Frog Bikes sustainable Christmas ideas

29 November 2021

We all think about being sustainable, but sometimes it is hard to know where to start, but making small changes can make the transition to green much easier than you would expect.

The festive season brings a lot of single-use wrapping paper, cards, decorations, trees, gifts and food, so it is a great place to begin! If we start small it can be like a snowball effect (excuse the pun!), and once you find yourself in the world of an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle, you’ll find you will never want to leave!

Over the festive period, the UK alone creates 30% more waste than usual, which is a scary thought!

At Frog we try to integrate sustainability into whatever we do, so we asked our team for some eco-friendly suggestions for Christmas time, here’s what they shared:

Sustainable Christmas decorations

Less plastic
Whilst some decorations can be reused time and time again and last for many years, commonly they are made using plastic. Being sustainable is often more about the harm that an item may do to the environment, so reducing plastics altogether is a great goal.

Lorraine Ko, Frog Bikes Senior Buyer commented “When shopping Christmas decorations, try to look for 100% biodegradable material such as paper, bamboo, or wood without any plastic coating or paint on, if possible FSC certified material as well. This will significantly reduce the amount of rubbish that take a long time to degrade in the landfill post-Christmas season. Also, they can be reused for several years.”

Buy preloved
If you are considering buying new decorations, it might be worth visiting a local charity shop and buying preloved festive ornaments and accessories. Not only will you get high-quality products for a cheaper price, but you will also help to decrease the negative impact on the environment and extend the life of the items.

Ian Thomas, Frog Bikes Decarbonisation Feasibility Project Leader says “If you buy Christmas decorations from a charity shop, not only are you reusing something someone else no longer needed, but you can then hand them back to the charity shop after use.”

You can also look around your home for things that you already have, that can be reused or upcycled into decorations. At Frog we recently used some old Frog branded stationery, made from recycled card and cut them up to create paper chains for decorating our office Christmas tree.

Nadine Pantazis, Frog Bikes DACH & Scandi Marketing Executive suggested “You can create some fantastic decorations using orange peel. Not only do they look great, but they smell delicious too! We buy organic oranges and use a cookie cutter to cut stars in the peel. We then dry in the oven or air dry them between heavy objects. You can then string them up to make garlands or use them in wreaths. And, you can use the remaining peel for orange tea!”

Learn how to make orange peel garlands here >>

DIY Christmas wreath

Festive wreaths can look fantastic on front doors and inside the home, bursting with colour and Christmas delights! But instead of buying one, why not source from nature this year to create the ‘greenest’ wreath possible.

Sandrine Hughes, Frog Bikes Marketing Executive recommends “Go on a search for pine cones, berries, moss, fir, eucalyptus, anything you can think of that would make your wreath festive and you can take the children too and turn it into a scavenger hunt!”

Here’s how to make a natural Christmas wreath with the National Trust >>

Pinecone decorations
Decorate your house with nature this Christmas using pinecones. They come in all shapes and sizes and are perfect for making festive decorations, including pinecone mice, Christmas tree pinecones and pinecone hearts. You can even put them in a bowl or glass vase with baubles to create a decorative feature.

Learn how to make pine cone decorations with the National Trust >>

Sustainable Christmas wrapping

Instead of bulk buying mass-produced plastic coated wrapping paper this year, why not have a lookout for some more sustainable options. Many retailers have cottoned on to the fact that consumers want to be more environmentally friendly and so are producing wrapping paper without the middle section, and using recycled materials.

FSC Certified

Wrapping paper is usually a single-use product so choosing paper and cards that use recycled material that is FSC certified is the best option! Not only are they 100% recyclable after use but you can have a rummage around your local charity shop to purchase them - an option that ticks all these boxes!

FSC certifies forests all over the world to ensure they meet the highest environmental and social standards. Products made with wood and paper from FSC forests are marked with the 'tick tree' logo. When you see this logo, you can be confident that buying the product won't mean harming the world's forests.

Shelley Lawson, Co-founder of Frog Bikes recommends “Recycled & biodegradable wrap with vegetable inks is a fantastic eco-friendly alternative for wrapping Christmas gifts.”

Many eco-wraps are made from recycled material and new material which is biodegradable using vegetable-based ink so there are no harmful toxins. And it can be easily reused or recycled, so it’s very sustainable!

Discover eco-wrap here >>

Did you know?
The amount of wrapping paper used for presents in the UK at Christmas is enough to wrap around the equator 9 times. And, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away each December!

Recyclable tape
Normal wrapping tape often contains chemicals and is not recyclable. But there are now many alternatives available that are much kinder to the environment. Eco-tape, made from recycled paper, generally biodegrades within a few month's, creating a natural recycling loop.

Shelley Lawson, says “When wrapping, use paper tape with rubber adhesive as it is biodegradable and recyclable unlike the plastic-based alternatives which generate a large amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfill”.

Find eco-tape here >>

Good old fashioned string
Instead of using plastic-coated ribbons to decorate your wrapped gifts, why not try some good old fashioned string. There are many ranges of natural string and natural twine that are made from recyclable materials such as jute or cotton. And, it’s great for the planet as it is biodegradable.

Gift bows from leftover wrapping paper
Collect all those scraps of wrapping paper and use them to create unique and beautiful gift bows. You only need wrapping paper, tape, a stapler, scissors and a ruler!

Learn how to make gift bows from wrapping paper >>

Gift tags from old Christmas cards
If you didn’t get round to recycling last years’ Christmas cards you can use them for creating Christmas gift tags. It is quick and easy to do and can be more effective than standard gift tags!

Here’s how to make Christmas gift tags from old cards >>

Reuse wrapping accessories
Every year when you receive beautifully wrapped gifts, make sure to keep the ribbon, bows, bells and boxes to reuse next year. You’ll have an array of festive accessories to choose from.

Val Benyon, Frog Bikes Head of Marketing commented “The boxes look great under the tree as a placeholder until you finish your Christmas shopping too!”

Sustainable Christmas cards

The times of bulk buying Christmas cards and posting them to everyone you know has long gone. People have been savvier about the implications of production, printing and transporting these cards to their friends and family and how damaging they are to the environment as most were not biodegradable and ended up in a landfill.

Did you know?
1 billion cards in the UK end up in the bin after Christmas, when they could be recycled.

That’s why there are now so many alternatives to be much kinder to the planet - made using solar and wind power, from recycled materials, FSC certified, using toxin-free inks. And, some manufacturers have been very creative!!

Plantable cards
Plantable cards are often made from biodegradable eco-paper that is made with recycled materials and then embedded with seeds.

Taberna Sansom, Frog Bikes Social Media and Comms Executive says “Plantable cards are great, not only are they are eco-friendly but they also act as an additional gift. When the card is placed on top of the soil and watered, it will germinate and begin sprouting seedlings. A pretty present that will last a whole lot longer than a normal Christmas card!”

Find some plantable Christmas cards here >>

Animal poop cards
As elephants eat lots of grass and their digestive systems don’t really break it down, their poo has plenty of fibre, which is a great base material for making pulp for paper!

Lorraine Ko, Frog Bikes Senior Buyer commented “These cards and envelopes are made from elephant poo make great cards for Christmas. They are eco-friendly, organic, sustainable and most importantly tree-free and surprisingly completely odourless!”

Discover Elephant poo cards here >>

Sustainable stocking fillers

Buying plastic free cosmetics and toiletries for the family is an environmentally-friendly way to fill up those stockings this Christmas without waste! Many offer sustainable packaging and vegan-friendly options. Also, look out for natural organic products or recycled items rather than plastic and gifts that can be reused again and again.

Find some eco stocking fillers here >>

Home-baked Christmas gifts
Who doesn’t love something scrumptious to eat at Christmas!! Then look no further for the perfect eco-friendly food lovers gifts.

Sandrine Hughes, Frog Bikes Marketing Executive comments “I make chocolate truffles for friends and family. There are many delicious things you can bake and make. And, you can make your own boxes reusing existing packaging.”

Rent a Christmas tree

Sustainable ‘rent-a-tree’ schemes are popping up everywhere. These trees are cared for in pots throughout the year and then rented out for the festive season. To care for your tree you simply water each day and then return after use. The tree will continue living with the supplier for another year until it is needed for celebrations next Christmas. So, you needn’t worry about having a negative impact on the environment.

Take a look at one of the tree rental schemes >>

Did you know?
250 tonnes of Christmas trees are thrown away after Christmas in the UK when they could be used for compost.

Switch to LED fairy lights

It’s a tradition to laden your Christmas tree with twinkling lights. However LED lights use between 25-80% less energy than traditional bulbs, so make sure to make the switch. Not only will they use less energy, but they produce less heat too making them ideal for brightening up your tree.

Buy organic meat

Forget the farmed turkey, buy sustainable organic venison or beef from rewilding estates. The meat is from free-roaming, pasture-fed, organic animals, where no fertilisers or other chemicals, no high energy feeding systems or farm machinery has been used. This method of meat production is sustainable, low cost and very low carbon. Most of these rewilding estates use solar energy and smart refrigeration systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions too.

Shelley Lawson commented “Although it can be expensive, we don't eat meat very often. It's AMAZING quality so is a real treat when we do!”

Make sure to accompany your meal with organic vegetables that are loose with no packaging.

Here’s a rewilding estate we’re fond of >>

Did you know?
Approximately 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 17.2 million Brussel sprouts are thrown away every Christmas in the UK when they could be put in compost bins or scraps left out for birds, or even made into new recipes.

So whatever your plans are this Christmas, try to think sustainably, buy organic, increase recycling, reuse items, be less wasteful, and be mindful of how items are disposed of!

Let it be a season to be wonderful, not wasteful!

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