The festive season has become synonymous with excess and extravagance in recent years, and not always in a good way. Did you know that we bin an estimated 230,000 miles of wrapping paper on Christmas day – and use a staggering 300,000 tonnes of card during the festive season? That’s a lots of trees.
Luckily, we’re blessed with some great small business and local producers here in Cardiff, and a couple of larger, ethically sound ones too. Use them wisely, and in 7 simple steps it’s easy to have a more eco-friendly festive season.
1. Go organic on your Christmas veg
Choosing organic veg means supporting sustainable agriculture. Organic farms have 50% more wildlife, support more farming jobs, and cause less pollution. As the Soil Association points out, “in the face of climate change, rising diet-related ill-health and widespread declines in our wildlife, the need to produce healthy food, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and protect wildlife grows more acute by the year.”
2. Try an organic tipple
Opt for organic wine this Christmas and not only will you be supporting a more sustainable system of farming, you’ll also be consuming less sulphur, which allegedly lessens the chances of a hangover, too!
Wrights natural wine shop on the balcony in Castle Arcade would be a great place to start looking for a bottle or two, or three – and they run regular tasting events too. Check out their instagram for info.
3. Opt for high welfare or organic meat
Look for RSPCA assured labels on meat, and try to only cook sustainable fish. Compassion in World farming has a really good labelling guide which you can find at www.ciwf.org.uk/your-food/know-your-labels. If you want to be sure your turkey is naturally high welfare, choose organic: no system of farming has higher animal standards.
Capestone Farm in Pembrokeshire can still deliver organic turkeys for Christmas.
4. Wrap up in reusable fabrics
Instead of wasting paper and trees on wrapping gifts, you can use scarves and other materials that can be used again and again. Try gift bags, jars and boxes that can be repurposed for other uses afterwards – check out the new Ripple zero-waste store in Roath for plenty of ideas on this front.
Lush also sell ‘knot-wraps’ which make for great head scarves for use after Christmas Day, too.
5. Be an organic beauty
Your skin is the largest organ on your body and what you put on it can be absorbed in tiny amounts. This Christmas, choose organic beauty products, like the ones you can get from Neals Yard, and pop in to Cardiff’s eco-friendly Amaryllis hair salon for a xmas party blow-dry using Davines organic products.
6. Shop local, and small
Visit small, local and independent shops instead of the supermarkets, and you’ll be keeping money in the local economy as well as cutting down on the carbon footprint of shipping your gifts in from afar. The Victorian Arcades in Cardiff city centre are a great place to start, but the Pontcanna Makers Market this weekend sounds like it’s going to be a real treat.
The alternative guide to Cardiff which I helped the guardian put together in 2016 might also come in handy.
7. Choose your cheese, Caer-philly
When it comes to the all-important Christmas cheese board, choose organic and put animal welfare first; no cows enjoy higher welfare standards than those raised using organic farming methods.