16 October 2011

Step Down Sunday - Christmas Cards

I love Christmas, but it is hard to ignore how much waste we Step Down Sunday
create this time of year.  But Step Down Sunday isn’t about giving up the things we love, but finding new and better ways to do them.

With so many friends and family overseas, I send quite a few Christmas cards. It can be difficult keeping in touch with even close friends over the miles and time zones, so Christmas cards are a way of saying that we’re still thinking of them - even if we haven’t spoken in a while.  At the same time I can’t help but see the waste in sending cards that will be thrown away after just a few weeks.

So I came up with a plan to reduce the environmental impact of our Christmas cards.  First I identified what was important: obviously there was the holiday message, but Christmas cards are also used as decorations so the pretty picture is important too.  At this point I had a clever idea which would more than half the material costs! Instead of sending a traditional card we could send Christmas postcards.  It uses half the cardboard and doesn’t need an envelope. (The envelope was another concern as not every where recycles them.)

Eco-friendly Christmas Postcards
I was a bit surprised that no one sells Christmas postcards, but I found several places where you could print your own. I choose VistaPrint in the end as they were affordable and could print on 100% recycled card. I found a free Christmas printable on the internet, added a simple Merry Christmas to the back and as a final flourish added a footnote: “This year we’re sending recycled Christmas postcards to help reduce our carbon footprint.”
I’ve been anxiously awaiting their arrival since I ordered them, and I’m quite happy with the result.  We did need to place a large order of a hundred cards, but we can use them over few years or we sell some of them at cost to other people who like the idea.

There are still ways our Christmas postcards could be improved like using paper from a wind powered paper mill or a printer who use vegetable inks, but I think this was a good start.

Do you have any eco-friendly Christmas ideas? Join the Step Down Sunday:

If you'd like the code for the Step Down Sunday badge or to learn more about it, go to the Step Down Sunday page.

(And if you're interested in a pack of ten cards for £2 - let me know in the comments!)