Keep Your Name On The Nice List:
Sustainable Swaps to Make This
1. Wrap smart
Wrapping paper contributes to an inordinate amount of waste each Christmas, with many people opting not to recycle their wrapping paper in order to have a quicker Christmas clean up. So, make sure to recycle or reuse your paper!
It can also be difficult to tell whether your paper is recyclable or not, so use the simple ‘scrunch test’ on your paper: if you scrunch the paper into a ball and it holds its shape, it can be recycled. If it unravels or springs back, it cannot be recycled, so try and fold it up and use for another occasion.
Many stores have now ensured they have a good range of recyclable wrapping, so try to avoid the plastic stuff if you can. Sellotape now also have a plastic-free alternative and if you want to go completely eco-friendly, why not try wrapping presents with reusable scarves or fabric?
2. O’ Christmas Tree O’ Christmas Tree
Besma, creator of the amazing Curiously Conscious blog, has some great tips on sustainability, and she let us know some fantastic ways to make your tree as sustainable as possible. Whilst faux trees may last longer; “real trees are natural, aren’t made of plastic, and won’t take 100+ years to rot in a landfill.”
There are also some great initiatives around at the moment, such as The Christmas Forest’s, “who provides sustainably-grown British and European trees, and for every tree sold, another is planted in Africa through its work with Tree Aid.” It just goes to show that with a little bit more planning, you can really make a difference through the choices you make at Christmas.
3. Novelty Gifts Are A No-No
Monika Poppy (of @sustainbilityiscool fame), shared with us her top tip for having an ethical Christmas. This year, Monika says to “skip the cheaper smaller stuff”, as novelty gifts usually end up in landfill. Be honest and ask yourself, will this be gift be something the recipient will really appreciate and value? If the answer is no, best get thinking on some other ideas.
If you’re getting a Secret Santa gift or another low-cost pressie, Monika suggests to “focus more on edible gifts or charitable giving in their name. It used to be seen as a lame thing, but we’re at the age where people prefer saving the ocean than creating more plastic”
4. Second-Hand Doesn’t Mean Second Best
Many people seem to worry that if they don’t buy someone something new at Christmas it will seem ‘stingy’ or less special, but that couldn’t be more untrue! If you’ve taken the time to find a vintage piece that your recipient will love, it’ll mean so much more than any mass-produced gift, whether it be worth £5 or £50. If the person you’re buying for loves homewares, why not find some cute vintage tableware? If they’re a fashion lover, Depop has some great brands for much more affordable prices.
5. Don’t Be Greedy!
This year, it’s been a little tougher to get to the shops, and nice food has been one of our only joys (here’s looking at you banana bread). But don’t take Christmas as an opportunity to bulk buy all of the festive goodies at the supermarket. Every year, we always have eyes bigger than our bellies: we’ll order four desserts just in case, hoard the pigs in blankets, and still have all that food in the fridge that mum says not to touch until Christmas Day.
Be mindful that when you buy too much, a lot of this food will end up in the bin, and that isn’t exactly in the sustainable spirit now is it? Sadly, in the UK we waste 200,000 tonnes of food each Christmas. Make sure to carefully plan out how much you need for the festive period, and try not to get sucked in by the 3 for 2’s. When you do have leftovers, Besma suggests to put them in a pie!
6. Get creating
You don’t have to be a hardcore crafter to whittle up some presents that will be gratefully received. As Sam, aka @sustainable_sparrow says, “you don’t have to go all out, even homemade Christmas cookies mean a lot to people,” (we wouldn’t say no to them).
Meanwhile fellow eco-infuencer, @sustainablysimple’s Heather combines homemade with secondhand for her beautifully bespoke candle gifts. She tells us, “this year I picked up all my candle containers from charity shops to give them a new lease of life!”
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