paper, even turning your old CDs into baubles. You can even make little gingerbread shapes and attach them to your tree using ribbon!
There’s nothing worse than receiving a present you’d never use, except maybe being the giver of the said gift. Let your loved one choose some goodies for themselves with a gift card, which we have available both online and in store. Waste not, want not.
Cutting Christmas Waste
We live in a society where being 100% waste free is genuinely impossible, but there are a few tricks to making it a little bit better. Cut down on your Christmas waste by donating any leftovers to food banks, downloading the Olio no waste food app and reusing gift bags when possible!
Out With The Old
In the disastrous event of receiving a gift so horrendous and unlike anything you’d ever imagine owning, or maybe your new gift renders an old favourite useless, perhaps you should consider donating elsewhere. Either drop it off at a local charity shop or re-gift to someone who could really need it. And after all, there’s always eBay, Depop, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree!
Stuck for gifting ideas? Check out our online store and bag yourself or your loved ones the perfect Christmas present from our website.
Here at Beyond Retro, we love selling vintage, secondhand and upcycled clothing in an effort to re-home 10 billion items in an ongoing effort to keep the planet sustainable! Alongside our parent company Bank and Vogue, we re homed 90 million items last year and we continue to keep on growing whilst continually finding new ways to better our output. We are always trying to find new ways to be sustainable, from the product we offer to the way we run our business, every little bit helps. As a team, we love learning new ways to be more environmentally conscious in different ways!
So to celebrate Earth Day, we'd thought we'd share our favourite helpful tips to reduce your environmental impact in very simple, easy ways.
1. Buy Second Hand
It takes 2,700 litres of water to make one t-shirt, over 5000 to make one pair of jeans and each year, global clothing manufacture use the same electricity that all UK households need for 10 years, and that's just the start!
Shopping vintage and second hand can greatly reduce your impact on the world around you. There are of course our stores and online shop, plus plenty of other vintage stores all over the UK, charity shops can also be great for finding a bargain for a good cause. You can also shop online with eBay and Etsy, apps like Depop and even head to a car boot sale, clothes swapping event or try swapping with your mates!
2. Let Clothes Dry Naturally
Your clothes dryer is the second most electrically draining home appliance, using around 2400 watts per hour. Not only will hanging up your wet clothes make the environment and your clothes happy, but you can save yourself over £1,000 in 18 months from your energy bills too!
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Firstly, look into the recycling rules in your area, as most of us aren't entirely sure what you should be recycling with only 1/3 of plastic packaging being recycled in the UK.
As well as recycling your household waste, consider how your daily life could be affecting the planet. Start sending emails instead of cards that are likely to be chucked, avoid using a printer when possible, invest in glass Tupperware instead of plastic tubs, donate unwanted items to friends, family or charities, or sell on!
Instead of throwing stuff out when it's broken, try fixing it instead, you might just learn a new skill in the process! You might even find a new use for an item, an old wool jumper, you can reuse the wool to knit something new or maybe an old pair of jeans that can be cut into shorts.
You can find out more about how to care for your clothing with our vintage care guide.
4. Check Sustainability
Shop around and select appliances with high energy efficient ratings, use renewable energy sources and buy locally where possible. All these little things combined could make a big difference!
5. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
Stay on top of this by keeping a carrier bag or a tote bag in your pocket when you leave the house, even if you aren't planning on buying anything. Since the new carrier bag charge, you'll save an extra 5p per outing too.
6. Say No To Single Use Plastics
Single-use plastics such as plastic cutlery, carrier bags and drinking straws are a major source of marine litter which is why cutting down on these sorts of products is so necessary. As well as providing your own bags, be sure to say no to disposable forks and the likes as much as possible. You can buy single and multi packs of reusable straws online for as little as £5.
Another way to avoid single-use plastic is to invest in reusable coffee cups and water bottles to keep with you!
7. Holiday Helpfully
Research your destination before visiting to make sure it's not an environmentally sensitive area and go off-season if that option is available to you. Sounds obvious but don't leave your litter on the beach or disturb animals in their habitats either!
8. Dispose Responsibly
Some things just aren't recyclable but items like batteries and light bulbs are hazardous to the environment. Contact your local council to see where to drop these used products safely and consider investing in rechargeable batteries and energy-saving light bulbs.
9. You Are What You Eat
Well, not literally but sparing a thought to where your food comes from can go a long way. Shop locally where possible, buy fruit and vegetables that are in season to minimise shipping costs, imported off-season fruit and vegetables need air, sea and land transport to make it into your local supermarket. Only add non-endangered fish species to your basket, consume less meat where you can or even give vegetarianism or veganism a go! A recent study showed that a widespread switch to vegetarianism would cut emissions by nearly two-thirds! Avoid ingredients such as palm oil that causes mass deforestation during production. If you have a garden, try growing your own vegetables!
10. Switch Off
Switching off your electronics at the wall after using them can massively help cut down on your negative environmental impact. Double check you've turned off everything at the office before heading home and try not to fall asleep in front of the TV.
These 10 helpful tips on keeping sustainable can help to reduce your impact on the environment!
Why did Bank & Vogue decide to get involved in this year's Innovation forum?
To find out more about the innovation forum, listen to podcasts with people in the industry and to find out more about the Sustainable Apparel Conference, head over to their website: innovation-forum.co.uk