How to have a greener Christmas

Blog post posted on 30/11/21 |

Christmas doesn’t have to be a burden on the planet. With a little imagination and planning you can have all the festive fun without the footprint.

If you, like us, are looking for ways to have a greener and more sustainable Christmas, you might be surprised at how easy that can be with the help of IAM RoadSmart’s top tips. From car sharing to volunteering your time in local communities, you can make a real difference to the environment, community, and planet with just a few simple changes.

Here are our top tips for the festive period without the carbon footprint. 

Walk instead of drive

Walking a mile and a half releases 75% less greenhouse gases than you would produce from driving the same distance. So, if you spend the Christmas period visiting loved ones that live a walkable distance, then why not dust off those comfy shoes and leave your car at home. Walking won’t just help the environment; it can also make us feel healthier. 

Pool your efforts – find car buddies

One of the most obvious environmental benefits of car sharing is the fact that it leads to less emissions polluting the air. But by bringing people together won’t just save money on fuel and help the environment, it will also mean you get to spend more time catching up with family and friends that you may not have seen for a while. Plan your route, to pick up those on the way to save everyone getting in separate cars – if COVID19 restrictions allow.

Plan your route to avoid traffic

By simply planning your journey this will allow you the opportunity to miss busy periods where it’s likely you could get caught up in traffic jams. Make sure you know the best times to set off to save fuel, reduce your carbon footprint, and any frustrations that delays can cause.

Another tool to use is eco-friendly routing, such as Google Maps and Waze, that not only offers eco-friendly routing to save fuel, but it also provides a path with live traffic information and that is estimated to use the least amount electricity if you’re driving an electric vehicle. 

Giving is good

Christmas shopping can be terrifying when you’re stuck for ideas or the budget is tight. This festive period is a time of goodwill and giving back, and it’s estimated that over 1 million Britain’s choose to volunteer their time over Christmas.

Many charities and organisations need a little extra help during the festivities, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you have the extra time this year, or choose to gift the present of time to someone else then make sure you check out volunteering opportunities near you.   

Recycling your wrapping paper

An extra 30% of rubbish is produced and discarded throughout the festive period when compared with the rest of the year. Biffa, a waste management company, suggests that more than 100 million bags of rubbish are sent to landfill each Christmas.

So if you're aiming to make this Christmas the most eco-friendly yet, you’ll need to give some thought now to the type of gift wrap you buy to use on the presents you give. When you’re shopping for recyclable wrapping paper, steer clear of anything decorated with foil or glitter for all the reasons we've given above - thick, glossy gift wrap is also best avoided. And just because the wrapping paper you’re using is made of recyclable materials, it doesn’t mean you can recycle it.

Eco-friendly cleaning products

Vehicle owners from across the UK are looking for eco-friendly car care products that offer minimal harm to the planet and the user. The movement to waterless and eco-friendly car and bike cleaning products has accelerated over the last few years, including waterless car wash and wax. This could be an excellent gift idea for those family members that take pride and joy in cleaning their vehicle.

Greener driving

By driving smoothly and anticipating situations and other road users as far ahead as possible will help to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. Maintain a greater distance from the vehicle in front so that you can regulate your speed when necessary without using the brakes.

When slowing down or driving downhill, remaining in gear but taking your foot off the accelerator as early as possible will reduce fuel flow to virtually zero, in most vehicles.  

When accelerating, shift to a higher gear early, even in an auto you can try this where appropriate and always remember high speeds greatly increases fuel consumption too so avoid excessive speed.  

Removing racks, roof boxes and bike carriers when they aren’t in use will significantly decrease air resistance and improve fuel consumption at higher speeds. Try to avoid carrying unnecessary weight on your travels as this will increase fuel consumption –raising your carbon footprint.