This year, Willmott Dixon made some very significant announcements concerning how it wants to address the challenge of sustainable development. Our new Sustainability Strategy 2030, Now or Never, sets a new precedent for our business along with a series of ambitions and targets covering the next ten years – something we now refer to as Our Decisive Decade.
Everyone can play a part in making our planet more sustainable, therefore we are encouraging everyone to find ways to be sustainable this Christmas. Our sustainability team has developed some top tips to help you be greener over the festive period.
- Send an e-card – An average of 17 Christmas cards are produced per person per year! This year, consider sending your loved ones an e-card to save money and waste – Don’t send me a card have some great options.
- It’s a wrap – Avoid wrapping gifts with elements that can’t be recycled, like foil, glitter or plastic. Instead, opt for recyclable brown paper or these Re-wrapped collection made from 100% recycled materials. Avoid tags and instead jazz gifts up with natural decorations like straw, dried fruit or items from your garden. If you’re feeling extra creative, you could learn how to wrap with reusable fabric.
- Shop with a conscience – When shopping online, select ‘UK-only’ to shop local. Try to support small local businesses – My Virtual Neighbourhood has some great listings for London and the Independent for Birmingham/Midlands. Explore the Social Enterprise UK’s 2020 Gift Guide for presents with a purpose. If you even want to think about your bank account and where your money is stored have a look at Switchit.
- Think outside the (gift) box – Stuck for what to buy someone who has everything? Instead of getting something they don’t need, gift something that means more such as an experience, museum membership like Art Fund, local restaurant voucher, adopt an animal or donation to a charity they are passionate about. Or alternatively, if you think someone doesn’t even need a physical gift, think about ‘sponsoring’ their toilet, tap, or bin through a charity that helps fund projects in poor communities world-wide with sanitaryware and waste issues. Otherwise you can always plant a tree and they can visit it in one of the National Trust’s forests.
- Re-think plastic – Plastic items take up to 500 years to decompose and often end up harming marine life. Do your bit by avoiding single-use this festive season and reusing instead. The market is full of reusable options for almost anything. Some easy swaps are straws, filtered bottles, food wraps and bags. You could even extend the impact to others with plastic-free gift ideas like these.
- Reduce food waste – Every year, approximately 7 million tonnes of food is wasted, with 270,000 tonnes being at Christmas. Clear room in your freezer to save food that you can’t manage for later in the year, or check out these recipes to give your leftovers a new lease of life. Avoid sending anything to landfill by connecting spare food to neighbours in need with food waste app Olio, and remember to compost peelings and other leftovers.
- Give meat a miss – Cutting out just a few meat-based meals can drastically reduce your carbon footprint, particularly red meat which has a carbon footprint nearly four times that of chicken or up to 100 times more than many plant-based foods. Most supermarkets now offer extensive, affordable veggie ranges breaking down negative perceptions of meatless options – some favourites are M&S Plant Kitchen, Sainsbury’s plant pioneers, Vivera and Linda McCartney. Alternatively, get experimental in the kitchen and check out these great vegetarian recipes on BBC Good Food.
- Don’t forget the drink – Being eco-conscious doesn’t have to get in the way of your festive tipple. There are plenty of UK wines coming onto the scene, with the market share set to double in 2022. Check out Forty Hall Vineyard in London or Help 4 Hospitality which gives 20% of profits back into helping small businesses get through the pandemic. Vintage Roots offers organic drink options or try buying from ethical companies like Brewdog, Toast Ale and Urban Cordial.
- Save your energy – Christmas tree lights left on for 10 hours a day over 12 days produces enough CO2 to inflate 10 balloons – remember to switch off when not in use! You could also consider switching your electricity & gas supplier to 100% renewable with companies like Bulb or Octopus Energy. Get a smart meter installed to help monitor and reduce energy bills.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle – Finally, remember to reduce waste as a priority by only buying what you need, reuse items where possible and recycle as a last resort. If you’re unsure of what to recycle, Recycle Now have provided a festive recycling guide to help you work out what can and can’t be recycled over the festive season.