1. The jumper
Each year, the nation buys millions of Christmas jumpers, then sadly many of them are headed to landfills by January. If you must buy a jumper this year, consider one made from recycled materials or upcycle an old vintage one if you can! According to a study by “Love Your Clothes” 40% of the UK only wear festive jumpers once or twice before ditching them. Instead, try swapping jumpers with a friend, donating them to charity or customising with decorations to give it a fresh, festive look.
2. The tree
What would Christmas be without something green and leafy to swap presents under? Did you know that the UK buys up to eight million trees every December? This sadly leads to an awful lot of waste. Consider renting a sustainable tree from your local garden centre or buy a potted one you can replant in the garden and bring back inside next year. If you lack the space for a big tree, why not decorate your best houseplant instead? Artificial trees are fine if you plan to keep re-using them but find a pre-loved one for a cheaper, greener alternative.
3. The decorations
Now that you have found your tree, it is time to give it a sustainable makeover. Head to a nearby park and challenge the kids to find red berries, pinecones and conkers they can paint to create baubles and wreaths. Crumble old Styrofoam or use cotton wool buds to resemble fake snow and fill old wine bottles with tiny LED fairy lights. Create paper chains from newspapers to replace plastic tinsel. Assemble potpourri bowls from dried citrus fruit, cinnamon sticks and cloves for that extra Christmassy feel.
4. The gifts and cards
Research and source gifts from eco-friendly brands, go plastic-free or reduce carbon by shopping locally online. Swap novelty trinkets for daily reusable items like coffee cups or tote bags. For the wrapping, reuse and decorate paper and packaging from online deliveries or use clean scarves or fabric to wrap items for family you live with. For a personal touch, you can handmake your own Christmas cards or cut the waste altogether by sending fun animated e-cards to loved ones.
5. The food
Food is a crucial element of our winter holiday traditions. Have you flirted with veggie or vegan swaps this year? Going meat-free is the biggest way you can reduce your carbon footprint during a festive feast. But if that sounds like a seasonal sin, go organic and free range by supporting small farms in your area for fresh meat and veg. The second biggest way is to eliminate food waste where possible. Buy products with minimal packaging and try not to over cater. Freeze or reinvent those lovely leftovers. Alternatively, contact your local food bank to see if you can safely drop off donations to support vulnerable communities during the cold, winter period.
6. The festive savings
It is said that the most popular Christmas gift of all time is money. So - if you’re looking for a greener place to stash your cash, or grow the budget sustainably for next year’s celebrations then consider eco-friendly saving accounts. RCI Bank’s E-Volve Savings 14 Day Notice Account is dedicated to funding the UK’s transition to electric vehicles. Did you know that Santa's nine reindeers emit the methane equivalent of 40,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases every Christmas Eve! We’ve heard that Mr Claus himself is considering an electric sleigh ride.
RCI Bank is committed to helping all our savers make the best decisions for the future. These sustainable swaps are just one way we can all do our part to stay safe, save money and feel really good this Christmas.