Christmas is just around the corner, but with Christmas comes copious amounts of waste that is produced around the world. According to the GWP Group, around 3 tonnes of waste is created at Christmas every single year, with 100 million bags of Christmas waste being sent to landfill. This is incredibly harmful to the environment. So we need to make a move towards recycling and waste reduction around the globe. With this in mind, here are some of our tips for reducing the amount of waste you generate at Christmas:
Use recycled paper as wrapping paper
Wrapping paper is now made of paper that can be recycled, with very little wrapping paper options still containing foil or plastic. This is a step in the right direction because wrapping paper these days can be recycled rather than thrown in landfill. Going one step further, you could recycle wrapping paper from previous years. Alternatively, you may want to carefully unwrap your presents and save the paper for the following year. There are also some people who will use newspapers combined with their creative skills to make it look as fun and festive as possible.
Choose gifts with as little packaging as possible
When it comes to purchasing presents for Christmas, make sure you’re choosing something that comes little packaging. You should also look to choose gifts that are packaged without using plastic, or very little plastic, if possible. The less packaging there is, the less waste that needs to be disposed of, which is always a good thing. If you’re struggling for presents that don’t have much packaging surrounding it, then choose items from local shops and businesses. They’re far less likely to spend money packaging their products up to the nines.
Give homemade gifts
When it comes to giving presents at Christmas, not only are homemade alternatives better for your bank account, but they’re also better for the planet. It’s exceptionally easy to do as well. You could simply bake some cookies or a few cupcakes and decorate them for the festive season.
To package them up, use paper bags or cardboard boxes – anything that can be recycled. Giving them away in plastic bags defeats the point of making homemade presents. Either way, giving homemade presents is cost-effective, eco-friendly and thoughtful when compared to store-bought gifts.
Only buy what you need
One of the best ways to avoid having to get rid of food is to only buy the things you need. Don’t over-buy things for your Christmas dinner. Look carefully at the right portion sizes for adults and children so that you’re not making more food than is needed. The same goes for presents and gifts. Only buy things that you know the recipient will use, ensuring that they don’t just end up in landfill if they don’t want them.
Make the most of your leftovers
It’s almost impossible not to have any leftovers after Christmas dinner. Instead of putting them into the bin, make some new dishes out of them. Whether you make some turkey sandwiches or whip up your famous turkey curry, use up every scrap of leftover food over the festive period.
Alternatively, you could compost the remaining food or place it into your food waste bin for the Local Authority to collect. This can be used to fertilise plants and shrubs in the spring. This way, you’ll be reusing your leftover food in a different way, but making the most of it nonetheless.
Don’t bother with disposable cups, cutlery or napkins
As easy as it might seem to buy disposable plates, cups and cutlery, stick to your own crockery and silverware. Anything that needs to be placed in landfill after a single use should be avoided. Serve up food on your ceramic plates and give out drinks in glassware. You can always put it all in the dishwasher after dinner, which will do the work for you.
Ditch the Christmas crackers
Christmas crackers are purposefully made to be thrown away. Even the prizes we get inside the crackers and the paper hats we wear on our heads are disposable. The best thing to do is to just refrain from buying Christmas crackers in the first place.
If you can’t do your Christmas dinner without pulling a cracker, then choose ones that do not give out plastic prizes. Instead, opt for wooden or bamboo items. You could also buy joke-only crackers that will only contain a single slip of paper in it.
Paper hats can be recycled, as can the cardboard outer packaging. There are more eco-friendly Christmas cracker alternatives if you can’t do Christmas without them. However, if you really want to reduce your carbon footprint, then don’t bother buying Christmas crackers at all.
Make your own decorations
Just as you could make your own Christmas presents, try to make your own decorations. There are plenty of alternatives to buying plastic ornaments in the shops. You could make your own garlands with dried fruit and berries or create decorations out of paper and card. It’s a great way of helping to save the planet whilst also giving you something fun to do with your children.
Recycle as much as possible
With all of the packaging, food, cards and trees we use at Christmas, you should make sure that you’re recycling as much waste as possible. That being said, if you follow all of these tips, you’ll actually end up not generating much waste at all. However, if you do find yourself with some bits and pieces that need to be thrown away, do your utmost to recycle them.
Re-gift unwanted presents
We all receive gifts at Christmas that we either don’t want or we have duplicates of. So what do we do with presents we don’t want? The best thing to do would be to give them to someone else for their birthday or for next Christmas, if they will last that long. You could also donate them to raffles or tombolas when asked. Another option is to give them to charity shops for someone else to benefit from. Don’t throw them away, make sure that another member of the community gets to enjoy something that you don’t want.
Send Christmas e-cards
Christmas cards, despite being made from paper and cardboard, still create waste. One tree is enough to make just 3,000 Christmas cards, according to the GWP Group. This means that we’re cutting down copious amounts of trees to send our season’s greetings. The more cards we put in the bin, the more trees we’re wasting.
While you could simply recycle your Christmas cards, it’s always best to stick to an e-card. This is something that can be sent online to your loved ones. Another benefit? You won’t have to buy or send physical Christmas cards. You also won’t need to pay for postage stamps, either. Choose e-cards this Christmas.
Rent your Christmas tree or buy a real one
Renting a Christmas tree has become increasingly popular in recent years as we look to reduce our carbon footprints and look after the planet. Essentially, what this means is paying money to have a real tree in your home, but then giving it back at the end of the season so it can be replanted and used again the following year. If it gets too big, it will be replanted elsewhere to live out the rest of its natural life.
Alternatively, it’s always better to buy a real tree over artificial ones because they can be disposed of in an eco-friendly manner. There are plenty of Christmas tree farms who will replant a tree for every one they cut down. When you’re done with your real tree, you can replant it in your garden or in a pot or you can break it down and give it to your Local Authority to recycle. They will then use the waste and chippings to help plants in their parks to grow or to create natural paths throughout parks and footpaths.
Artificial trees are notoriously difficult to get rid of in a way that’s good for the planet. Many are made from plastic and so will end up in landfill if you decide to get rid of it. If you don’t want to deviate from an artificial tree, then send it to your local charity shop or second hand store so that another household can get some use out of it.
Willshee’s is pleased to be able to offer skip hire and grab hire to commercial and domestic customers throughout Burton and the surrounding areas. In addition to skip hire, we can also provide hazardous waste removal and disposal, along with a wide range of other waste management solutions that everyone can benefit from. For further information, get in touch with a member of our specialist team today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.