‘Tis the season to be… wasteful? Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? Between food waste, glitter, plastic wrapping and more, Christmas can be wasteful. But it doesn’t have to be. With all the tough times we've had, why not make 2022 the year you had your first zero waste Christmas.
How? By being a bit more conscious of your choices, it’s not even that difficult. Here are some of our favourite ways to reduce waste during the season of giving.
#1: Ditch the Wrapping Paper
Yes, that shiny gold paper with glitter reindeers catches the eye, but it also can’t be recycled, similarly to most wrapping paper. It gets torn off, shoved in a rubbish bag, and heads off to landfill – not the best aftermath to a joyous day. Why not opt for furoshiki wrapping cloth that the recipient of your present can then use again and again? Or just use plain brown paper – it’s recyclable and much more chic, anyway!
#2: What do they really want?
A zero waste Christmas starts with the presents. This is where most waste happens – and not just because your gifts aren’t sustainable! It’s because people get things they don’t want or need. So when you make your list, think about what the people you love value and what will mean something to them. Opt for plastic-free gifts when you can. And if you’re struggling, just ask! Even Father Christmas gets lists!
#3: Decorate with care
Endless plastic baubles, lights that soak up electricity, sad lonely Christmas trees piled on the pavements after New Year – is this really what Christmas is about? You can have a gorgeous, festive home without all that. Start by doing some research into sustainable Christmas trees. Real ones are usually better, of course, but ensure it has the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal of approval. Make your own decorations from foraged foliage or dried oranges; use beeswax candles rather than lots of electric lights.
#4: Put a stop to food waste
It’s a challenge at the best of times, but holiday season is when the vast majority of food waste happens. Now you know this, try to control it. Good preparation is key. Instead of caving and buying plastic trays and bags of nibbles, make a range of snacks in advance and keep them in the freezer.
Don’t be tempted to cook too much; and leave plenty of room in your fridge for leftovers (make sure you’ve got enough beeswax food wraps or other plastic-free food storage options, so you don’t end up going wild with the cling film!). Avoid buying tons of plastic bottles of drink by making your own lemonade or punch and mix a drink in a drinks dispenser for people to help themselves.
#5: Avoid disposable crackers and advent calendars
We know they’re a staple of the festive season, but disposable crackers and advent calendars will really sabotage your zero waste Christmas. Filled with things you don’t need, made with non-recyclable materials. You can achieve the thrill of surprise just as easily with homemade versions – and making them can be a fun pre-Christmas activity for all the family!
Will you be hosting a zero waste Christmas this year? Or did you host one last year? What was easy and hard about it? Share your best tips below!