Top Tips For a More Eco-Conscious Christmas
The festive season is hands down my favourite time of year. I absolutely love buying gifts for my loved ones and seeing the delight on the kids’ faces when they open their gifts. I love the time spent with family, the laughs, the swims the food and the warmth in the atmosphere and our hearts.
That said, Christmas is a time of year where many of us tend to do everything in excess which leads to a lot of waste. But, when we know better, we do better and now is the time to form new habits and traditions so we can enjoy our day in a more eco-conscious way.
Here are 5 things you can do to place a little less stress on the Earth this Christmas.
This can be a tricky one at Christmas with the obligatory feasts that we all like to indulge in, but with a bit of planning it can be done. The trick is to plan well and come up with creative ideas to use up leftovers and save them going to landfill. When we waste food, we’re also wasting the energy it takes to grow harvest transport and package it.
If you simply have too much to use up before it’s past it’s best, you can freeze most things for use later. And if you do create waste, recycle or compost it rather than putting it in the bin. If you can avoid it going to landfill you will be helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Do your best not to use anything disposable this Christmas. If you’re the crafty type, there are many beautiful things you could make yourself to reuse year after year. If you’re not that way inclined, visit markets and small businesses to purchase products that are more ethically made and will stand the test of time.
When it comes to decorations, try to avoid the cheap plastic kind, and opt instead for wood, glass or paper. Buy or make a reusable advent calendar that you can refill with small gifts year after year. Reusable Christmas crackers are another great way to save waste.
Instead of buying disposable plates and cutlery, drag out the good china and grab a partner to help you with the dishes (call it quality time).
There’s something about the smell of wrapping paper isn’t there? And is it just me or is Christmas paper in a category all of its own when it comes to the nostalgia inducing properties of wading through a sea of crumpled wrap on the lounge room floor after the present opening mayhem?
But this year I’ll be doing something different, and I hope you do to. First, if you have leftover Christmas wrap stored from the previous year, use it. There’s no point in leaving it in the cupboard to perish when it’s already been created. If you don’t have any, do your best to use wrap that’s been previously used. Even if it’s not Christmas wrap, you can use it with the blank side to the outside then decorate with fabric ribbon or personalised drawings. Have fun with it.
Another great choice is fabric wrap. Pillowcases, tea towels, scarves and even sheets for larger gifts work well and serve a dual purpose. You could also use offcuts that you’ve kept from other projects. Natural fabrics are best of course.
And if you absolutely must buy new wrapping paper, make sure it’s the compostable kind. Try to avoid foil or other materials that can’t be composted or recycled.
Are you still using incandescent lights? LED lights use light emitting diodes instead of filament to produce light which means they are more efficient (by up to 80%) and longer lasting. They also don’t burn out like other bulbs and because they don’t get hot to the touch are safer for you and your family. So better for you and the environment.
I’ve saved the most obvious one for last right? Seriously though, it’s so easy to get caught up in frantic buying which can result in regrettable purchases that will be discarded as soon as the silly season is over.
This Christmas plan ahead. Make a list and stick to it. Not only will you significantly reduce waste, but you’ll save money too!
Try to buy sustainable products made from natural materials and avoid plastic as much as possible. This can be tricky when it comes to gifts for kids. It’s a delicate balance between getting them the latest gadget that they just must have and doing what we know is better for the environment. Buying quality over quantity can help. One or two well thought out gifts that will last is far more sustainable than buying lots of low-quality items that will break quickly and end up in land fill.
A few common sense changes are all it takes to make a massive difference. If it seems overwhelming to tackle all of these changes then just pick one. Or two, or however many you are comfortable with. Always remember that every bit counts. You don’t have to overhaul your entire existence in order to have an impact and you still need to enjoy your Christmas. Maybe this year with a little less waste and a lot more love.
If you have any other eco-conscious Christmas tips, I’d love to hear about them. Let me know in the comments.
Until next time