I love Christmas, I love the smell of warm mince pies, turning up the volume of my favourite Christmas album, looking at the street lights, watching a Christmas classic with my friends and going to my church’s festivities.
We can enjoy all the delights of Christmas and live a little more ethically without being a Scrooge. In fact, our zero waste Christmas is filled with creativity and time with friends and family.
Not sure where to start? Here are 12 days of zero-waste Christmas…
1. Grow your own tree! (Maybe next year…)
Forget finding a partridge in your pear tree, why not grow your own Christmas tree? Real trees are better for the environment than plastic ones but of the vast majority of the eight million real Christmas trees bought each year will end up in landfill. Growing your own involves a bit of work (some growing tips here) but is increasingly satisfying year on year.
2. Deck the halls!
Over 900 million cards are bought for Christmas and destined for the bin by January. Plantable seeded cards can decorate people’s living rooms over Christmas and flower in their gardens in the year ahead.
3. A Christmas delivery with a difference
Order a vegetable box for your Christmas dinner. Veg boxes don’t come with the packaging that often unnecessarily surrounds much of our fresh food. Seasonal local food has the added advantage of low food miles (and therefore lower carbon footprints). Use Google to find your local supplier.
4. Dashing through the snow…
To get that peppermint latte you’ve spent the last 11 months waiting for? Don’t forget your reusable cup.
5. Joy to the world of experiences
Around two out of three people receive at least one Christmas gift they don’t like. Instead of giving more stuff to clutter each others’ homes, give experiences that you can enjoy together. Guitar lessons, Hula Like A Pro, urban beekeeping – there’s something for everyone.
6. Santa Claus is coming to town!
Hold a gift-making evening. If you really want to give something to be opened on the day, gather your friends for an evening of creativity. You could mix it up by making for each other’s families, that way all your loved ones won’t receive identical crocheted snowflakes.
7. Wrap up this Christmas
Ditch the glossy wrapping paper and sellotape. These often can’t be recycled, so instead wrap with paper (try your local charity shop for vintage maps, sheet music, books…) and tie your packages together with string or ribbon. The paper can be recycled or saved for next year while the string/ribbon can be saved for future wrapping.
8. Baby it’s cold outside
Wrap up warm this year with a jumper from a Christmas clothes swap. Your unwanted reindeer jumper is someone else’s gain with this free route to a new festive outfit. Alternatively why not upcycle an old sewatshirt into a Christmas jumper? Check out these fun designs.
9. Planning to rock around the Christmas tree?
Make your Christmas party zero waste. If you’re having lots of people around, disposable plates and cups might save on washing up but can rarely be recycled; instead, borrow what you need from friends – getting everyone involved makes it more fun anyway.
10. Ho Ho Hosting…
A leftovers feast. Before setting off to visit family for the holidays, bring your friends together for a meal using up everyone’s leftovers. Challenge each other to be the most inventive with the ingredients lurking at the back of the fridge.
11. Santa’s little helper!
Even the best of planners can find themselves popping to the shops for that one last thing as Christmas day approaches. Avoid picking up any plastic bags by bringing your own shopping bags.
12. Christmas time, mistletoe and wine!
Don’t forget to be creative with your Christmas dinner leftovers.