Globally, Christmas has now turned into a mass of consumerism and waste! Today more than 2.5 billion people in 160 countries celebrate Christmas and in the UK over the festive period there is a calculated rise of more than 30% in waste. That’s over 300,000 tons of Christmas cards, 6 million Christmas trees and 75 million Mince Pies thrown away every year in the UK alone.
But! There are ways we can change this and try and reduce the impact we are having on our planet.
I’ve decided to look at ways you can do this in two parts; firstly, rethinking waste at Christmas and secondly a few great gift ideas that can educate and encourage others to join you in becoming more environmentally conscious.
Rethinking waste during the festive season:
Presents under the tree – Did you know that we throw away enough wrapping paper each year to loop around the equator 9 times!! Most wrapping paper you buy in store, although it’s lovely and silky in colour and design is a nightmare to recycle, so why not get creative this year by wrapping your gifts in brown paper, tied with a cotton string and a sprig of holly or create your own designs with stamps. Pinterest holds the key to making beautiful eco-conscious gift wrapping alternatives.
Christmas cards – When we live in a world where pretty much everything is online, there are simple and inexpensive ways to send a quick personalised message to loved ones at Christmas. But if you prefer the traditional postal method try recycled cards or for a sweet gift with an added personal message plantable cards made from recycled seed packets.
Deck the halls with bells and holly - Bunting is perfect for pretty much all occasions, so this year why not dig out an spare fabric or old Christmas cards to create some bright and festive decorations. Another wonderful way of accessorising your home during the festive season is with foliage such as pinecones, holly and mistletoe tied with a ribbon. It is an easy way to decorate without creating waste (and you don’t have to store it in the attic for another year), just simply add to your garden compost or your garden waste bin.
The feast – Indulgence and Christmas seem to go hand in hand meaning sweet treats and mouth-watering savoury bites are everywhere. Did you know over 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies are thrown away every year?! A lot of packaging at Christmas comes straight from the kitchen table, therefore why not try and cherry pick the family favourites and give making your own a go? Cooking your own involves less plastic and usually is a lot healthier for you and your family.
Another idea is to consider any leftovers you have a try whipping up a new recipe, so why not give Christmas pudding ice cream a try or even turkey and vegetable soup? It’s surprising how many things you can create to stock up your freezer for the new year.
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree – Did you know 6 million Christmas trees are thrown away every year after Christmas? There has been a mass controversy for years about plastic and real Christmas trees for years. Although having a long shelf life, plastic trees are not recyclable, highly toxic and many end up discarded in the bin after a year or two. We suggest looking into a more sustainable option such as a purchasing a live tree and replanting it each year in your garden ready for the next year or buying a tree from a small farm who offer to dispose of your tree after the festive period by mulching and composting it ready for the next lot. If you aren’t green fingered Pinterest have lots of hacks and tutorials where you can fashion your own tree out of fallen branches, felt and even egg boxes.
So as you can see, It is possible to can keep the magic of the festive season alive without breaking the bank or giving up the little luxuries. What will you try this year?
Check out part two for some Christmas present inspiration.