For years, Christmas has been a time of indulgence. However, with climate change becoming a topic on many people’s lips, over three million Brits are set to go meat free this festive season in an effort to offset their festive footprint, whilst over a third (38%) of households will make sustainable swaps such as using locally sourced ingredients (39%) and choosing foods that take less time and energy to cook (35%).
Recycling wrapping paper (19%), forgoing festive cards (17%) and reusing party outfits (17%) are other behaviours adopted by eco-conscious Brits, according to the research conducted by Smart Energy GB, the campaign for a smarter Britain. In fact, if every household in Britain got a smart meter installed this festive season, we’d save enough energy to power more than 40 million Christmas lights – that’s enough to stretch round the world 15 times.
Over half (52%) admit to making changes to celebrate Christmas more sustainably this year, with a quarter (24%) opting for low energy Christmas lights, a fifth (22%) using a smart meter and a further 15% taking public transport or car sharing to visit family and friends.
Despite these steps, Brits can still expect to spend over a fifth more than usual on their festive energy bills, turning the heating up an extra 3.84 degrees, leaving the TV on for four hours extra per day and using the oven for four additional hours per week. All this extra energy adds up to a whopping £499 million across the UK.
It seems the younger generation are a great force for change when it comes to green Christmas habits, as 44% of parents admit it’s their children that inspired them to adopt a more conscious approach to Christmas. Energy efficiency (17%) is the most common change encouraged by kids, alongside getting consciously crafty by making their own Christmas decorations (16%) and Christmas cards (13%).
And while kids are demonstrating the “Greta effect”, the changes are across all ages, with eight in 10 (82%) over 60s suggesting they’re more conscious of the environment now than they were 10 years ago.
Making small swaps, such as opting for low energy lightbulbs and getting a smart meter installed to track festive energy use can go a long way to protect the future of the planet. To help Brits get a green Christmas, Smart Energy GB has partnered with Chef and sustainability advocate Lisa Faulkner to share tips on how to keep things eco at home.
Lisa’s Top Tips for a Green Christmas:
1. Defrost any frozen food at room temperature – cooking food from temperate will reduce cooking time, therefore saving energy
2. Get the family involved in cooking – not only will you spend some quality time together, but it’ll get people away from the TV and other appliances
3. Turn the oven off when finished – if you keep the door closed, food will stay warm for roughly 30 minutes
4. Try cutting down on meat – for many, meat is traditional, but there are also a number of vegetarian or vegan alternatives such as nut roasts or mushroom wellingtons
5. Make a smart choice on the Christmas tree – experts are debating real vs plastic. If real, get it from a sustainable source – look for the FCS Certification. If plastic, consider second hand, or ensure it is one you will use for years to come
6. Get crafty – making your own gifts, Christmas cards, or Christmas decorations can save money but also mean that old items are recycled – reducing waste
Like tips? Find more here.