With only four weeks to go until Christmas, my planning for the big day is in full swing. But, with extra waste being produced at Christmas from food and packaging, somewhere in the region of 3 million tonnes of it, I would like to share with you my more eco-friendly alternatives to normal Christmas traditions. I hope this can give you a few ideas how to make your Christmas a bit more earth friendly too.
Christmas cards are great. They are a way of staying in touch with friends and relatives, and they can serve as decoration in the house. However, the majority of them are packaged in some form of plastic, a plastic box, or even worse plastic film which can’t be recycled. On top of that in order to make the card in the first place we have to sacrifice trees! I could go on more about glitter cards, and carbon emissions from posting cards, but hopefully you’ve got the picture.
My plan this year is to use up my stash of spare cards from previous years, as every year I end up with 2 or 3 leftover from a pack. This means I won’t be producing plastic waste from buying new cards, I will save myself some money, and I’ll free up a bit of storage space. Once I have used up this stash, I then plan to move to e-cards.
E-cards have been around for a while now, and just by doing a google search I have found multiple websites on which I can make an e-card for free, even incorporating my own photographs. It sounds like a great alternative. The only drawback I can foresee is that I really like receiving post myself, and I might miss out on that joy by going online. Nonetheless, I’m going to give it a try, and I am sure I will get used to it.
As for the cards I receive, it has been a tradition in my family for a good few years now to save these to make labels for the next Christmas….. self-recycling! Alternatively recycling them through the local waste schemes is just as good.
In the UK we throw away approximately 108 million rolls of wrapping paper at Christmas time. This is astonishing, especially considering that most wrapping paper can’t be recycled because it contains foils, glitter or meters of sellotape. So this year, again I am going to use up anything that I have in my cupboard, but after that I am not going to buy any more! Instead, I will wrap some presents in brown parcel paper, which can be recycled, and to make it a bit jollier I have brought some stamps and coloured ink to decorate it. Or, other presents I will wrap in fabric, which people can then return to me for next year. As for the sellotape, I will try my best with string and ribbons, which again can be returned and reused.
All I see in the shops at the moment are gift sets. Items people would buy normally, but now just because it is Christmas, they are packaged in extra plastic, with glitters and ribbons and a wash or make-up bag that you don’t really need because you get one every year! On top of that, you receive a set of something, and inevitably there is an item in there you will never use! For me it’s always the bubble bath.
My alternative to this if you really want to gift someone a nice set of bathroom pieces, make-up, cooking sauces etc is to make up the set yourself. Buying the items individually means you can get the person only the items they will use. You will save on the plastic packaging, and ultimately, it shows a bit more thought that you have searched for the individual pieces rather than picking up a box. For me, making up a set also means I can make more eco-friendly decisions in the items themselves, picking bath sets with less chemicals, or fairtrade food items to gift, rather than the big branded items.
This has just been the start of my planning! There are so many other ways that Christmas can be made more eco-friendly, but I feel these three items are often the first things to be brought in the festive season. I will be writing a part two soon for you though, to cover more of my Christmas plans, and hopefully spark some inspiration.