A waste-free Christmas?

Maybe a reduced waste Christmas is more realistic…

From my personal experience, I know that living waste free is pretty darn tough, practically impossible so the thought of a waste-free Christmas just gives me the shudders! But saying that I really do want to minimise the number of black sacks full of, well rubbish in our family home this year, to help you feel a little less guilty about your environmental footprint this Christmas here are a few tips to help you achieve just that…….

Tip 1

Responsible wrapping

Now most of us love Christmas; the feeling of tearing open that hidden gift and carelessly throwing the wrapping paper away is undeniably good! Maybe after the excitement dies down and it comes to bin day you realise just how much paper was wasted, well why not save that guilt and wrap those delightful pressies in a recyclable manner, here’s how….

Firstly it’s good to know that metallic, glittery or plastic coated wrapping paper is unrecyclable so if your wrapping then it’s best to buy the good old fashioned wrapping paper, or why not use tissue paper (which, clean, could be recycled in your blue-lidded wheelie bin or composted) and it’s amazing how stylish newspaper with some string or an old piece of fabric looks once wrapped around a box.

The same goes for gift tags and bags, try and avoid glitter or shiny; why not use last year’s Christmas cards to create gift tags, make your own gift bag from used magazines or decorate an old takeaway tub in tissue paper and ribbon?

A good tip for creating ribbons is to use the annoying hanging loops that we all cut out from clothes to create a cute little ribbon decoration.

Why should I bother?

Because more than 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper will be used on Christmas presents alone, that’s the equivalent of approx. 50,000 trees; 83 square km’s of paper ending up in our rubbish bins!

Tip 2

Reduce your plastic packaging

Whether it's shrink-wrapped, bagged or boxed the majority of Christmas gifts, food and decorations come in plastic packaging, most of which is unnecessary. Look for alternatives, if the item needs packaging then choose cardboard, glass or biodegradable.

Buying local can help avoid the unavoidable packaging you get from online shopping, naming no names but have you ever received a small unbreakable item in a mountain of bubble wrap and a huge box? Unnecessary? I think so! If online shopping is unavoidable then request limited packaging at check out and leave feedback if this doesn't happen!

Why should I bother?

The UK uses almost 300,000 tonnes of card packaging at Christmas, this would wrap Big Ben almost 260,000 times (260,000!).

Tip 3

Eat your food!

No-one can resist a bargain and often at Christmas there are many deals in the supermarket which make us buy more than we need and unfortunately a lot ends up in the bin, so please be careful and shop wisely.

To save your food from a rubbish death then as simple as it sounds - eat up; if you’ve undone the top button and can’t squeeze any more in then freeze unused meats and veg and get creative with leftovers and make some scrummy meals. Love Food Hate Waste has more tips and recipes for making the most of your festive foods.

If you really can’t eat, use or store food that is still edible then why not take it to a local Community Fridge, Share on Olio, donate to a food bank OR compost it in a Green Johanna (they can take bones, meat and cheese!)?

Why should I bother?

According to Hubbub 3 out of 4 Brits struggle to eat all of their Christmas foods; much of the discarded food is ending up in landfill. In Wiltshire, about 20% of our general rubbish ends up in landfill.

Tip 4

Get creative with gifts

So many of us buy and receive gifts which stay stashed in the cupboard until at least the following Christmas, what a waste! Why not get creative and save the environment.

Buy experiences, vouchers, set charity shop secret Santa challenges and embrace the Christmas markets - they are usually full of unique and wonderful plastic-free gifts. 

If you are trying to encourage loved ones to become a tad greener then why not buy a beautiful homemade hamper of reusable delights, here’s some ideas I’ll be buying/making for my sister - a bamboo toothbrush, bamboo straw, reusable coffee cup and handmade toiletries - all delivered in a decorated second-hand box.

Why should I bother?

According to Groundsure, it’s anticipated “households in the UK produce approximately 750,000 tonnes of extra waste at Christmas time, generating 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 in total.

Tip 5

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - We will be posting during the 12 days of Christmas on our Twitter and Facebook page to help you reduce, reuse and recycle where possible!
After a fun-filled and festive Christmas we will be taking on the #WasteFreeFeb challenge, please do get in touch and find out how you can join us in in Feb…

[email protected]