Where the environment is concerned, Christmas is definitely not the most wonderful time of the year. From unwanted trinkets to plasticised wrappings, each Christmas piles more and more waste onto our already overburdened planet. Luckily, it’s very easy to make your Christmas more sustainable, without losing any of the fun! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Unwrapping presents is brilliant. For that reason, some of us are prone to overbuying. Fun trinkets, jokey little gifts, whimsical things that nobody really needs… These kinds of gifts make for an impressive pile under the tree, and everybody has a great time unwrapping them – but what then? Chances are, most of the stocking fillers and smaller gifts will be cast aside and forgotten within a few days of being unwrapped – but they’ll still remain, somewhere, cluttering up the planet for centuries to come. Rather than buying lots of little, easily forgotten gifts, concentrate instead on finding one or two high-quality gifts. Think of longevity, usefulness, and recyclability. It’s worth having less to unwrap if it means that your gift will be truly appreciated by both the recipient and the planet.
You could go one step further by not gifting ‘things’ at all. Instead, think about experiences you could buy for your loved ones. A trip to see a show, a membership to a local attraction, a voucher for a meal out, perhaps even a holiday (if you’ve got the readies!)… Things like this will be memorable and fun – perhaps even more so than a more traditional gift would have been! And, best of all, experiences don’t end up in landfill for centuries to come.
A lot of wrapping paper is plasticised – meaning that it contains plastic elements which can’t be recycled. Instead of wrapping presents using conventional wrapping paper, think about using recyclable brown paper instead. Or, you could take it a step further, wrapping presents in newspaper, or even upcycling old magazines into wrappings. After all, it’s the unwrapping that’s the important part, not the paper itself!
Like wrapping paper, the tags and bows we attach to gifts often aren’t recyclable. Choose wisely when adding accessories to your neatly wrapped packages.
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure! Your Christmas gifts don’t have to be brand new. ‘New’ does not necessarily mean ‘better’. There are hundreds of perfect, great quality gifts waiting in charity shops and on preloved sites all over the country. And, what’s more, they’re likely to be a lot better value for money than their brand new counterparts. Have a rummage and see what you can find. You’d be amazed at the kinds of amazing things which end up in second-hand sales!
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