Have Yourself a Sustainable Little Christmas!

23 December, 2019

Hey, Tamma here, just wishing you a very sustainable little Christmas!

I thought it might be quite nice and considerate to make a gift that I could share with everyone, whether a homeowner, business owner or just someone reading my blog out of pure curiosity. That gift is knowledge!

I’m going to share with you some easy things you can do at home and at the office to make this Christmas more sustainable than the last.

Things at home

The home is where the heart it, but it’s also where most waste is generated at Christmas time. Here are my tips:

  • Reduce your wrapping paper consumption. Every year an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away in the UK. That’s enough to circle the globe not once, but NINE times!
  • As well as reducing your wrapping, try switching to classic brown wrapping paper. All of these colourful, fancy, glossy, shiny, metallic, and even glittery wrapping papers are often non-recyclable, which is such a shame.
  • Do the recipients of your gifts really need more ‘stuff’? Why not give people memories and experiences this year? Make a ‘Meal for two’ token or a ‘trip to the cinema’ card. What about gifting an Escape Room experience, or afternoon tea?
  • If you’ve got a lot of family and friends coming to your place for Christmas, you’re probably worrying that you don’t have enough plates and cutlery to hold all of the delicious food you’re making. Well, instead of buying disposables, ask people to bring plates, cutlery, and washable serviettes, plus anything else you might need – it’s the least they can do!
  • Keep all of your Christmas cards. You know how it goes, they sit on shelves for a few weeks, get thrown in a drawer, and a few months later get chucked away. Well, how about this year you cut them up into tags, or you cut them in half and use them as mini cards for next year.
  • A potted tree doesn’t have to die for your decorations and it can be planted after Christmas, so bear this in mind. If you did buy a cut tree, don’t let it go to waste, it’s perfect for firewood!
  • If you have surplus food after your Christmas dinner, eat it in the days to come, don’t just throw it away. If you still have food leftover, see if it’s fit for your pets or as bird food (stuffing and fruit cake would make some birds pretty happy!).
  • If you’re going to get a wreath, try to get a real one that is adhesive-free so that it can be recycled as organic waste after Christmas.

Things at the office

You can start any one of a number of great sustainable traditions in your office or workplace, you just need to be bold enough to suggest it and lead its implementation.

  • If your office is doing a Secret Santa initiative, or gifts are going around the office in some way or another, here’s the trick to knowing if the wrapping paper is recyclable: it scrunches into a ball. If the wrapping paper doesn’t stay scrunched up like a ball, it’s most likely not recyclable.
  • Gift bags are better for the environment than wrapping paper, bare that in mind when gifting to an adult. It’s usually children who benefit most from the enjoyment of wildly tearing through the wrapping paper.
  • Most cardboard boxes can be recycled. The boxes of things you buy from Amazon, the little box of perfume you received, and the shoeboxes used for Christmas decorations or props. They are all fine to be recycled and should be set aside for collection.
  • Glittery Christmas cards might look like the bee’s knees, but they’re terrible for the environment and not a sustainable choice at all. Try to avoid them if you can. In fact, try to encourage your office to become a glitter-free zone.
  • What goes up, must come down, so when you’re packing up the tinsel and baubles after Christmas, be gentle with them, because they can’t be recycled.

Good sustainable Christmas practice

Here are a few more food tips that I recommend to you…

  • Remember to remove sellotape from any boxes or envelopes that come into your premises and are placed aside for recycling. Sellotape can affect the recyclability of your waste and might cause a problem further down the line.
  • Shop locally instead of ordering online, in order to support your local economy, minimise cardboard packaging, and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • If you unwrap something and you don’t want it or think you’ll ever use it, why not give it to someone else? Even better, give it to charity, your unwanted gift could bring unknown joy to someone less fortunate this Christmas.
  • Try to reuse as many of your decorations as possible, making sure to take good care of them and store them in a safe place, ready for next year!
  • The weather outside is frightful, and recycling is so delightful, so find a dry place for your recycling waste to go, and keep it out of the snow (and the rain and so and so). Really, your recyclables are only useful if they’re dry, so don’t let the elements undo all of your good work! The same goes for freezing and thawing, which can damage your recyclable waste and allow it to become contaminated.

That’s all from me!

Wrap up warm, enjoy any time off work you may have, cherish every moment with your friends and family, and remember that this special time comes around just once a year.

I ask you kindly to consider making Christmas 2020 just a little bit more sustainable than 2019, with a view to making 2021 even more sustainable. Merry Christmas!

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