Christmas is often the most indulgent time of the year. A lot of us go all out on decorations, presents and food this time of year. Although it is a wonderful time of the year to treat ourselves and the ones we love, it inevitably means that we are creating a lot of waste. Here we discuss how to minimise Christmas waste
One of the best ways to minimise Christmas waste is by planning ahead. Always have plenty of bags with you to avoid having to buy additional ones in shops. Have a thorough list of what you need to avoid buying what you don’t need. It’s common to forget what you already have in your home in terms of Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, Christmas cards, etc. Before you buy anything new, do a stocktake of what you already own to avoid unnecessary or duplicate purchases. Stick to your list at all times and try to avoid impulse purchases.
Reuse Christmas wrapping
When it comes to choosing Christmas wrapping, stick to plainer options that are recyclable. Consider an alternative to the traditional wrapping paper. Could you perhaps wrap a present in a nice scarf or use a newspaper? There are plenty of options that help minimise waste. Always reuse gift bags and ribbons each year as well to reduce waste as well as save money.
Recycle old Christmas cards
It’s sometimes a shame to get rid of your Christmas cards at the end of the season. Why not reuse them? Keep special Christmas cards from close friends and family in a scrapbook. Alternatively, keep the cards you love the design of and use them to create gift tags for next year. Just make sure you remember you have done this to avoid buying new ones unnecessarily next December.
Don’t be wasteful with your food
One of the simplest ways to reduce your waste is by choosing food that comes loose such as fruit and veg rather than opting for the same items covered in plastic packaging.
Try and stick to only the food you think you will actually eat. This time of year we normally end up with tons of unopened food or leftovers that can be extremely wasteful. Plan ahead and ensure you have ways to use these leftovers up. For example, make a turkey curry with the leftovers from your Christmas day meat. It reduces your food waste and tastes delicious.
Check ahead with your guests
If you are the host this year, ensure your guests know what exactly they are expected to bring food-wise. If you do not plan this in advance you could end up with duplicates of dishes and way too much food to eat which will just end up going to waste.
Don’t use disposable cutlery
If possible, avoid disposable cutlery, plates, and napkins wherever possible. Material napkins often look nicer and last for years. Disposable cutlery and plates are ideal when you are expecting a few guests, however, they create a huge amount of waste. Instead, ask if you can borrow cutlery and plates that you need from your guests.
Donate or sell items
Once Christmas Day is over and all the presents are opened, people tend to want to get rid of older items to make way for their new gifts. Before you throw anything away, ensure you no longer have any use for it. See if you can upcycle it, donate it to a local charity, give it to a friend or family member, or sell it. If all of these options have been tried, then you can perhaps hire a skip to get rid of all the old items you no longer need in one go.
Make your own Christmas decorations
A homemade Christmas decoration can mean so much more and also means you are not creating as much waste as there will be no packaging. There are many tutorials to help you get started. If you are tired of your old Christmas baubles, think about giving them a makeover rather than simply throwing them away. Traditional round baubles for example can have a crocheted or knitted cover created or be covered in fabric which can give them a whole new lease of life.
Dispose of your waste correctly
Despite us being able to significantly reduce our waste, we will still create some waste that we cannot avoid. The waste we do create during this time must be disposed of correctly. Always check your local council and local recycling centre so that you fully understand the best way to dispose of your Christmas waste such as your wrapping paper, plastic packaging, and Christmas tree.
If you are a large household you may even want to hire a skip in order to get rid of your waste. This has the benefit of getting rid of your waste in one go and reassures you that as much as possible will be correctly recycled to avoid landfill.
Minimising Christmas waste doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the festive season in the same way. The methods above are just small, simple changes that we can all be making. Collectively, we can all minimise our waste meaning we can enjoy the festive season, even more, knowing that we are not causing the environment as much damage as we have perhaps done in previous years.