Week 33 - Tips to Reduce Christmas Waste
Christmas is a time for giving and receiving but the downside of this is it is also a time of huge waste. Unilever estimated that in 2014 the equivalent of 4.2 million Christmas dinners were chucked away i.e. around 263,000 turkeys and over 7 million mince pies. Each year some 1.12 billion cards are sent in the UK with no way of knowing how many end up in landfill. There is more ....each Christmas the UK public throws away:
> 226,800 miles of wrapping paper
> 125,000 tons of plastic wrapping
> 10 million items of turkey packaging.
> 25 million Christmas pudding packets
And this is just the UK - multiply these figures up across the world and we are looking at an unimaginable amount of waste. So what can we do to reduce the amount of waste each Christmas generates? Here are my top 7 tips to reduce Christmas waste.
7 Tips to Reduce Christmas Waste
1. Wrapping Paper
Make sure the paper you use can be recycled. But don't just rely on bought wrapping paper - get creative using your own decorated brown paper or newspaper and tie the wrapped gift with natural materials such as raffia as tape is plastic and cannot be recycled. This post from Monsoon of Random has lots of Green Wrapping Ideas and this one from The Pink Paper Doll shows you how to make beautifully wrapped gifts with brown paper and evergreen plants cuttings.
2. Christmas Cards
Switch at least some of your cards to e-cards this year. But if you still want to send cards, buy those that support environmental charities.
3. Do not over-buy food
A panic seems to befall people at Christmas with a fear that there will not be enough food to feed their family. STOP!! There will be plenty and anyway the shops are only shut for 1 day so there is no need to buy to excess - just get what you need. Meal planning might help as well as preparing food in advance and freezing it.
4. Avoid overly packaged foods
So much food comes in so much unnecessary packaging so choose foods with the least packaging and where it is packaged, recycle what you can. If you make your own food rather than relying on processed foods you'll find you have far less packaging.
5. Get creative with the left-overs
There are bound to be left-overs but don't chuck them when you can make more meals from them. Check online and also see what left over food you can freeze for later. And when preparing food make sure you compost the veg peelings etc.
6. Don't buy overly packaged presents
Manufacturers know that people are more likely to buy something if it is in a large, glossy box so don't fall into their trap. Choose gifts with minimal packaging or none at all. Have a look at my post of Green Christmas Presents for more inspiration.
7. Decorate with natural materials
Earlier generations knew how to make a beautifully decorated house with natural materials so follow their lead this festive season. Head out for a walk and gather as you go. Holly, ivy, evergreens, pine cones etc. all make lovely decorations - just make sure you don't over-pick and if necessary get permission from the landowner. After the festivities are over you can compost your decorations too.
It doesn't take too much effort to reduce your waste and I hope I have inspired you to waste just a bit less this Christmas. Let me know if you have more ideas and let us all have a Happy (waste-free) Christmas.
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