Christmas is all about indulgence – but there’s no reason why that indulgence should impact upon the planet. It’s totally possible to have a very merry Christmas without the waste. If you want to cut plastic and save on landfill this festive season, here are our top tips:
- Gift experiences, not things. How many of the Christmas presents you’ve received over the years can you bring to mind? Now, how many of the outings, trips, and events you’ve enjoyed with your loved ones can you remember? I’m willing to bet that you remembered more of the latter than the former. Sure, it’s fun to unwrap cute little gifts in the moment, but many of these gifts will end up gathering dust in a corner somewhere until it’s time for them to head out with the bins. Experiences, on the other hand, are (mostly) waste-free, and make great memories to boot!
- Buy pre-loved. Just because something is new doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. There are hoards and hoards of perfect presents and gorgeous decorations waiting in second-hand shops, charity shops and selling sites all over your local area. Hunting down quirky, pre-loved gifts and decs is a lot more fun than trawling through shelves of identical new products. Plus, second-hand shops aren’t usually as plagued with the Christmas shopping crowds as more mainstream shops are. Always a bonus
- Look for recycled options. For things like wrapping paper, cards, decorations etc, seek out recycled and recyclable options. It’s not hard to find cards made from recycled paper, or decorations made from recycled materials. Where wrapping paper is concerned, try using brown paper (which is recyclable), or doing a bit of recycling of your own by wrapping gifts in old magazine pages and the like.
- Cut the cards. Recycled cards are one thing, but could you take it a step further? How many people really do much more with their Christmas cards than pop them on the mantlepiece for a week or so and then chuck them in the bin? Cards are nice, but wasteful. Can you cut the cards to some people? Maybe you could send them an e-card instead, or even phone them to wish them a merry Christmas.
- Think long-term. When buying gifts, go for options which will last a long time and be well-used by the recipient. Every year, tons and tons of ‘fun’ but useless (or short-lived) gifts travel to landfill sites in the weeks and months following Christmas. Long-lasting, useful gifts which will be used and loved for years to come are much better for the planet.
- Shop carefully. Zero waste shops are popping up all over the country. You can make good use of them over the festive period. Even some supermarkets are now doing their bit to sell what they can either loose or in biodegradable packaging. It’s easier than ever to fill your pantry without filling your rubbish bin at the same time.
The good news after all that is that wine bottles are totally recyclable (although do watch out for those pesky plastic corks).