Christmas can be one of the most fun and heartwarming times of the year; a time to celebrate, share special gifts with friends and family, to enjoy delicious food and a few too many beverages (hello, cocktails!).
We love all the merriment that comes with the holidays, but let’s be real: it’s called the silly season for more reason than one. As much as we enjoy it at the time, all that overindulgence in naughty-but-nice festivities can leave us feeling pretty unhealthy, drain the bank accounts and create a staggering amount of waste.
With all those family get-togethers, work parties, gatherings with friends and gift frenzies just on the horizon, we thought this was an opportune time to take a look at a few simple ways we can enjoy a more sustainable Christmas this year.
We’ve all been there: you’re hosting a party and just realised you’re low on supplies. Or, maybe you can’t be bothered with all that clean-up. Popping out to your local discount shop or supermarket to stock up on disposable cutlery, plates and cups that can simply be thrown in the bin can be pretty tempting. However, these single-use items are usually non-recyclable and end up going straight to landfill. Instead of contributing to what is already a massive global waste problem, why not ask a few friends or family members to loan you some plates, cups or cutlery that can be washed and returned to them? Or, charity shops often have plates and cups you could buy for a steal — simply use them, wash them afterwards, and donate them back to the shop. This way, not only are you reducing your party waste, but you’re also supporting a hugely valuable part of your local community.
Recycling Gift Wrap
We were surprised to learn recently that one of the biggest sources of waste each Christmas is from the wrapping paper. But it actually makes sense — have you ever noticed the mountain of torn paper after that unwrapping frenzy on Christmas morning? What’s more, most of the fancy festive papers we use, including foiled and metallic varieties, are non-recyclable and take decades to decompose. This year, why not reduce your wrapping waste by choosing reusable boxes or paper bags? Better yet, make the wrapping part of the gift itself by using a beach towel, a cute hair scarf, or wall hanging. If you do have to use wrapping paper, try to keep it from getting too damaged so you can at least get a few uses out of it.
In essence, gift-giving is a beautiful thing. But, the crazy rise in consumerism of recent decades and societal pressure has seen gift-giving at Christmas turn into a pretty ugly and wasteful exercise. Instead of buying gifts for the sake of it, or risking a gift not being used and sitting in a cupboard collecting dust, why not look into gifting your loved ones amazing experiences? From organic wine tours, movie tickets, wildlife park memberships and even guided foraging trips, there are so many options. And the best part? There is no need to gift wrap!
Making a conscious choice about the brands we support and the products we buy can have a huge impact on the environment. Doing your research to look into the ethical and environmental values of the companies you buy from can ensure you are making the right choice for the planet. And when buying for others, your choices could help to inform and inspire them to think more sustainably, too. There are hundreds of sustainable gifts out there, but a few of our favourites include eco-friendly clothing (like our friends at Nimble Activewear), ethically made and cruelty-free make-up or beauty products, reusable shopping bags, and of course reusable coffee cups and flasks — like our beautiful range.
Reduce Meat Consumption
It’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the research: the overconsumption of meat and the meat farming industry are contributing to some scary environmental impacts including land and water degradation, deforestation, and climate change. Make 2019 the year that you cut back on the reliance of animal products on your Christmas table, and surprise all your feasting guests with some delicious new holiday treats, sans meat.
Christmas cards are lovely to receive, but in this day and age there really is no need to create the waste involved with printed cards (again, usually foiled and non-recyclable!). There are plenty of websites and apps that can help you create beautiful, unique and delivered-in-an-instant E-cards. And, with the ability to add moving image and sound, going digital is a really easy and fun way to say Merry Christmas to loved ones.