Sustainable Swaps for Christmas
Over the Christmas period an extra 30% of rubbish is produced in the UK, including 54 million plates of food and 108 million rolls of wrapping paper. As a nation we also spend an estimated £42 million on unwanted presents which end up in landfill and £2.4 billion on clothes that we barely wear. Read on to see how you can do your bit to reduce this.
As mentioned, we dispose of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper, the majority of which is not recyclable because of plastic glitter or a plastic film designed to make it more durable. Switching to brown paper and then jazzing up presents with reusable ribbons and bows means the paper can be recycled. As a family, we have been doing this for the last few Christmases and I think it looks really pretty seeing all the presents under the tree! Alternatively, fabric wrapping papers are available that can be reused year after year. Or change up old traditions with new ones and instead of wrapping presents individually, put them in a large box with shredded paper and do a lucky dip for your Christmas presents! This way you can use recycled paper and use the same box and paper year after year.
Swap from novelty gifts to practical/ handmade
We all get stuck for Christmas prezzie ideas and have those few friends that are just a bit too hard to shop for. We also have all had a lovely present from a friend or family member that we maybe didn’t actually want or need and have never used. This year, maybe consider buying people practical presents that you know they will use instead of novelty presents that they won’t touch. Alternatively, hand-made presents are always a lovely idea! Or for those less artistically gifted (like me), shopping from small businesses can be a good way of finding unique presents that are produced ethically and sustainably. Check out our Black Friday blog for ideas! Also, consider including gift receipts when giving loved ones presents just in case it isn’t quite to their taste, doesn’t fit or they own already. This means your hard-earnt money won’t go to waste and you can ensure they end up with something they love! Personally, one of my favourite presents ever received was a beautiful pair of crocheted earrings from my incredibly talented friend, Ina!
Whilst for a lot of us, the food at Christmas is incredibly exciting, most families buy far too much food and end up throwing a lot away. Being more conscious about how much you will eat can help combat food waste in the UK and you could even donate the money you would have spent on excess food to a worthy charity! Also consider where you buy your Christmas food from, maybe support local grocers for even better quality produce from the UK, grown locally, organically and giving a fair pay to the farmers. Whilst some people consider the turkey and pigs in blankets an essential part of Christmas dinner, 10 million turkeys are killed for the Christmas season, with the majority spending their lives in industrial sheds and never seeing sunlight. Consider making this Christmas dinner plant-based to help the turkeys and the planet! Last year, for my Christmas dinner starter, I made avocado, tomato, olive oil and mozzarella (consider using vegan to make it even better!) decorated as a Christmas tree with baubles and a star on top! I also had a nut roast instead of meat for the main dinner which was delicious.
We all love a holiday party and getting all dressed up in our best sparkly numbers, but lots of us only want to wear an outfit once, adding to the problems with fast and throwaway fashion. Instead, consider re-wearing clothes you wore last year (no one will remember), sharing and swapping clothes with friends or renting clothes. By Rotation is an app where you can rent beautiful dresses, clothing and accessories for events. This works out cheaper for you if you only plan to wear an outfit once and better for the planet. It is a win-win!
Make sure you sparkle sustainably! As mentioned in our sustainable swaps for your beauty regime blog, glitter is normally made our of plastic and ends up being ingested by marine life. However, don’t let this dull your Christmas! Biodegradable glitter is available and a safer way to sparkle this festive season.
We hope this gave you a few ideas about how to make your Christmas more eco-friendly and hope you have a wonderful Christmas!