Households worldwide create 30% more waste than usual over the Christmas period. This comes from food waste, extra packaging from shopping and, of course, wrapping paper and cards that are thrown out each year. These simple tips will help you cut back on your waste this Christmas to show our environment some love.
1. Use Recyclable/Recycled Wrapping
Use wrapping paper that is recyclable or made from recycled products when possible. Wrapping paper is only recyclable if it’s free of embellishments and plastic coating. As a general rule, if you can easily rip the wrapping paper, it should be fine to recycle it. You can also get creative and use cloth/fabric to wrap gifts that can be used year after year.
2. Shop Local
Shopping local can really help the environment too. Most large corporations use products that are made in other countries. These products are then shipped in from overseas, leaving a big carbon footprint. Shopping local reduces the need for long-distance transportation, which means it’s much better for the environment. Here are some local brands for your last-minute Christmas gifts!
3. Skip out on the Christmas card
According to Hallmark, about 1.5 billion Christmas cards are sent out each year. These end up in the trash at some point or another. Instead, write a little Christmas note on the wrapping paper of your gift or send an e-card instead.
4. Plan ahead and buy only what you need
Make yourself a shopping list beforehand so that you’re less likely to make impulse purchases this Christmas. Make a list of everything you actually need this Christmas – things like food, drinks, decorations and gifts – and stick to it people! The environment (and your bank account) will thank you for it.
5. Use LED Christmas lights
LED Christmas lights use light-emitting diodes rather than filament to produce lights. This means LED lights are much more energy-efficient and longer-lasting that normal fluorescent lights. LED light bulbs also don’t burn out and consume up to 75% less energy, lasting 25 times longer than normal lights. You can save more energy by putting your lights on timers so that you are limiting the time that the lights are on.
6. Compost scraps from Christmas lunch if you can
Don’t throw out leftover food from Christmas. Donating leftovers to homes and shelters after Christmas is a great thing to do. If you aren’t able to, compost your scraps instead of throwing it out.
7. Be creative with your gifts to avoid potential waste
Get creative this festive season and find gifts that can avoid potential waste. Most products come in excessive packaging and the products themselves are often harmful to the environment. Instead, consider giving the gift of an experience or event. For example, lessons for a new hobby, a donation to charity in their name, or a voucher for a spa day.
8. Got a gift you don’t love?
Donate it. Don’t throw it out.
9. Repurpose old decorations
Sick of the same Christmas ornaments? Whip out some paint and decorate them yourself instead of buying new ones each year. Find creative ways to repurpose last year’s decorations to make them brand new again.
Instead of mindlessly throwing things away, think about how you can use them as Christmas decorations. Jam jars are great tealight candle holders and old Christmas cards make for cute garlands/bunting.