Christmas at uni: How to host a sustainable ‘Flatmas’

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Christmas jumper, festive food, presents

Packed plates of food, towering piles of presents and a wardrobe full of new festive outfits. Yep, Christmas is here and it’s a time of excess.

Issue is, making and disposing of all this STUFF spells serious trouble for the environment.

To help you minimise your waste at uni this December, follow our guide on how to host a sustainable Christmas gathering in halls - without skimping on any of the merriment.

 

Christmas at uni: How to host a sustainable ‘Flatmas’

 

WHAT GIFTS TO BUY

Eco-friendly reusable coffee cups

So you’ve organised a flat Secret Santa – great idea. Now, rather than buying the usual slogan tee or comedy mug, why not spend your money on eco-friendly gifts that’ll have a much longer lifespan.

Some ideas for presents you can get from around £10-15:

  • Reusable coffee cup
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Vegan beauty products or sweet treats
  • Bamboo toothbrushes
  • Reusable stainless-steel straws

 

Suggested site: Plastic Freedom sells plastic-free and cruelty-free gifts. Better still, for every order placed, they plant a tree.

 

HOW TO WRAP YOUR PRESENTS

Christmas presents wrapped with string

Once you’ve found the perfect gift, it’s time to get creative with your wrapping. Because so much of the wrapping paper you buy on the high street use plastics, glitter and dyes which make them non-recyclable. UGH.

Instead, opt for tissue paper or brown packaging paper which looks chic and importantly, can be recycled.

Alternatively, you could use old newspapers, magazines or fabric from clothes you no longer want. It’s easy to spruce these up and hold in place with string or ribbon, but if you need to fasten more securely, use recyclable paper tape rather than plastic cello tape.

Top tip: If you receive your Secret Santa gift in brand new wrapping paper or a gift bag, keep it! You can reuse this for presents next year.

 

WHAT TO EAT

Food in the style of a Christmas wreath

We know that one of the best things we can do for the planet, is to eat less meat. So why not make your flat Christmas meal vegan or vegetarian?

There are TONS of recipes online for delicious alternatives to the usual turkey dinner – and cooking in a new way offers up a fun challenge for you and your flatmates.

And if you just can’t negotiate on pig in blankets? That’s OK. Keep your favourite meat treat but try to substitute plant-based foods for the other courses instead.

Top tip: Went overboard on the food shop? Don’t chuck any of the excess food out. Instead, look online for leftover recipes or freeze what you’ve made.

Check out our video guide on how to minimise your food waste at uni below.

 

WHAT TO WEAR

Christmas jumper

You might have heard the terrifying statistic that the fashion industry uses more energy (emitting harmful CO2 emissions) than the aviation and shipping industries combined.

So while its incredibly tempting to head online for a huge haul of new Christmas outfits, try your best to make do with what’s in your wardrobe already.

Alternatively, you could look on Depop or Ebay to find a second-hand gem – or support your local vintage stores and buy a unique retro Christmas jumper there.

 

HOW TO DECORATE

Christmas lights

Santa’s grotto, but make it sustainable. Make this your mantra as you deck out your student flat.

Things to avoid? Anything non-recyclable.

That’s foil tinsel, plastic window stickers etc. Instead, why not make paper-chain garlands from old mags or paper snowflakes from those old lecture notes?

And when it comes to fairly lights – choose ones with LED bulbs; these use much less energy and last 10 times longer. Despite this, make sure you still switch these off when you’re not hosting.

 

And there you have it! Plenty of ideas for hosting a guilt-free Christmas gathering in your student accommodation this December.

Let us know if you use any of these tips and share your festive photos with us on Instagram or Twitter by tagging us at @libertylivinguk.

We wish you a very merry, eco-friendly Christmas season!

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