How to make your Christmas merry and… green – low carbon tips

Dreaming of a green Christmas? So is Jon Proctor, CEO of sustainable certification scheme Green Tourism, who explores how hospitality and catering firms can make the festive season as low carbon as possible 

Choose a locally grown Christmas tree – this both supports local businesses and reduces the carbon footprint of your tree. You can choose a variety that doesn’t drop needles easily and they can make a nice aroma and also be composted at the end of the season.
When decorating your Christmas tree use LED lights, not only will these last longer than alternatives but they will also save money on energy bills – up to 90%! And don’t forget to put them on a timer! Keep those electricity bills even lower by only having the lights on from nightfall until midnight.
Other tree decorations can be handmade from recycled or natural products, or sourced from local shops and designers.
Wastage during the festive season is increased by almost 25% but there are many ways you can keep this low by making a few small changes when gift buying.
Postage is so expensive, time consuming and resource heavy; you can save paper and money by sending Christmas cards, promotions and party invitations by email.
If the staff take part in Secret Santa add a new ‘local only’ stipulation to gift buying – this will encourage buyers to support local shops and be creative with what they purchase. They can even reduce waste by using reusable gift bags or recycled paper to wrap the presents.
If purchasing Christmas gifts for guests, reusable coffee cups or travel mugs are a great idea as they can personalised with company logos to make them a great marketing technique and they are reusable so will encourage recipients to reduce their use of disposable products.
There are lots of ways you can ensure the Christmas feast you provide for guests is also eco-friendly and cost-effective.
Sourcing local ingredients and working with local suppliers has a huge effect on your carbon footprint and can create a unique selling proposition. This can come down to careful planning when it comes to ordering, cutting portion sizes and using local & seasonal produce. An alternative for any leftovers or extras is to donate to local food banks, kitchens or shelters. Not only will this reduce waste, but will enhance the spirit of Christmas giving to those in need. Call ahead for details on what the shelter can use and how to deliver to it. 
Your guests want to enjoy a Christmas stay with you and you can help them make the most of it with just a few of these suggestions.
  • Encourage them to do some Christmas shopping during their stay in nearby shops.
  • Persuade your guests to leave the TV alone when they stay with you by offering a choice of board games and cards to play.
  • The Christmas holiday is the perfect time for families to spend time together so encourage your guests to make the most of the outdoors with local walks, cycle routes and outdoor visitor attractions.
Showcase the best of your region and don’t forget to shout about it to your customers.

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