5 Festive Tips to Make Your Christmas More Sustainable Whilst Cutting Down on Waste
13th December 2019
Christmas is a magical time of year for many. However, as consumers, our waste has a tendency to increase significantly across the festive period.
Below are a handful of tips to help reduce the waste and encourage people to be that little bit more cautious when it comes to being sustainable in their approach.
1. Reuse wrapping paper
A huge amount of wrapping paper is purchased on an annual basis but a lot of it can be easily reused. When wrapping presents, be careful not to fasten it too tightly to the present. Also, when taking the wrapping paper off, try to encourage family and loved ones to be careful and not completely rip it apart (although this may be tricky for younger members of the family who are very excited to open gifts)! Another item that can be reused is gift tags! If you write in pencil then tags can be easily reused, or if they’ve been written on in pen then they can be repurposed as Christmas decorations that can either be stuck to ornaments or even the Christmas tree.
2. Be picky about your tree
Whether you go real or fake, choosing the right Christmas tree can make a huge difference. If you go for the former, make sure you purchase a FSC tree or one approved by the Soil Association. This will ensure your tree is sustainably grown and one is replanted in its place. If you opt for an artificial Christmas tree, make sure you get plenty of life out of it and use it for many years to come. Getting a cheap artificial tree that will need to be renewed every few years will hugely contribute to plastic waste, so ensure you get a decade or so at least out of any artificial Christmas tree.
3. Think hard about Christmas cards
Given how connected the modern world is these days, a genuine question is whether there’s even a need for Christmas cards any more? Not only can you save money by not purchasing them, but you will avoid contributing to waste paper and card – as well as the wider carbon footprint relating to the delivery of the cards either via private cars or the postal service.
4. Scrutinise gifts when it comes to purchasing
When it comes to buying gifts, don’t be afraid to scrutinise the packaging and materials that comprise the intended present to see how sustainable it is. Think about the long-term impact, how much use it will get and whether a more sustainable and sensible purchase can be made. For example, if a present looks as though it could well be used for a few days or weeks, then get tossed in the waste or even the recycling, think again about whether that present is the best choice. Perhaps consider whether putting the money towards an experience or day out may be the better option.
5. Food & drink – and not leaving any to waste
We all know that Christmas can be a time of gluttony. Nearly every household will no doubt cook too much food and have leftovers galore. Think ahead of time and plan out exactly what you’ll need and how much of it to purchase. This will not only help you manage finances better but it will assist you in optimising any food waste that may be incurred over the festive period. If you do find yourself with leftovers, don’t be afraid to look at recipes that repurpose the food such as curries, bubble & squeak and other options. Also, find out where your local food banks and homeless shelters are based and enquire if you can donate items to ensure they not only avoid going to waste, but they’re used for those less fortunate at this time of year.