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5 easy ways to avoid killing trees over the holiday period

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The festive period is all about having a good time. A relief from the exhausting routine of day-to-day life and an opportunity to spend precious time relaxing and bonding with family and friends, it is not uncommon for our mindfulness about our impact upon the environment to go out of the window.

Around the world, we use an estimated one million tonnes of paper every day. Over the Christmas period, as demand increases for paper products including Christmas cards and even disposable coffee cups, the demand for trees increases even more so, increasing the impact of deforestation upon our planet.

Recycling advisors at the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimate that the amount of wrapping paper discarded at Christmas in the UK alone covers the distance to the moon.

Furthermore, approximately 300,000 tonnes of card packaging is used by UK households during the festive season - enough to wrap around the Big Ben approximately 260,000 times.

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So, while Christmas is a time to unwind, it is important to pay attention to more than just your waistline, but also your Christmas waste-line.

Over the holiday period, there are some easy swaps you can make to play your part in reducing the numbers of trees killed at Christmas. 95% of Co-op's own-brand wood and paper products are from sustainable sources, meaning they're perfectly positioned to advise on the best way to reduce your paper footprint. Here’s what we’ve learnt

Send a digital Christmas card

While it has its faults, social media and online platforms are a wonderful way to reduce your usage of tree products this Christmas. Simply sending a seasonal greetings over Facebook or via an online card platform can cut out up to 50 cards or more, depending on how many you usually send out.

Shop with a sustainable brand

Sustainability works from the ground up. At the Co-op, food is packaged with a commitment to reduce plastic and paper usage, with 80% of all own-brand packaging planned to be made recyclable by 2020.

Image credit: Co-op

In-store, all meat product packaging is now made with a single material so that it can be recycled easily. Furthermore, paper straws, compostable tea bags, and cardboard tomato packaging are just some of the changes that have been made to help you celebrate Christmas sustainably.

Bake your own festive treats

With baking ingredients purchased from the Co-Op, it has never been easier to bake your own mince pies or Christmas pudding. Aside from being a great bonding activity for all involved, baking your own goods reduces your paper usage by cutting down on the buying over-packaged foods purchased from the supermarket.

Image credit: Co-op


Store your baked treats in glass jars or re-used tins for extra brownie points, or, better yet, eat them fresh out of the oven.

Co-Op’s recipe for sticky, moreish eggnog doughnuts is a great place to start.

Re-use and recycle

It is nearly impossible to get through Christmas with zero waste. This is where recycling waste that cannot be re-used is essential. You can find out how to recycle locally through the UK government website.

If you have already purchased a Christmas tree, this can also be deposited at a designated recycling station in the UK.

Pumpkin spice latte fan? Bring a reusable coffee cup

The Christmas season is cold, there’s no doubt about that - and with so many scrumptious festive flavours being released by coffee shops, it is almost impossible to resist the temptation of a steaming hot chocolate or Pumpkin Spice Latte. Purchasing and packing a reusable coffee cup for every festive outing reduces the number of disposable coffee cups you use.

Students get 10% off at Co-Op with a Totum or NUS extra card. To find out more about Co-Op’s actions to make their packaging recyclable, visit their website.

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