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Have yourself a sustainable little Christmas

A pair of UEA graduates who have started their own eco-business, have shared their top tips for having a sustainable Christmas in a creative video.

Ismat and Jana, began Kipple with the help of UEA's Student Enterprise. They provide returnable, sustainably-sourced home and kitchen starter kits for students. Students can return their kits, receive their deposit, and Kipple repurposes the items into new kits.

Ismat Imaan is from India and studied a masters in environmental assessment and management, while Jana Belovicova who is from Slovakia studied international social development, and they both graduated earlier this year.

The duo are passionate about sustainability and are aware of how the excesses of the festivities can take a toll on the planet.

With UEA scientists contributing to this month’s United Nations’ Climate Change Conference COP25, the focus is not only on people in power, but how each of us can make small changes towards a better future.

 

 

1. Show local (and seasonal) some love

Attend a local Christmas market with friends and family to marvel at the talent of local people making everything from homemade gin to mince pie fudge and crochet robin decorations. Not only is this a great day out, but the things you buy haven’t travelled far and some people upcycle pre-owned products.

Don’t forget your local charity shops too, re-home gifts while contributing to a good cause- don’t forget, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

For your food shop, try to use local and seasonal fruit and vegetables (they’re often more affordable and have fewer air miles) and buy from farmers markets where possible.

2. Read all about it

One by-product of Christmas is mountains of scrunched-up wrapping paper, which is tossed aside in the excitement of the big day.

Although it’s nice to beautifully-wrap gifts, lots of papers contain plastic or foil overlays and glitter, making them difficult to recycle. Get creative using newspaper or last years’ bags and ribbons.

3. Just roll with it

A festive table isn’t complete without a couple of Christmas crackers to provide some equally terrible jokes. But the naff gifts are usually made of plastic (think a mini comb, yoyo, spinning top and pencil sharpener) and let’s be honest they mostly end up in the bin.

Why not make your own? Craft shops sell everything you need, or you could attempt a homemade version with toilet roll tubes?

Include items that people will actually use like a packet of seeds, face mask, or a small item of jewellery.

4. The cauli and the ivy

We all know veganism is better for the environment, so why not show your commitment by tying to go plant-based for Christmas dinner? Give peas a chance?

There’s an enormous array of products including vegan nut roast, sweat potato parcels or opt for a trendy roasted cauliflower centrepiece.

5. Choo choo choose the train

One of the best things about the festive period is getting to spend time with love ones. Playing the board games, which only come out once a year, watching Christmas films and long walks.

If you have to travel to see your relatives, take advantage of public transport where possible by taking the train, Megabus or a National Express coach.

6. Be at one with nature

Swap tinsel and baubles for natural decorations as much as possible, like pine cones, branches and berries. Collecting them from local areas (make sure you have the land owners permission) is also a nice thing to do with family.

7. Lights out, all out

Temperatures have already started to drop and it’s easy to switch on the heating as soon as it feel a bit chilly. Before doing so, wrap up and put on a jumper on- make it a Christmas one if you have one.

Also, don’t forget to disconnect your sparkling lights at night and when you’re out to save energy.

Over to you

Share with us the little (or big!) eco-friendly things you do over the festive period on Twitter (@uniofeastanglia), Facebook (@ueaofficial) or Instagram (uniofeastanglia).

If you’re a student or recent graduate and you’d like help with a sustainable business idea, including funding and mentoring, visit the website.