It has been a hard year for most of us, and I am sure that the challenges which COVID-19 (and Brexit) have brought to us have made keeping to zero waste practices difficult, if not impossible, at times. But if you are still reading this, then your resolve is still there, and it is a step by step process which we are following – so WELL DONE for all the efforts you have made this past year!
There are so many things we can do over the festive season to ensure that we reduce the waste which we produce:
If you are (panic) buying last minute gifts:
- Make memories, not waste
Go for “experiences” (e.g. concert/cinema/theatre tickets, a meal out ….), learning opportunities (e.g. pottery course, sewing lessons, Knitting/Crochet classes…. this sort of gift will keep on giving!) rather than a last minute “obligation” purchase.
- Go Green – encourage plants!
Go for Plants/Seeds/Bulbs/Herbs (dependant on the individual – herbs are especially useful at this time of the year!) One year, everyone got an envelope of seeds to spread at the beginning of spring, in order to encourage bees!
- Make your own
Cakes, dried fruits, jams and chutneys are both useful and thoughtful presents, and cut down on food waste. It also means you can upcycle jars and/or other packaging!!
- Shop Local (as always!)
If you are planning food shopping for the festive season:
- Plan your meals before you go food shopping
Writing a list makes sure you don’t go OTT when in the store (no panic buying!) and therefore saves you money and prevents food waste. Remember the shops are only closed for 24 hours – no one is going to starve!
Wrapping and unwrapping
- Wrap smart
Repurpose newspapers / magazines – even Who Gives A Crap toilet paper wrappers! – or Furoshiki (Cloth-Wrapping).
- Keep wrapping paper, on gifts received, for future use
If you unwrap carefully, and fold wrapping paper neatly, it can be used again in the future – either as wrapping paper or other purposes.
- Christmas Trees
If you are unable to replant in a garden/forest, then ‘Real’ Christmas trees can be recycled and turned into chippings for parks/ your own garden. Some local councils have special collections or organise drop-off points. Otherwise they can be taken to your household waste recycling centre. There are also schemes which allow you to rent a Christmas tree and return it at the end of the festive season!
- Seasonal Greetings Cards
If you cannot reuse yourself, most cards are paper based and can be recycled, along with their envelopes, either in your home recycling collection, at local recycling points such as household waste recycling centres or at collection points in supermarket car parks etc.
- Cardboard, Batteries and other “usual culprits”
You can recycle these in the usual way, either in your home recycling collection, at local recycling points such as household waste recycling centres or at collection points in supermarket car parks etc.