Christmas always generates high levels of waste, with gift wrap, cards, food packaging and even unwanted food all contributing to landfill. But there are plenty of ways to be greener in your approach to household waste and enjoy a more environmentally friendly Christmas. Here are some tips to up your sustainability game at home:
1. Reduce and Reuse
Reduce and reuse before recycling: ask – do I even need this? Could I buy less? Could I repurpose this in some way? For example:
- If you have over-bought food, offer it to a neighbour or join Olio where you can share unwanted food items for free.
- If you have an unwanted gift, donate it to charity or re-gift it.
- Look at local thrift sites on Facebook that encourage community reuse and recycling.
- Create a menu plan so that you only buy what you need and get into the habit of making soups and sauces with leftover vegetables and meat, to reduce waste even further.
Scratch cook rather than buying ready-made. This will reduce the amount of packaging that comes into your home and save you money too.
- Buy your pantry supplies from a ‘fill your own’ store. With these retail stores, you bring your glass or plastic storage containers and fill them up with grains, pulses, spices, and other dry ingredients – reducing packaging and waste and saving you money.
Once you’ve checked these options, recycle carefully. Check your local authority’s guidance for recycling things properly. This usually means checking that wrapping paper can be recycled (if it has foil, it often can’t be), rinsing out tin and foil containers before recycling them and ensuring that your recycling isn’t cross-contaminated where it shouldn’t be.
3. Learn to Love Preloved
The preloved movement is inherently sustainable, and it means people are embracing second-hand, vintage and pre-loved goods. For example, why not buy and gift beautiful, vintage toys that will last the test of time, rather than plastic toys?
4. Make your Own!
Another great way to reduce waste is to make your own! Fill glass bottles with homemade bath salts, bake cookies and place them in decorative cardboard boxes, make your own jam and use them to make wicker hampers. Be creative and use materials such as paper, card, glass, and wicker; all of which are sustainable and recyclable.
Which steps will you follow to enjoy a greener Christmas this year?