If you’re a regular here you’ll know that I’m pretty keen on supporting the environment. This seems so much more relevant at Christmastime than any other holiday in the calendar. I suspect that many will have at least heard of the David Attenborough programme Blue Planet II, and if you’ve watched it you will have seen the shocking reality of what happens to the waste that we create, especially plastic waste. You may have also read the post I wrote on recycling earlier this year in which I shared some pretty sobering statistics.
In our household our boys have been very focussed on reusing and recycling this year. Although we are nowhere near to calling ourselves a zero waste household we are certainly taking on an increasing lean towards The Good Life. We have already made plans for fruit and veg to grow next year having seen what has worked well over the past couple of years, and we’re getting really good at managing how much waste we produce.
Achieving an eco-Christmas though, seems like a hard task. So much comes plastic wrapped these days, or has plastic tags all over it to keep the product upright in its box. How can we intertwine the gift of giving and joy with being eco-friendly? Actually there are a lot of ways to do this, and I have listed some below. As always I’m open to suggestions, so please add yours in the comments!
1. If you’re giving plastic (Lego, Duplo, Playmobil, Little Tikes and so on) consider buying preloved goodies. You’d be amazed at what you can find, and it will help your budget as well as saving toys from the dump and reducing the amount of new plastic being sold.
2. Make homemade gifts and cards. Use materials that can be reused or recycled when they are no longer treasured or when they are finished with. Cookies in glass kiln jars for example, or mince pies presented on a plate.
3. Consider alternative gifts. Make your own gift card and enclose money for a date at the cinema or organise to take someone out for a meal. Perhaps a plant or some bulbs or seeds would go down well?
4. Make your own Christmas wrapping paper. Brown paper is ideal. If you shop at some online stores like Amazon you may well have an abundance of packing paper that will work well. Decorate it with paint or pencils, not glitter or plastics that won’t break down and will make the whole lot head to the dump instead of the recycling centre come the new year.
5. Tie your presents with string or ribbon. I save all of the ribbons that I get through the year from other things and they come in handy when gift wrapping. I’m going to buy a ball of string this year too.
6. Shop small and shop locally. You’re more likely to find gifts with low mileage rates and next to no air miles. I’ve got some great examples on my Christmas Gift Guide.
7. Most people will have their trees up by now, but if you haven’t then source it carefully. If you have an artificial tree keep using it and look after it well to increase its lifespan. If you have a real tree think about where it’s coming from and where it will go to when it is disposed of.
8. Plan meals in advance to reduce food waste, or buy products that will have a long shelf life in your cupboards or freezer.
Finally, remember a few tweaks or even just one change can make a difference. Even if that one thing is to ensure that you sort your recycling out after the big day and it doesn’t head out of the house in a black bin bag. Every little thing helps, don’t lose sleep making big changes all in one go.
What would you add? Let me know in the comments!