December is upon us again. The month when we should spread love, happiness and warmth. When we should be grateful for what we have in life. When we should cherish our nearest and dearest. When we should pay extra consideration to the environment.
The environment – yes that’s right. It’s probably the last thing on your mind at Christmas, but this is where the issue starts. Not enough of us are treating it as the major priority it should be. Having a plastic-free Christmas is a lot easier than you’d imagine.
1. The good old Christmas tree. Yes, the thing that gets retrieved from the dusty loft each year. Now we say, “live a greener lifestyle”, but that doesn’t mean because your artificial plastic tree is green or that it’s good for the environment. There are eco tree options that you could try
- Grow your own Christmas tree. If you’re really feeling green fingered, how about buying fir tree seeds and watching the magic happen right in front of your eyes. This is a great option for families as children can get involved and it’s also a perfect way to add a personal touch to your home. Pretty cool, huh?
- Rent a tree. Just like you can rent a car or rent a property, you can rent your tree over the festive period and then return it. You have the luxury of having a real tree, that will be collected from you again in January. The best part is the tree will get replanted again for next year.
- A DIY driftwood tree. Eco friendly and a space saver (depending on the size) rolled into one. Lovely.
- Have one as a centrepiece with the materials in your home, such as books or empty beer bottles.
2. Now onto decorations. Deck the halls with plastic free decs, fa la lalalalalalala
A lot of the decorations people often use are plastic. Not only the decorations themselves; also the packaging. Now if you already own tinsel and baubles, don’t throw them away because you feel like you’re cheating. Do the opposite and keep them going for as long as possible to avoid waste.
Make your own. Another great option for families with young children. You could either bake some festive gingerbread men decorations or cookies to hang from the tree. Or make sparkly popcorn garlands to decorate your home. This option is a win-win, as when the decs come down in January, they really are good enough to eat!!
Some other tips are:
- Use brown parcel paper that can be recycled instead of your standard wrapping paper that uses a lot of plastic in not only the paper, but packaging.
- Have a fabric advent calendar instead of the plastic supermarket ones. You can be creative with what you put in the pockets too, and there are plenty of small non plastic items to fit inside.
- For Christmas crackers, how about buying eco-crackers where the gifts inside are wooden. Or – even better! – reusable crackers which can be reattached and pulled apart once they’re pulled apart.
- When buying your Christmas dinner, remember to take your own bags. If you’re purchasing fruit or veg, supermarkets now often offer reusable fabric bags that you can fill up. (Or use one of our organic cotton bags!)
- Bake your own mince pies and nibbles, to save on packaging and plastic waste. Homemade is often a lot tastier – and you know you’re helping the environment at the same time.
- Last but not least, enjoy yourself and be creative with your non-plastic ideas!
Have a very Merry Christmas, and here’s to an even greener 2020.
By Rebekah Jordan.