Love or loathe the festive period, there’s one thing that most people agree on: there is a huge, unnecessary amount of waste when it comes to Christmas.
Of course, we still want to indulge, sparkle and celebrate; but it doesn’t have to cost the earth; literally and metaphorically. From Christmas cards and wrap to decorations and gifts, here are some simple switches that will help you to waste less and celebrate more this Christmas.
It’s a wrap
Whether you make your own or you buy recycled and recyclable is up to you, but making sure that your wrapping paper can be recycled will go a long way to reducing landfill waste this Christmas. Think brown paper and doilies or hand printing, finished off with string, a sprig of holly or a personalised wooden name tag. If you have the time, patience and handwriting, you could beautifully write Christmas carol lyrics across the paper; a quicker but incredibly effective option is to cover recycled brown paper with festive stamps.
Make a list – and check it twice
Engage your inner elf and make a list of what you need, for whom, and for when. This will help you to plan your Christmas shopping and will prevent you from doubling up on gifts, as well as saving that last minute panic when someone arrives and you have forgotten their present.
Avoid plastic at every turn
Christmas is a time when we tend to let our hair down and eat and drink whatever we fancy. Inevitable, a lot of these treats come in plastic; drinks, snacks and sauces by the bagful coming into our homes before being cast aside and sent to landfill. Think twice before you buy anything in a plastic container; if there is an alternative, choose it, even if it is a bit more expensive. If there isn’t any other choice, buy plastic that you can reuse; ice cream tubs are great for storing and freezing leftovers, while tomato ketchup bottles probably aren’t much use once empty.
Think before you throw
As your recycling bin fills up with empty tubs, jars, cans and bottles, take a minute to think before you throw items away. Yogurt pots are fantastic for growing seedlings in the spring, and glass jars can cheaply and easily be turned into rustic candle holders. With a few strings of cork fairy lights, you can turn empty wine or spirit bottles into feature lighting; as if you needed an excuse to open another bottle…..
Make your own
Rather than heading to the high street or the online store, have a think about what you have at home, or if you can make anything yourself. Old lightbulbs make beautiful Christmas decorations; homemade Christmas crackers are cheap, ethical and have that extra special personal touch. There are some great ideas available online and at local craft fayres, so get inspired and go creative for Christmas!
Yes, we know, everyone keeps banging on about buying local. And we know that it can be SO much easier to pop online during your break and tick a load of presents off your list. However, buying local is better for your economy and the environment. No p&p, fewer gift miles, and you get to support lovely local business instead of big corporations. Plus, there’s no chance of you buying completely the wrong thing and not being able to return it, like so many hasty online purchases. If you fancy a challenge, why not see if you can source every Christmas gift within a certain radius, made and sold? Challenge on!
With a bit of thought and some clever decision making you can save money AND the environment and still have a Christmas that truly sparkles.