How to reduce your carbon snow-footprint this Christmas

Last year the world sent 750 million Christmas cards.  And we used enough wrapping paper to cover the island of Guernsey.

But where did it all end up?

Here at Eco-Outsource, while in the throes of prepping for the festive season, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks on how to get into the festive spirit without damaging the environment.

So here are our top tips on pimping your business for the season:

1. Christmas Cards

How’s your budget looking this month?

The latest figures show small businesses spend a whopping £94m on Christmas cards.  That’s a scary amount of money, but it’s also a scary amount of waste paper.

Try these alternatives and ease your conscience and your finances.

  • Send an e-Christmas Card – help the planet and your budget with an electronic card.  Use one of the many e-card websites (check out NSPCC and Friends of the Earth) that can do this for you, and then sit back and relax over a glass of mulled wine, knowing your card won’t be late or lost en route.
  • Send green Christmas Cards – If you really can’t get on board with the virtual card, ensure that your clients and stakeholders receive a card that’s printed on recycled card.

2. The Office Christmas Tree

Stuffed in the stationery cupboard under the lever arch files and page dividers, the cheap plastic tree comes into its own at this time of year.

If you are the reluctant owner of one such tree, keep using it.

But if you’re treating your workspace to a new one, consider bringing the outside indoors with a real Christmas tree, pine needles and all, bought from a sustainable source (check with the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association).

They smell heavenly, revitalise the air, and look pretty dapper compared with last year’s squashed plastic one.

But if you want something completely different:

  1. Check out these cardboard trees – available from the Woodland Trust, ‘eco treesare made from recycled card, and can be used year after year.
  2. Avoid the whole fuss of pine needles and dust by planting a new tree in a forest – The Woodland Trust will plant one on your behalf and send you a description of where it’s planted.  Then, if the hustle and bustle of Christmas gets a bit much, you can close your eyes and imagine your newly planted little tree, in its lush green forest.

 3.   Fairy lights

I love, love, love fairy lights and would have them on my desk all year round if they didn’t get tangled up with my stapler and hole punch.

But I don’t love the cost of running them, so this year I’ve treated myself to a new set of solar powered fairy lights.  They’re cheaper to run, look fab, and don’t even need plugging in, so no annoying wires to trip over!

4.   The Office Christmas Party

The three rules of office parties:

  1. Don’t go anywhere near the photocopier after you’ve had a drink
  2. Resist being too honest with your boss
  3. Drink local

A bottle of beer from Germany travels 24,000 miles from hops to shelf, while a sustainably brewed UK one will travel just 600 miles.  But if you buy from your local brewery it may only have travelled 10 miles.

Cut down on food (and drink) miles and support your local suppliers by consuming locally produced beers and wines.  Then you can feel all wholesome and good as you crack open your third bottle of Rosé.

5.   The Office Shut-down

Before you go skipping out the door, wearing a comedy Santa hat and punching the air with joy, take a moment to make sure you’ve switched everything off.

Here’s our checklist to help you get out the door quicker on the last day, Office Shut Down Check-list (PDF).

 6.   New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Nominate a green champion in your business to keep everyone motivated and on track throughout 2012 – invite volunteers or have a different member of staff in charge of green issues each month – incentivise with a bottle of wine (locally sourced, of course) for the best green champ.
  2. Save timemoney and carbon by conference calling instead of travelling to meetings (Eco Outsource saved £30 in fuel and 3 ½ hours in just one day)
  3. Book a place on one of our Greening your Business workshops.  Running over half a day, these interactive and practical environmental workshops are aimed at small businesses who wish to save money, improve their competitiveness and reduce their environmental impacts.

 Merry Christmas form Eco Outsource and we wish you all the very best for 2012!!

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Filed under Business Case, Energy Efficiency

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