Tis the Season to Be Jolly Environmentally Conscious

“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

It’s not often that we quote the Grinch, but in this case Dr Seuss’ fictional character is spot on. Christmas is a magical time of year but on the flip side it’s also one of significant excess and unnecessary waste. If we are to get serious about tackling the many issues facing our planet, then even the festive season shouldn’t be immune to changes. Below are our top tips on how you can make a difference this Christmas…

  1. Avoid the gimmicks
    From pre-packed ‘reindeer food’ (what’s wrong with a good old-fashioned carrot?) that’s bad for the birds, to Christmas Eve boxes that may barely get used, try not to get sucked in.
  2. Presents
    Think quality not quantity and aim to avoid plastic. For example, wooden toys have become very popular again and look to the growing range of ethical smellies, made from natural, cruelty free and vegan ingredients. Give handmade gifts or experiences too – from homemade nibbles to something knitted, a meal/afternoon tea to a thrill-seeking day out.
  3. Wrapping
    Lots of wrapping paper contains plastic. It’s not an exact science but if you scrunch wrapping into a ball and it stays that way, it’s more likely that it’s plastic free and can be composted or recycled. Even better, use recycled brown paper and/or reusable gift bags. And, crucially, avoid plastic sticky tape! Paper tape is readily and easily available online.
  4. Cards
    Of course, the obvious answer is to avoid them entirely but that may be easier said than done. Aim to buy cards that use recycled or FSC (sustainable) paper, are free of non-biodegradable glitter, badges and plastic wrapping.
  5. Crackers
    Again, you could avoid crackers completely. Or you can make your own or source reusable ones. Whether you are doing that, or planning to buy some, look for those that don’t contain plastic toys and are recyclable.
  6. Trees
    If you already own an artificial tree, use it for as long as you can. If you are in need of a new one, consider a real tree that is FSC or Soil Association approved. Or, you can now even rent a real tree!
  7. Advent calendars
    Make or buy a reusable advent calendar and fill it with homemade goodies or plastic free treats. Anything wrapped in foil or delicious Divine chocolate are among the better options. The growing trend towards more expensive, toy-filled calendars means more waste. Keep it traditional.
  8. The food
    Can you buy your meat (and cut down at the same time) plastic free from a local butcher, and your vegetables unwrapped from a local greengrocer, farm shop or certain supermarkets? Wherever possible, aim to avoid unnecessary packaging in your shop and only buy and prepare what you really need to avoid food waste.
  9. Drinks
    Wine bottles with a cork are a better option than a screwtop. If you’re buying beer, avoid plastic packaging and go for glass over cans. When it comes to soft drinks, swap plastic bottles for glass or cans.
  10. At the end of it all
    Ensure that you recycle and dispose of everything correctly when the fun is over. If in doubt, look online, contact your local council or drop Plastic Free Home a line! Prepare beforehand by getting bags or boxes ready for things like wrapping paper, cardboard and recyclable plastic. Remember to donate any unwanted leftovers to a charity shop or food bank.

Not everyone can do everything but if we can each make some changes, they really do add up. Happy Christmas from Plastic Free Home!

You can find us on Facebook by searching for Plastic Free Home or at http://www.facebook.com/plasticfreehomeuk.

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