Christmas is an exciting time of the year, but do you know the full impact that it has on the environment? Excessive eating habits, cards, presents, decorations, and festive parties all come at a cost to the planet. We waste a lot during the festive period and Christmas causes the same carbon footprint as a single car travelling around the world 6,000 times, according to a study by Manchester University! Fortunately, there are loads of ways to enjoy the festivities while reducing the environmental impact of Christmas. Here are some of the best ways that your workplace can go green this Christmas.
Make your office more energy-efficient
There are plenty of opportunities to make your office more energy-efficient and save money. Having a new commercial EPC (energy performance certificate) will give you a clear overview of the energy performance of your workplace. An accredited assessor will visit your office and assess the energy performance of your commercial building and operations. They will also provide you with recommendations to make your workplace greener, i.e., by adding extra insulation or upgrading to LED lighting. Christmas is the ideal time to make your office more energy-efficient and start the new year greener.
Plan a green Christmas party
Most employees look forward to their office Christmas party. Festive celebrations are the perfect way to build meaningful relationships with your employees and reward staff for their hard work over the year. Luckily, there are lots of creative ways to make this year’s Christmas party greener – here are a few ideas:
- Organise your catering through a local vendor who uses locally sourced produce.
- Hire party essentials like cutlery and glassware instead of buying to reduce waste. You should also avoid any single-use or disposable items.
- Choose a venue that is nearby to reduce transport emissions. You should also encourage your staff to car-share if possible.
- Send party invites online to avoid paper waste.
Send online Christmas cards
Most people like to send and receive Christmas cards over the festive period. Sending cards is a great way for businesses to stay in touch with their clients and build closer bonds with their employees. That said, traditional Christmas cards lead to a significant amount of waste, especially when most people throw their cards out after Christmas. It is estimated that around 300,000 tonnes of card waste go to landfills every Christmas. You can help to reduce the pollution associated with Christmas cards by choosing eco-friendly eCards. Sending Christmas cards online is sustainable as it causes no carbon emissions. It is also a lot more budget-friendly, as eCards tend to be cheaper and you won’t need to pay for postage.
Use eco-friendly decorations
Putting up Christmas decorations is a great way to get your employees in the festive spirit and boost morale in your office. However, Christmas decorations can cause significant amounts of waste and can also be a serious drain on your energy. Reduce the environmental impact of your office decorations by choosing the most sustainable options. For instance, purchase a real Christmas tree instead of a plastic artificial one and recycle or compost it after Christmas. You should also make sure that your Christmas lights are LEDs to lower the amount of electricity they use. If you are buying other decorations – i.e., tinsel, figures, or wreaths – then try to find second-hand items instead of buying new. Reusing old Christmas decorations is better for the environment and your wallet!
Organise a Secret Santa
Everyone likes the excitement of opening presents at Christmas. However, gift-giving can lead to huge amounts of commercial waste, especially when you factor in wrapping paper and packaging. Keep waste to a minimum by arranging an office Secret Santa, so that your employees only have to buy one gift. This approach is far more eco-friendly and your employees are likely to appreciate not having the stress of finding gifts for multiple people. You can make presents greener by encouraging your employees to use recycled wrapping paper and choosing sustainable gifts. For instance, suggest that employees give edible presents or gift vouchers rather than novelty gifts that are unlikely to be used. There are plenty of articles offering tips on how to organise an office Secret Santa.
Christmas is one of the best times of the year, but it can also be extremely damaging to the environment. Fortunately, there are dozens of ways to make your office and celebrations greener this Christmas, while still enjoying the festivities. Try some of the above suggestions to make your workplace more eco-friendly this Christmas.