I’m dreaming of a green Christmas

According to research we produce twice as much waste at Christmas than other times of the year, and most of it is plastic from gift wrapping and packaging. I read somewhere that the Brits go through more than 40 million rolls of (mostly plastic) sticky tape every year and use enough wrapping paper to go around the Equator nine times. Crazy! After reading these staggering numbers I started thinking what a green(er) Christmas would look like. Here are few suggestions on how to make your Christmas just a little greener.

Gifts

Why not consider making gifts for your family and friends this year. It is better for the environment and many times a lot more personal and meaningful than hastily bought gifts. Homemade gifts also make financial sense. Why not bake some cookies or make a lemon curd or marmalade?

Instead of giving a loved one a gift you are not completely sure they will like or use, give them an experience. Buy them a theater ticket, or a voucher to attend a workshop. Check out my previous blog for some great workshop options.

Donate to a charity on behalf of a loved one is the perfect gift. Find out what charity they care about, make the donation and give them a card or envelope with the details of the donation.

Consider making a gift for the natural environment and gifting it to friends and family. Bee hotels, bat boxes, bird feeders or indigenous plants are all beautiful gifts that will keep on giving. This is also a great way to keep the kids entertained during the long school holiday.

I think when it comes to gifts my new motto is ‘Quality above quantity’ – buying less gifts that will last longer. I need to keep reminding myself about this motto especially when it comes to buying toys for my little girl and nieces. I am trying to avoid buying those cheap plastic toys that break easily and will end up in the bin before the new year. This year I will be opting for wooden or fabric-based toys. If, like my hubby, you find it hard to stay away form Lego and other iconic plastic toy brands consider buying second-hand toys.

Gift wrapping

I love having beautifully wrapped gifts under our Christmas tree, but I hate the mound of waste we end up throwing in the bin. So, I have decided to do it differently this year.

Instead of store-bought wrapping paper I will be wrapping my gifts in newspaper and brown paper (without the plastic layer). I will also be re-using Christmas gift bags from last year. If you do want to use wrapping paper opt for paper that tears easily as it can usually be recycled. I will also be replacing the sticky tape and synthetic ribbons with fabric ribbons and hemp twine. I am also playing around with the idea of trying my hand at Japanese fabric wrapping (Furoshiki).  

The Christmas table

I am a sucker for Christmas crackers, but I hate those little plastic toys that end up on the floor and then in the bin. That’s why I was so excited when I stumbled upon a great alternative from the unwrapped co. Their Christmas crackers are made by Upcycle. Upcycle’s motto is that nothing goes to waste, which means these crackers are very eco-friendly. The gifts in the crackers are either debranded, but new, gadgets (mini torches etc) that were saved from heading to a landfill or handmade gifts (plant holders, mini purses etc) that are made from up-cycled materials. I literally can’t wait to pull the crackers this year!

When it comes to setting your Christmas table try using ‘real’ tableware. I know using disposable tableware is convenient and looks like a great option after the year we have had, but the real stuff is just so much nicer to eat off and a lot better for the environment. If you really must use disposable tableware opt for biodegradable products such as paper based uncoated plates and cups, or wooden or bamboo plates and cutlery.

And what about all those leftovers? Instead of getting the plastic clingwrap out use beeswax wraps, cloth dish covers or glass containers. Gift your guests with a reusable container and send them home with some leftovers.  

xxx

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