Though many of us are making the effort to reduce our plastic footprints this year, we somehow end up with tonnes of plastic waste in our homes. From shopping bags and shiny wrapping paper to glitter and gift bags, shops bombard us with heaps of plastic.
To make matters worse, experts suggest that, with every year, global warming is melting our chances of experiencing a ‘proper’ white Christmas. In fact, the last white Christmas in southern Britain was in 2010. Although we may not see a proper white Christmas anytime soon, that doesn’t mean we can’t work towards a greener Christmas.
So, how can you reduce your Christmas plastic use?
Switch up your wrapping paper
We all love shiny wrapping paper, however, it is nearly impossible to recycle. But if you can’t recycle, why not reuse? It may be worth holding onto any shiny wrapping paper, gift bags and any other odds and ends that are in good condition. That way, when the festive season rolls around again, you can reuse them.
You can also opt for more sustainable gift wrapping solutions, such as plain brown power. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but it’s just as effective and can lend a nice vintage feel to your gifts.
Remember, opting for plastic-free wrapping does not mean you have to compromise on style or flare. To add a little pazazz, you can use fabric ribbon or colourful string to make each gift feel more personal.
Make your own decorations
From fake snow and tinsel to wreaths and ornaments, Christmas decorations can have a big impact on the environment and wildlife as they will eventually break down into microplastics, which can be harmful if they enter the food chain.
For this reason, it’s important for local councils and businesses to have proper waste management systems in place. But what can consumers do to reduce their Christmas plastic use?
Making your own Christmas decorations is the solution! You can make gorgeous paper chains and wreathes using old cards, wrapping paper and gift bags. Need some inspiration? Head over here to find some stunning DIY eco-friendly Christmas decorations that you can create with bits you have lying around the house.
Carry reusable cups
Whilst you’re out and about doing your Christmas shopping, you may be tempted to get the occasional coffee to keep you going. Brits get through around 2.5 billion coffee cups every year, the vast majority of which are only used once and end up in landfills rather than recycling bins. A single coffee cup can have a carbon footprint of up to 60.9 grammes of carbon dioxide and requires 0.58 litres of water to produce.
Simply carrying around a reusable cup for whenever the coffee cravings creep up on you will help to reduce your plastic footprint considerably. Not to mention, they also make a great Christmas gift for loved ones (or yourself).
Ditch plastic bottles
The same can also be said for plastic bottles. We are all familiar with the slogan, ‘reduce, re-use and recycle.’ Although many of us make a conscious effort to recycle our plastic bottles, reducing and reusing plastic have somewhat been forgotten along the road to a greener planet.
Picking up a bottle of water may not seem like a biggy, but the impact this can have on the planet and our Christmas plastic use is undeniable. Read our blog on why it’s so difficult to recycle plastic and discover why it’s important to reduce your plastic waste – including plastic bottles.
Tap water is not only safe, but it’s just as tasty as bottled water. If you’re struggling to find somewhere to refill your bottle when you’re out of the house, try the Refill app. It’s free and makes it easy to find a convenient spot to refill your water bottle.
Avoid disposable cutlery
For many households across the country, the festive period usually means a revolving door of guests. Understandably, you may be tempted to use disposable cutlery to make things easier on you. That said, disposable cutlery is not ideal for the environment.
Most people tend to be pretty generous around this time of year. If you need some extra cutlery, it may be worth asking a neighbour or a friend if you can borrow some from them.
Alternatively, consider investing in a reusable set that you can take out of storage just for special occasions.
Take reusable bags with you to the shop
Let’s face it, Christmas shopping can be pretty chaotic. You sort out your list. Go to the shop. Climb over people to get what you want. Make your way to the till and then… “Do you need a bag?”
The answer typically tends to be yes, as many of us have a habit of forgetting our reusable bags at home. To avoid that last-minute panic at the checkout, set yourself a reminder on your phone or leave yourself a note on the front door to take a reusable bag with you. That way, you don’t have to concede to buying another disposable plastic bag.
Support local businesses
There’s something almost taboo about not buying name brands when it comes to Christmas. Of course, we all want Christmas to be special, but not at the cost of the environment. With this in mind, it may be time to ditch plastic-wrapped foods and to stock up on fresh produce from local markets and businesses.
Understandably, you may need to go to the supermarket to pick up a few things, so where you can, try to buy loose fruit and veg to avoid unnecessary packaging.
Hopefully, these tips will reduce your Christmas plastic use and make your Christmas a little greener and merrier. Read our blog to learn more about how you can reduce waste in your day to day life.