The first batch of proposed legislation for the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to consider have been published.

These proposed Statutory Instruments (SIs) are the start of a series of proposed legislative changes that will be necessary for when the UK leaves the European Union on "exit day". Prior to being implemented into law, these SIs will pass through the newly established Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committees. Each House will have its own designated Committees.

The Committees will be taking up the role of "sifting" through proposed negative instruments following the passing of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 gives Ministers wide powers to make Regulations to deal with the deficiencies in retained EU law which will result from the UK's withdrawal from the EU. It allows them a choice of procedure and most Regulations will first be laid as "proposed negative instruments", which after a "sifting" process, will be laid as SIs.

The process

How the process will work:

  • Ministers will propose negative instruments for consideration;
  • the Committees will have 10 days, starting the day after the proposed negative instrument is laid to scrutinise the proposed legislation and make their recommendations;
  • if either Committee recommends a proposed negative instrument should be upgraded to an affirmative procedure, the Minister may either accept or reject the recommendation, and if rejected give a written statement explaining why;
  • any instruments recommended for upgrade will be listed online.

What are negative instruments?

Negative instruments are made by a Minister before they are laid before Parliament, and they come into force generally 21 days after being laid.

To prevent a negative instrument coming into force or remaining in force, a motion to annul it has to be agreed by the Parliament in the Chamber no later than 40 days after the instrument was laid. If no such motion is made, the instrument automatically becomes law.

This process is different to the affirmative procedure where an instrument will usually first be presented in draft format and will not come into force until it has been approve by Parliament.

The current proposed negative statutory instruments relevant to health, safety and environmental legislation are the:

Published statutory instruments

As time goes on, the negative instruments will be laid before Parliament and then passed into law. The following list shows the confirmed statutory instruments that will come into force on exit day:

  • Vehicle Drivers (Certificates of Professional Competence) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1004;
  • Timber and Timber Products and FLEGT (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1025;
  • Seal Products (Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1034;
  • Feed-in Tariffs and Contracts for Difference (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1092;
  • Electricity (Guarantees of Origin of Electricity Produced from Renewable Energy Sources) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1093;
  • Merchant Shipping (Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of Carbon Dioxide Emissions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1388;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1120;
  • Rail Passengers’ Rights and Obligations (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1165;
  • Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1202;
  • Merchant Shipping (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1221;
  • Environmental Assessments and Miscellaneous Planning (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1232;
  • Planning (Hazardous Substances and Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1234;
  • Planning (Environmental Assessments and Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (Northern Ireland) Regulations SI 2018/1235;
  • Ionising Radiation (Basic Safety Standards) (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1278;
  • Electricity and Gas (Powers to Make Subordinate Legislation) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1286;
  • Pipe-lines, Petroleum, Electricity Works and Oil Stocking (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1325;
  • CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1336;
  • INSPIRE (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1338;
  • Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1342;
  • Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1370;
  • Health and Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1377;
  • Marine Environment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1399;
  • Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) and the Railways (Accident Investigation and Reporting) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1400;
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1405;
  • Air Quality (Miscellaneous Amendment and Revocation of Retained Direct EU Legislation) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1407;
  • Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1408;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/9;
  • Fisheries (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/24;
  • Ionising Radiation (Environmental and Public Protection) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/24;
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/25;
  • Environment (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations SSI 2019/26;
  • Drainage (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/31;
  • Water and Floods (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/32;
  • Renewables Obligation (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/35;
  • Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/39;
  • Marine Environment (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/55;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/57;
  • Air Quality (Amendment of Domestic Regulations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/74;
  • Town and Country Planning and Electricity Works (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations SSI 2019/80;
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/84;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (England) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/88;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/90;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/94;
  • Control of Mercury (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/96;
  • INSPIRE (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/103;
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/107;
  • Pesticides (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/118;
  • Water (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/112;
  • Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/113;
  • Radioactive Contaminated Land (Modification of Enactments) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/114;
  • Marketing of Seeds and Plant Propagating Material (Amendment) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/131;
  • Export Control (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/137;
  • Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/156;
  • Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies and Animal By-Products (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/170;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/188;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/190;
  • Nuclear Safeguards (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/196;
  • Metrology, Health and Safety and Product Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/202;
  • Invasive Non-native Species (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/223;
  • Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/244;
  • Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes and the Environmental Impact Assessment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/245;
  • Environmental Noise (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/247;
  • Merchant Shipping (Recognised Organisations) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/270;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/271;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/273;
  • Management of Extractive Waste (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations SSI 2019/273;
  • Environmental Liability etc. (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/276;
  • Ship Recycling (Facilities and Requirements for Hazardous Materials on Ships) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/277;
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/279;
  • Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases and Ozone-Depleting Substances (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/281;
  • Environmental Protection (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/289;
  • Pesticides and Fertilisers (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/306;
  • Merchant Shipping and Other Transport (Environmental Protection) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/311;
  • Railways (Interoperability) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/345;
  • Fisheries and Marine Management (Amendment) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/370;
  • Roads (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/377;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release and Transboundary Movement) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/379;
  • Air Quality Standards (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/390;
  • Waste (Wales) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/414;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/451;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/452;
  • Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/453;
  • Town and Country Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/456;
  • Environment (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/458;
  • Flood and Water (Amendments) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/460;
  • Construction Products (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/465;
  • Merchant Shipping (Marine Equipment) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/470;
  • Environment and Wildlife (Legislative Functions) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/473;
  • Road Vehicles and Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Type-Approval) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/490;
  • Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/518;
  • Electricity and Gas etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/530;
  • Gas (Security of Supply and Network Codes) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/531;
  • Electricity Network Codes and Guidelines (Markets and Trading) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/532;
  • Electricity Network Codes and Guidelines (System Operation and Connection) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/533;
  • Electricity and Gas (Market Integrity and Transparency) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/534;
  • Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/535;
  • Employment Rights (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/537;
  • Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/539;
  • Storage of Carbon Dioxide (Amendment and Power to Modify) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/544;
  • Road Vehicle Emission Performance Standards (Cars and Vans) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/550;
  • Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/557;
  • Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments and Revocations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/559;
  • Floods and Water (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/558;
  • Shipments of Radioactive Substances (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/571;
  • Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/579;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/581;
  • Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/582;
  • Ozone-Depleting Substances and Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/583;
  • Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/584;
  • International Waste Shipments (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/590;
  • Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Amendment) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/596;
  • Fertilisers and Ammonium Nitrate Material (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/601;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/620;
  • European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Consequential Modifications and Repeals and Revocations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/628;
  • Merchant Shipping (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/630;
  • Aviation Noise (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/643;
  • Road Vehicles and Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Type-Approval) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/648;
  • Detergents (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/672;
  • Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/696;
  • Railway (Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/700;
  • Licensing of Operators and International Road Haulage (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/708;
  • Common Agricultural Policy and Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/733;
  • REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/758;
  • Animal Health, Seed Potatoes and Food (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/962;
  • Aviation Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/1098;
  • Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/1101;
  • Electricity Network Codes and Guidelines (System Operation and Connection) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/1104;
  • REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 3) Regulations SI 2019/1144;
  • Animal Health, Invasive Alien Species, Plant Breeders’ Rights and Seeds (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/1220;
  • Animal Health and Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/1229;
  • Railways (Safety, Access, Management and Interoperability) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/1310.

We will keep this page updated with all the latest developments and proposed negative statutory instruments so you can keep track of any upcoming changes.

The Vatican Christmas tree has been decorated with "next-generation" lights meant to have a reduced impact on the environment and use less energy.

The 85-foot-tall spruce tree came from the high platncruxeaus of Veneto region in northeast Italy. Another 20 smaller trees were donated by communities in the region's province of Vicenza, and the lights supplied by the German lighting giant, OSRAM.

The large Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square was made entirely out of wood and replicated traditional northern Trentino-style buildings. Some 23 life-size wooden figures, all hand-carved, fill the scene, with some of the clothes real outfits handed down through the generations, or once worn by local shepherds.

The scene also features broken tree trunks and limbs salvaged from severe storms in the region in late 2018. About 40 trees will be replanted in the area that had been seriously damaged by hurricane-like winds and torrential rains.

The Pope said he was happy to hear that new trees will be planted in the region to help reforest areas hit by last year's storms.

"These alarming events are warning signs that creation sends us and that ask us to immediately make effective decisions to safeguard our common home".

The tree and Nativity scene will remain in St. Peter's Square until the 12 January.

Woolwich Crown Court has fined the owners of a hostel in Swanley £14,000 for failing to comply with two planning enforcement notices.

Sevenoaks District Council issued the owners with a notice that required them to stop using The Convent of Mercy as a hostel. A second notice required the removal of a wooden shed that had been put up without permission.

The owners did not comply with the notice. The building continued to be used as a hostel until March 2018, when the council obtained a closure order from Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court, which came after repeated anti-social behaviour.

Woolwich Crown Court fined the owners £4,000 and £10,000 in costs.

In August this year a man who ran the hostel was fined £15,000 for failing to comply with the planning enforcement notice to stop using the building as a hostel.

Alison Salter, planning team manager at Sevenoaks District Council said that the owners "did not comply with our planning enforcement notices for a number of years. Only by taking action in the courts was it possible to close this unlawful hostel".

She added that the building was not fit to be a hostel and there were numerous reports of anti-social behaviour associated with its tenants. She confirmed that the safety of their residents are top priority and through work across the council, Kent Police, the Fire Service and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), they were able to bring the owners to justice.

"The £14,000 fine sends a clear message that we will not tolerate people who ride roughshod over the law".

A waste and wastewater company has been fined following an incident in which three workers were carried along a sewer following the collapse of a 150-year-old sewer gate.

Westminister Magistrates' Court heard that in August 2017, three workers were carrying out preparatory work in a sewer for the Thames Tideway Tunnel, which is controlled by Thames Water Utilities Limited. A 150-year-old cast iron penstock failed, engulfing the workers and carrying them along the sewer.

The three workers suffered minor physical injuries but have been affected mentally. One worker has been treated for long-term traumatic stress because of the incident, which has prevented him from continuing work in his specialised career.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Thames Water Utilities Limited had planned individual work activities but failed to properly coordinate these, as the permission and authorisation system was fragmented. The company had no effective means of collating, comparing and adapting to the impact of multiple work activities.

Due to an unrelated planned power outage sewage pumps, vital to the control of sewage levels for the work being undertaken, were not available for use which resulted in the failure.

Thames Water Utilities Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the Confined Spaces Regulations SI 1997/1713, fined £300,000 and instructed to pay costs of £16,419.

HSE inspector James Goldfinch said "this serious incident endangered lives of three workers and caused lasting adverse mental health effects; the workers narrowly avoided death by drowning in sewage".

"It should serve as a warning and a reminder to all those that work in confined spaces that work in these challenging environments must be properly planned, coordinated and managed".

The European Commission published on Wednesday 11 December, a new European Green Deal which sets out a three-decade effort to implement a set of highly ambitious efforts to halve Europe's greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

It sets to:

  • improve air quality;
  • decarbonise the energy sector;
  • build more efficient buildings;
  • invest in new technologies;
  • improve transport;
  • adopt a fair transition across all Member States; and
  • create climate-neutral Europe by 2050.

The Communication document aims to deliver the goals of the Paris climate agreement, also recognising the importance of climate change for the European industry, trade and politics, where the environmental concerns among voters were highly demonstrated during this year's European election.

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said for the Guardian "our goal is to become first climate-neutral continent by 2050, slowing down global heating and mitigating its effects. This is a task for our generation and the next, but change must begin right now - and we know we can do it".

"The European green Deal is Europe's new growth strategy. It will cut emissions while also creating jobs and improving our quality of life. It is the green thread that will run through all our policies - from transport to taxation, food to farming, industry to infrastructure. We want to invest in clean energy and extend emissions trading, but we will also boost the circular economy and preserve biodiversity".

As well as leading the world on climate action with the proposed emissions target, the EU will delve far more deeply into the root problems that contribute to carbon emissions and cause air pollution. For example, manufacturing, where in previous decades the EU was content to set targets for recycling rates, where, under the new European Green Deal, regulators would set specific standards on the manufacturing of goods to create a circular economy and phase out unnecessary waste before it is created.

Air pollution would be tackled through tougher air quality requirements, and energy targets would be significantly raised to increase the production of energy from renewable sources.

In addition, from 2021 it is aimed that at least 40% of the budget for the common agricultural policy and 30% of fisheries subsidies would be diverted to tackling climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, instead of contributing to higher emissions and degradation of biodiversity, as many of these subsidies currently do.

On Thursday 12 December the European leaders met at a summit in Brussels to agree on the terms of the implementation of the Green Deal. Majority of the EU countries support the effort, however, Hungary, Poland (which currently relies 80% on coal to produce electricity) and the Czech Republic are currently refusing to sign up due to the suspected extremely high costs and lack of support from the bloc to implement the new measures.

Reaching an agreement across all Member States at the summit is crucial for the implementation of the new measures across the bloc, as well as for Charles Michel who became the President of the European Council earlier this month.

For more information on this subject, see:

Every year at Christmas, the UK creates 30% more waste than usual, including an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper and 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging.

According to a survey by waste management company Biffa, a quarter of households predict they will throw away at least five bags of waste this Christmas, but 70% of Brits have said they will be upping their recycling efforts this festive season.

The research showed that the uplift in media mentions and public awareness regarding the climate emergency has had a noticeable impact on behaviour in the UK, with 65% citing it as a reason for their increased conscience this Christmas, and 40% said they felt guilty about how much waste their festivities will produce.

To try and minimise this guilt, Cedrec have considered some of the options to help you have a greener, more sustainable Christmas.

1. The tree

A yearly argument of comparing real and fake trees continues. One study concluded you would have to use a fake tree for 20 years for it to be greener, but seven million real trees will be dumped in January rather than recycled.

Look for opportunities to rent Christmas trees in your area; you rent and care for the tree over the Christmas period, then give it back for them to be replanted in January.

If renting a tree is not an option and you buy a tree, ensure it has been grown as locally as possible and check it has a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Soil Association log. After Christmas go to the website recyclenow to find drop-off points in your area, where your tree will be recycled into chippings for local parks and woodland areas. Or take it to your local dump where you can add it to other green waste, or chop it up and stack the wood in your garden.

2. Lights and decorations

If every UK household swapped a string of incandescent lights for its LED equivalent, we could save more than £11 million and 29,000 tonnes of CO2, just over the 12 days of Christmas. LEDs are much more environmentally-friendly because they use up to 80% less energy.

Switch to solar-powered lights outdoors and if you can, set both on a timer to reduce your energy bills.

For decorations use baubles that you will use year after year, and look for designs made from brass, glass and wood. Or try hanging biscuits, gingerbread or sweets as an alternative.

Instead of tinsel try natural materials to decorate mantle pieces and bannisters, such as holly, ivy and pine cones. For the front door try making a plastic-free wreath using paper and twine.

3. Wrapping paper

Every year we use enough wrapping paper to stretch around the planet 9 times but what many of us do not realise is that many rolls contain non-recyclable elements like foil, glitter or plastic.

If you want to know if your wrapping paper can be recycled or not, use the scrunch test. Scrunch up the paper in your hands and then let it go, if the paper stays scrunched up then it can be recycled, if it unfolds by its own accord, then it likely contains non-recyclable elements.

Sustainable options include:

  • reusing last years wrapping paper;
  • use recycled wrapping paper, FSC certified paper, brown paper or tissue;
  • re-use gift bags instead of wrapping;
  • try wrapping with fabric that can be re-used.

4. Christmas cards

Despite a quarter of us no longer writing Christmas Cards, for those that do there are greener ways to do so.

Look for cards made from recycled paper, that can be recycled, or that have the FSC mark which guarantees the paper has been produced sustainably and ethically. Plantable cards are growing in popularity too, such as seed packet cards that the recipient can sow in the spring.

You can recycle or compost your cards in January, or turn them into decorations for next year. You could also try making your own cards, or send an e-card!

5. Food

You could try cutting your dairy and meat intake to help make your Christmas more sustainable. Or try buying your meats and produce from small-scale producers such as local butchers, farms and grocery stalls. This will include fewer food miles, less packaging and less intense farming practices.

Also try eating the food in your freezer prior to Christmas to free up room for freezing leftovers instead of letting them go to waste. Anything you cannot freeze incorporate into a new dish, donate to a food bank or soup kitchen, or check if you are able to compost it.

6. Gifts

One of the best ways to make Christmas more sustainable is to re-think the way you give gifts. The best way to do this is to avoid the urge to get as many material gifts as possible and make sure to make every gift count.

For gifts you do buy look out for eco logos, such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), FSC, Energy Star and Palm Oil Free.

Other options include:

  • donate to charity on behalf of someone else;
  • give a second-hand gift from charity, antique and vintage shops;
  • make a home-made or up-cycled present;
  • give an experience such as concerts or a theatre trip.

7. Crackers and calendars

Replace single-use crackers that have plastic surprises with reusable ones. Some can be made with natural linen and allow you to add your own personal gifts.

Invest in a reusable advent calendar and fill it with a variety of homemade gifts and treats.

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