This year, as I have said before, I am embracing having a zero waste Christmas. While obviously throughout the year I have been trying to move my entire lifestyle to being zero waste I am still not there yet. But I am very much going to ensure that Christmas is 100% zero waste! In the spirit of this I wanted to do a post on ways you can make your Christmas zero waste too.
Buy zero waste gifts
It is actually amazing how many great zero waste products there are out there. While not everyone is zero waste or even cares (which sadly some people don’t) everyone will appreciate them. Reuseable water bottles and coffee cups are just two examples. I don’t care who you give them too, they are practical and come in all sizes and colours to suit everyone. I did a whole post on zero waste presents if you want to take a look.
Buy gifts which have minimal packing
Plenty of companies out there use minimal or eco friendly packaging. You just have to find them. If you buy from small independent companies they tend to use a lot less packaging. But even some of the big ones are ok! Lush have a recycling scheme for their tubs and have even started using no packaging at all for some items.
Buy products made from eco friendly or sustainable materials
Your friend wants a bag for Christmas, buy her one made of cork, or vegan leather. The options are endless these days. Whatever you need type it in google and add eco friendly, I bet you someone on Etsy will be making it!
Gift experiences or lessons
Gift experiences can be anything from doing a bungee jump to tickets to a gig. Then there are lessons, personally I have a list the length of my arm of things I wanted to go to, a clothes making course, photography course, more Italian lessons, vegan cookery classes. If you have family members who have everything, this is for them!
Donate to charity
Or rather than buying people who need nothing a present, maybe donate to charity on their behalf. No matter who the person is they will appreciate this so long as you donate to a cause close to their heart. If you still want to give them something they can keep, maybe add on a second hand book or other piece you know they would love from a charity shop.
Some of my all time favourite presents people have given me have been antiques. So before you go creating demand for new things, try seeing if something old will be the better option. You never know what you will find in antique shops, which is part of the fun! Personally I adore my Shakespeare book set and a silver coffee set which I have been given in previous years.
Make zero waste decorations
While decorations do not need to be bought every year, it can be easy to see something in a shop and have to buy it. Half the time the thing you *have* to buy ends up in the bin, you know it is true! But if you really think you do need new things, how about making them? This Christmas I am going to give making some things myself, watch this space!
Don’t buy all the food
Things are wasted at Christmas on all levels, but I don’t think anything is worse than the food waste. In my family we have never really eaten any more than usual at Christmas, we still buy like we would any other day of the year. The only real difference is we have a fair few more puddings (mums sticky toffee pudding is impossible to turn down, even after 4 nights in a row!). But I am very aware this is not the case in most households, lots of food is bought with the intention to eat it all, but it ends up going out of date and getting thrown out. So to try and have less food waste, don’t over buy. Think of it as any other day of the year, plan what you are cooking and buy only the ingredients to make it. Sure buy some extra bags of crisps or sweeties, but not the whole shop. And don’t buy all the extras just in case, I am talking the third loaf of bread you need for just in case. It’s ok, the shops will be open tomorrow!
Embrace leftovers! There is nothing better than next day veg and tatties in my opinion. I love to fry them all up and have a big bowl of them for breakfast, which I am sure is really just what the English call bubble and squeak. There is also always the option to freeze things. If you have over estimated numbers, just freeze what is left. When you cant be bothered cooking on a dark night in January, you will be glad it went there instead of the bin! Yes it takes a little bit longer to package away rather than throw it out, but do it!
Use zero waste wrapping
Keep any packaging you get things in from now until Christmas to see how you can use it. I have lots of tissue which I intend on using to either wrap gifts which I buy in, or to make the homemade ones look a bit better. Other options are to use material to wrap presents. For decoration, rather than using bows, use twine and some leaves and berries from the garden.
Getting ready for next year
If you receive gifts in wrapping paper, open them carefully and keep the wrapping for next year. While this may seem “cheap”, when people know that actually your intention is saving the planet, they look at it a different way, trust me!