Christmas is such a fun time of year, surrounded by friends and family. Gifting items to each person and hoping to see their face light up with delight. Filling our bellies with far too much food and wine for one meal, but hey balance right. We didn’t skip breakfast for nothing!
BUT, It can also be an extremely wasteful time of year which kinda takes the fun out of it when you see how much wrapping paper, excess plastic packaging, glitter, un-used gifts and a whole lot of leftovers we end up with. There is hope, and we can all enjoy our festive season, without guilt, knowing we are making small steps towards having a more sustainable Christmas. Cheers to that!
To help you avoid the waste this Christmas I’ve put together some fun and fresh ideas that will reduce the waste.
Give up generic wrapping paper
Most wrapping paper is not recycled (and much of it can’t be), so it ends up in landfills.
A lot of the paper you might think is recyclable is actually lined with plastic, according to Going Zero Waste’s Kathryn Kellogg.
If you like decorations and artistic flourishes on your presents, be selective. “If it has glitter or tape, it’s not recyclable,” Celia Ristow of Litterless told HuffPost.
Glitter-encrusted paper is especially terrible for a couple of reasons. It can’t be recycled, for one. What’s more, glitter is made from teensy pieces of plastic that not only appear in your hair weeks later but also pollute the oceans, according to National Geographic. Marine animals often ingest these little specks, and over time, collect them in their stomachs, which can be fatal.
Instead use plain old brown paper which can be made into a beautiful wrapping option, especially when spruced up with a sprig of evergreen, a dehydrated orange slice of a stick of cinnamon (and then you have the added bonus of scented gift wrap). With this option you still get the feeling of getting to rip through paper, with the ability to recycle when you’re done.
Gift an experience
I always think giving someone an experience is so thoughtful and so much more fun. Its also something that they will for sure remember and it generally comes with little to no excess packaging. Think about your loved ones interests and hobbies. Maybe they need a little pampering but won’t spoil themselves. Or possibly they would just love to have a special day out with you or the whole family. The possibilities really are endless.
Use natural decorations
Natural foliage, such as branches, leaves, pinecones and berries are timeless and can be re-used year after year.
Dried citrus slices make beautiful ornaments and they will leave your house smelling gorgeous.
Christmas has always been a time for feasting, but we can all definitely be a little more mindful about what we decide to feast on. Try source locally grown and organic produce. Not only will your meal be even more delicious but you can rest easy knowing you have contributed to local business and reduced your carbon footprint. Don’t forget to use reusable containers and food coverings for your leftovers!