With Christmas now just weeks away, Lisa Bronner, the granddaughter of the founder of the eco-friendly soap brand Dr. Bronner’s, wants to remind people that having a sustainable festive season is as important as ever.
Lisa Bronner, the granddaughter of Emmanuel Bronner, the founder of Dr. Bronner has pulled together some expert tips on how to go all out for Christmas whilst keeping it green as part of the five days of Green Gift Ideas social media campaign. From opting for an eco-tree and decorating it sustainably to cleaning the kitchen post-Christmas dinner in a planet-friendly manner.
Tip one: Eat local and cut back on festive food waste!
Most root vegetable winter favourites (potatoes, sprouts, carrots, you name it) are in season, so try to find organic options of these. Remember, with most conventional products tending to hold pesticide residues or wax (to give it a longer shelf life), it’s crucial to wash any produce before consuming. Lisa says: “Before getting started on this year’s Christmas meal, swirl a few drops of your favourite Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap into the skink and give your veggies a squeaky-clean scrub.”
Also, why not experiment with a meat-free Christmas dinner? There are a handful of options available now, and they’re just as tasty. Once everyone is full, store leftovers in reusable pots and enjoy them for days to come, maybe even weeks, if you freeze them!
Tip two: Creative gift giving!
Less can be more when it comes to treating someone special, and you don’t need to cut back to be greener with gifts. With over 21 million people receiving at least one unwanted gift every Christmas (some of which are just thrown away, not even regifted, sold or given to charity), really feel into whether the gift you’re about to buy someone will be of use to them.
Why not curate a box of festive favourite goodies with some other feel-good items, like some fair-trade chocolates, something from the Dr. Bronners range, and an encouraging note in ‘self-care box’?
Tip three: Opt for an eco-tree and sustainable decorations!
Great news for traditionalists – a real Christmas tree is more environmentally friendly than a plastic one! Natural Christmas trees produce half of the greenhouse gases compared to their artificially made counterparts. Better yet, they’ll usually then be shredded into chippings and used in local parks or woodland areas. Still, be sure to dispose of real Christmas trees properly at the end of the season (or replant them!).
It’s also crucial to make sure it’s responsibly grown. To really put your eco-warrior hat on, you could even rent your tree! Contact your local farm and see if they offer a rental option, as this will lower your carbon footprint.
While a great way to bring festive cheer into the home, it’s important to be aware of some decorations’ impact on the planet. This particularly applies to lights. Try to use energy-efficient lighting. For example, wrap your tree in LED lights as these last ten times longer and use 66% less energy! Felt or wooden decorations are a great option as they biodegrade but remember to try avoiding glitter as it’s non-recyclable.
Tip four: GIY dryer sachets!
With lots of family and friends coming and going, there will usually be more washing loads and at-home maintenance over the holiday season. Enter: GIY dryer sachets to replace fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Infusing laundry with beautiful scents just without problematic artificial fragrances that risk staining clothes.
Lisa’s directions are as follows:
- If using fabric squares, sew the right sides together of two pieces, leaving a 5cm gap on one side. Turn square right side out and press
- Fill square or sachet with ¼ cup of dried aromatics (e.g. lavender, rose, mint) and sew the opening closed
- To use, toss one sachet in per dryer load and depending on the strength of the aromatics, one sachet could last several loads. Once their sent has diminished, freshen carpets by sprinkling the dried material over the top and vacuuming out
Tip five: Green cleaning!
Lisa recommends that the pillar of any sustainable cleaning cabinet is a GIY All-Purpose Housecleaning Spray. Swap to just one versatile product instead of purchasing numerous bulky bottles of cleaning products packed with chemicals this Christmas. Doing this is both a cost-effective and planet-friendly solution. With the weekly use of most disinfectants and bleach linked to higher chronic diseases by 22-32%, we need to be cleaning in a healthier manner.
This All-Purpose Spray does the same trick as any store-bought solution but instead avoids harmful fumes and fragrances for a more concentrated clean. So not only will this multi-use spray be beneficial for your bank, but it will also be better for your health too!
To create, mix the below:
- Grate 35g of bar soap (any scent, but choose citrus for a fresh zing!)
- Melt soap in 500ml of boiling water
- Pour into a jug and leave to cool
- Decant into a spray bottle
Fill up a spray bottle with the mixture, swirl gently and get cleaning; It’s really that simple. You can use this cost-effective and eco-friendly spray on pretty much anything including, kitchen counters, stone, toilets, wood, shower tiles, bathroom counters or even oven and microwave doors. You name it; there’s no cleaning task this spray can’t handle.
Click here to read more of Lisa Bronner’s eco-friendly tips.
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