Our vision as a serviced offices provider is for a future in which every experience has a positive impact on people, places and the planet so if you’re also dreaming of a Green Christmas, read on.
Sustainability is ingrained in our corporate vision and values, our culture, and everyday actions here at Clockwise- it’s a way of operating that doesn’t stop at our refurbishment of rundown buildings or steps towards carbon-neutral workspaces.
With Christmas around the corner, we’ve been thinking about how to lessen the negative environmental impact during a time of year that, whilst the most wonderful, can also be the most wasteful.
It is estimated by the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York that three days of Christmas festivities results in as much as 650 kg of CO2 emissions per person in the UK alone. As if that wasn’t sobering enough, everything from trees to wrapping paper has its part to play.
Nobody wants to be labelled a ‘Sustainability Scrooge’ and that can sometimes dampen our enthusiasm for sharing the environmental reality of our yuletide blowouts. But actually, there is no reason why the season can’t be full of festive fun and eco-friendly. We just need to adapt how we celebrate it.
The Christmas Tree
The big debate with this one has always been whether real or artificial is the way to go.
With real trees, the growing process alone removes carbon which is a good start. As for the end of its tenure, that depends on whether it closes its season in the sun as wood chips (3.5kg of CO2e) or sent to landfill (16kg of CO2e).
On the other hand, your average artificial tree has an estimated carbon footprint of 40kg of CO2e. This sounds bad but if you’re planning on a long-standing relationship with your artificial tree (12+ years), this could very well be the greenest choice for you.
An alternative option is ‘renting’ one, much like the trees throughout our coworking spaces this December. From the wonderful Urban Planters, they are sustainability sourced and repotted once the season is done. These are paired with lovingly chosen decorations that we’ll cherish and reuse for years to come.
The Cards and Wrapping Paper
In the same research as above, it was discovered that the UK alone uses 227,000 miles of wrapping paper and sends around a billion Christmas cards which equates to 33 million trees.
Whilst it is estimated that 79% of paper and cardboard in the UK is recycled, however, some of the other accoutrements from the festive-beautifying are less easily converted.
It is important to find more eco-friendly ways to send your love and well wishes- Consider companies like Strictly Sustainable who sell both items but natural, zero waste and plastic-free. Other ideas are to go digital, make cards or wrapping from recycled paper, use lovely natural elements like a dried orange slice, herbs or mistletoe in place of foil bows or even create a playlist to express how you feel.
One of the biggest sustainability nightmares of the whole season can be our culture of gift buying- particularly when buying for the sake of it. With the shocking statistic of £42 million worth of unwanted presents ending up in landfill every year, might it be time to embrace pre-loved gifting this season?
Vintage stores, charity shops, flea markets and car boot sales are filled to the brim with treasures and by getting crafty, you can even personalise the present creating a nifty little gift that can’t be found in any shop. If Vogue says it’s ok, then it’s not just sustainable but stylish too.
At Clockwise, we’re replacing physical presents with the gift of time – it’s a chance for our team to spend almost the full two week period with their family and friends after a tough 20 months.
Around 54 million platefuls of food are thrown out in the UK every single Christmas- with a population of 67 million, it’s clear that something needs to change.
To avoid the environmental, social and economic costs by keeping food waste to a minimum, consider pre-planning, avoiding unnecessary deals, letting guests know exactly what they need to bring and using leftovers to create new meals.
It’s a well-known fact that vegans have the lightest carbon footprint- why not consider swapping out your pigs in bacon blankets for meat-free sausages in maple parsnip wraps or a whole range of other delicious plant-based side dishes to cut down the environmental cost of your Christmas meal?
With a sharp uptick in the usage of food banks in recent years, particularly amplified by the pandemic, you can also look into local schemes and the possibility of donating food, toys, money or time to brighten another family’s Christmas this December.
A passion for sustainability needn’t stop at green coworking spaces or reducing your carbon footprint in the normal working week. The most important gift we can give at Christmas, is the careful balance of fun and positive action, each and every year, for the planet and generations to come.
Happy holidays from Clockwise to you and yours.