This is a collaborative post.
As much as we all love Christmas, it’s not actually a planet-friendly holiday. Not as much as it used to be – since consumerism took it over, it all became about the presents we buy and receive, the decoration that has to be up to the trends and lots of food of course. The bigger, the more, the sparklier – the better. Is it really, though? In the past 50 years there are more and more things are added to the must-have and must-do Christmas list: rules of gifting are getting way too extravagant, stockings to fill, Christmas Eve boxes to create, different Advent Calendars to buy for each family member, new Christmas jumpers every year, changing Christmas tree theme every year… you name it. Out with the old, so we can make space for a lots more new stuff we actually only use for a few days or weeks. Declutter so we can re-clutter. And it all cost a lot of money of course.
But as I mentioned, this is all very harmful for our planet. As consumers, we should be increasingly concerned with sustainability and the environmental impact our actions have – especially at Christmas. But making sure that the festive season is gentle on the environment doesn’t have to be too complicated. I’ve put a few ideas together how to reduce the waste we create during Christmas.
Don’t replace clutter for clutter
It’s a great thing to get rid of all the clutter and unwanted stuff before Christmas either sending them off to a charity shop. Rubbish clearance London services like Clearabee can be very helpful with the task: skip hire, skip bag, man & van – all available from them. Clearabee are able to collect on the same day if you use our man and van services
But the main thing is, when you decide to declutter or get rid of the stuff that doesn’t spark joy anymore (if you’re into the KonMari method), not to replace them with new clutter. Otherwise you’d be just ending up constantly decluttering therefore essentially just creating more and more waste. Be mindful with what you throw away and what you buy instead.
Reduce food waste
Food waste – as we have probably all heard it lately on the news is a major contributor to climate change. Between 33-50% of all food produced globally is never eaten and that is a staggering figure. Which means that we waste lots of energy, resources and of course it’s also a moral problem.
At Christmas we often buy too much food (because indeed it’s hard to know in advance how much really we need when hosting a Christmas dinner). But people tend to prepare for the apocalypse rather than 1 or 2 days when the supermarkets are closed. Each Christmas we produce 30% more waste than we do in the rest of the year.
So, just make sure that you eat all your left overs (your freezer is your friend) and just don’t buy things you won’t eat. (If you don’t like cranberries in cheese, don’t count on grandma to eat the whole thing in one night.) Packing leftovers for your guest to take home is also a good way to save the food. Get creative to use up leftover food. Christmas rocky road, anyone?
Choose Christmas gifts wisely
Buying gifts for loved ones can be challenging, especially for the ones who “already has got everything”. Try not to buy useless, novelty gifts just for the sake of it. Often festive beard baubles, yet another head massager, or a colour changing unicorn lamp can be good fun for a day or two, but they definitely become unwanted in a short period of time and they end up in the bin or in the charity shop. That’s just wasting money and creating more waste.
Instead, buy experience like theatre or cinema tickets. Make your gifts if you’re crafty enough. Ask people what do they really need? They might need a kid-free night out and they just want someone to babysit. Or they’d like a membership card to a museum. As in most cases in life: quality over quantity.
Don’t go over the top on decorations
We all love pretty Christmas decor, Christmas lights and all that. But you don’t have to lit up the garden so brightly, that it’s visible from space (in fact, light pollution is already a big problem). You also don’t have to keep the lights plugged in all night (it’s a fire risk anyway). And buy LED lights – they are more energy efficient.
And avoid buying new, themed, cheap decoration every year. Most of them are made of plastic and glitter, so they are not sustainable at all. Instead you can try to make some by yourself – and get the rest of the family involved too. Like these salt dough ornaments Or use natural decorations. Generally, the Christmas decorations which mean the most are always those which have been in the family for years – making them instantly greener.
Bid farewell to shiny wrapping paper (they are practically cannot be recycled because of the plastic film coat and other materials used to make the wrapping paper). Instead, find other eco-friendly ways to wrap your presents. Like gift bags, brown paper, Christmas sacks that you can keep for years or cloth wrap.