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We’re all aware of how waste is having an impact on the planet. Plastic chokes the oceans, toxic chemicals leak into waterways and gases from rubbish incineration pollutes the atmosphere… And unfortunately, waste is commonplace at Christmas, maybe more so than any other time of year. Between gift packaging, wrapping paper, cards, excessive amounts of food, and so much more, there’s a lot that goes in our rubbish bins once the celebrations have come to an end.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. If we all make small efforts to be more eco-conscious on this consumerist holiday, then the high waste statistics may begin to improve over time.
If these statistics concern you as much as they do me, then keep on reading to find out about small ways you can make a change. We can all enjoy and celebrate the festive period this year whilst also being kind to the planet.
There’s still some stigma around second-hand shopping. However, sales are still skyrocketing more than ever. Once you enter the world of second-hand, I don’t think you’ll ever want to return to high-street stores. One of the most significant environmental benefits of buying pre-loved items is that you’re reducing the demand for manufacturing new products.
Second-hand stores are an absolute goldmine for unique gems that have a story to tell. Walking around stores with lots of vintage trinkets is also surprisingly therapeutic, and you never know what you might find.
The act of putting pen to paper is such a loving gesture, so it’s understandable if people would rather not go without sending cards this Christmas - especially as the festive period is going to be a little different this year. You can still help to reduce the vast waste created by cards by opting to send recycled and recyclable cards instead.
One of the most simple and effective ways to reduce household waste this Christmas is to shop smart. Consider what went to waste after last year’s celebrations then use this knowledge to help you improve this year.
If you do end up with food waste this year, try to make use of all of it. Scour the internet for recipes and guides that offer up creative ways to use Christmas leftovers from bubble and squeak to potato hash.
We currently live in an era of online shopping. Almost anything can be purchased at the click of a button! Because of this, it’s easy to forget that some items are coming from halfway across the world. This Christmas, try to lower your carbon footprint by shopping from local businesses.
I’m sure we have all at least once in our lives had to, unfortunately, get rid of a gift that we couldn’t make use of. To avoid this happening to someone else in your life, gift experiences or memberships that you know they’ll enjoy, for example, a membership for a digital publication or a ticket to the theatre.
If you have a large family, consider organising a Secret Santa so instead of buying 10+ presents, you only need to buy 1; this will save money and make your Christmas a lot less wasteful.
Two hundred fifty tonnes of Christmas trees are thrown away after Christmas when they could be used for compost. If you have a real tree, donate it to a garden centre or somewhere local that will compost it for you. Some councils will even collect your Christmas tree, or set up tree recycling points around the area. If you have an artificial tree, do your best to take care of it so that it will last for years to come.
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