Christmas is a magical time of year. This season is full of festive cheer, family gatherings, food, drink, and partying. However, it is also full of less desirable things, like waste. We all love the festive season, but it can be a bit of a nightmare environmentally. From food waste to heightened electricity use, we tend to put environmental concerns to one side when it comes to Christmas. It was estimated that around 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging ended up in the bin rather than recycled last Christmas. What’s more, an estimated 10 million turkeys were consumed last Christmas, resulting in over 3,000 tonnes of turkey packaging being thrown away.
There are many ways in which we can change the way we manage our waste and our wasteful habits, so let’s make this year different. We can have a huge positive impact by making small adjustments to our Christmas routine. Let’s take a look at some ways we could make our Christmas plastic-free and eco-friendly.
Decorations are often made using an excessive amount of plastic and glitter — neither of which do any favours for the environment. Try to avoid buying a new set of baubles each year. Reuse your old decorations at no cost to the planet (or your pocket).
If you don’t want to re-hash last year’s decoration scheme, there are plenty of different eco ideas to try. Why not adorn your tree with natural decorations? You could use pinecones, cinnamon sticks, apples, holly, or mistletoe to beautifully enhance your Christmas tree while keeping it in touch with nature.
Alternatively, you could opt for edible decorations. Baking and icing biscuits to use as tree decorations is a fun family activity, and your tree will look unique!
- Locally sourced Christmas dinner
A major contributor to any wasteful Christmas is the Christmas dinner. For many of us, the dinner is the main event. Because of this, we want to go large and include as many components as possible in this beloved meal. However, this attitude often results in waste and concerning food miles.
To resolve this, shop local. Make a list of what you actually need and try to source the ingredients from local butchers, green grocers, and bakers instead of relying on supermarket conglomerates.
- Reusable shopping bags
When you actually get round to doing the food shop, don’t forget your reusable shopping bags! It’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas shopping rush and resort to disposable plastic bags but making this one small change this year will go a long way!
- Plastic free Christmas crackers
Christmas crackers are a major source of plastic waste. They’re a fun novelty of course, but how many of us actually keep the tiny plastic knickknacks that we get in them? Plenty of brands offer a plastic-free eco alternative to these wasteful products, so this year, make the switch!
- Sustainably sourced Christmas tree
If you already have a fake Christmas tree — keep using it year after year! Purchasing a new fake Christmas tree is damaging, as it demands an intense manufacturing process, and then shipment around the globe. Instead, choose and organic and Fairtrade Christmas tree or, better yet, use your one from last year! This sounds a bit strange, but Christmas trees can be recycled. If you replant your tree after the festive season and take good care of it throughout the year, you will be able to use the same tree year in, year out.
- Recycled wrapping paper and cards
Wrapping paper is another cause of extreme cause of waste. It is a one-use, disposable product that most people don’t even think about recycling. This year chose recycled wrapping paper instead. Failing that, you could always use newspaper, or tissue paper you might have kicking around the house. Alternatively, you could present the gifts unwrapped. Sustainable Christmas cards are also available. As long as you recycle everything again after Christmas is over, this should lessen your environmental impact.
- Corks rather than screw tops
This may be something you’ve never considered, but within each bottle top or screw top, there is a plastic element. Because of this, switching to corked bottles is another small change that would go a long way. Especially if your household gets trough a lot of bottles over the festive season!
- Cut plastic from the office party
Office Christmas parties can be needlessly wasteful. Many offices traditionally opt for plastic cups and disposable plates, but this year is the perfect time to make a change! Encourage your workplace to invest in some reusable cups and plates, it will reduce the environmental impact of your party, and save your workplace money in the long run.
- Choose experiences over physical presents
Buying presents simply for the sake of buying presents just isn’t sustainable. Of course, there will be certain items that you’re loved ones will be over the moon to receive, but if nothing springs to mind, choose an experience present instead. Not only will experience presents be more memorable, but they won’t induce plastic waste or come with excess packaging.
- Boxing day litter pick
A final idea to leave your with — a boxing day litter pick. It may not sound like the most appealing way to spend a would-be lazy boxing day, but it is fun! Many families choose to go on a traditional boxing day walk anyway, so why not give this year’s wander an eco-focus?
If you make even one of these changes this Christmas, the impact will be important. Little changes for you mean a big step towards a healthier planet, so make this Christmas a little greener!
Where The Trade Buys is one such company who is placing an emphasis on becoming an industry leader within sustainable printing. The commercial print business has significantly invested in becoming an FSC partner, helping talking care of forests and the people who live in them. The company is a supplier of Christmas gift tag printing, with bases in London, Sunderland and Surrey.