It's that time of year again. As you shop for gifts and decorations, you'll be tempted by all the plastic waste around you. But don't worry! There are plenty of ways to reduce your single-use plastic waste this festive season. In fact, there are many small but impactful changes we can make each day to cut down on our overall carbon footprint and become more sustainable in our daily lives. Here are just a few ways you could reduce your plastic waste this Christmas:
Use reusable shopping bags: Bring your own reusable bags when shopping for gifts
The best way to avoid single-use plastics this Christmas is to bring your own reusable bags. When shopping for gifts, use a basket or bag made of cotton, jute or other natural fibres. If you don't have any reusable cloth bags at home, ask friends and family if they have some spare ones available for your use - you can always take them back! Reusable shopping bags are better for the environment because they don't generate waste like plastic when discarded after one use (or even several).
Reusable shopping bags are also great for carrying groceries and other items around town. You can even decorate the outside of your bag with seasonal colours or illustrations so that it looks festive when used throughout the year!
Choose eco-friendly wrapping paper
Instead of wrapping presents in plastic, consider using recycled paper or reusable bags. If you’re looking for an alternative to the classic gift wrap, you can make your own reusable wrapping paper from old magazines and newspapers. You can also go with a more eco-friendly option like brown paper bags—they're cheap and easy to find.
To make sure you don't forget anything on Christmas morning, write down each present as you unwrap it so that no one has to hunt through a pile of shiny paper for their gift!
Avoid disposable plastic cutlery
One of the easiest ways to reduce your single-use plastic waste this Christmas is by avoiding disposable cutlery. This can be done by using reusable cutlery like metal or bamboo, or even wooden utensils that can be carved into beautiful pieces of art when you're done with them. Glass, paper and ceramic are also options which are all biodegradable and safe for the environment!
Send e-cards instead of physical cards:
Instead of sending traditional Christmas cards, send digital ones. Digital cards are better for the environment and more economical than their physical counterparts since you don’t need to print or buy envelopes for them. You can also send them to multiple people at once, so if you want to send a card to your entire address book, it won’t cost you anything extra! Best of all: if you wait until after Christmas has passed (or even the first week in January), your card will still arrive bright and early in recipients' inboxes—and who doesn't love getting a surprise message right after New Year's?
Use LED lights and decorate with nature
If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint this Christmas, LED lights are an easy way to do so. They use less energy than traditional lights and last longer, making them more environmentally friendly. But there are other benefits of LED lights too: they’re cool to the touch and won’t burn you if they fall into your lap while you're sitting on the couch watching TV. In fact, they don't heat up at all! This means you can hang them in your home without worrying about fire hazards or accidentally burning yourself (which is great if anyone in your house has a history of electrocution).
LEDs also decompose quickly after disposal so they're easy to recycle (and since LEDs last so much longer than traditional bulbs, it's likely that fewer will end up in landfills). Finally, LEDs give off more light per wattage than incandescent bulbs—over three times as much!
Don't use Christmas crackers and plastic rubbish in them
Don't use Christmas crackers or plastic rubbish in them.
Christmas crackers are not biodegradable, and they can take hundreds of years to decompose. Plastic rubbish is a major threat to the environment and wildlife, as well as dangerous for humans. It's also a major cause of pollution - only around 12% of all plastic waste is recycled each year.
Recycle your Christmas tree
Recycle your Christmas tree
Your best bet for disposing of the Christmas tree is to take it to your local recycling or reuse centre (local authority websites will have details). However, if you can't access this facility and can't find one nearby, you can always compost your tree. It's not great for trees to be ripped out of their natural habitat and chopped into pieces. But if this is all that's available in your area, then at least it won't go straight into a landfill.
We hope that this article has encouraged you to take steps to reduce your single-use plastic during the Christmas period. You don't have to go all out on all of these tips, but even one or two of them will make a huge difference.