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Let's Minimise Waste

and protect the planet this Christmas

Ten Easy Ways To Have a Waste-Free Christmas

Christmas is hectic enough without having to deal with wrapping-paper guilt or praying that the rubbish collectors will accept your overstuffed wheelie bin. This year it’s time to set some new Christmas traditions! Follow our guide to clear your Christmas conscience, by making some small changes that will help you minimise waste this festive season.

1. Make sure your Christmas dinner left-overs find a deserving home

There are only so many turkey sandwiches a person can take! I’d recommend using food-sharing apps such as Olio to share those spare mince pies with members of your local community, and prevent any edible food ending up in the bin.

2. Avoid single-use food wrap

Have you ever spent twenty frustrated minutes desperately trying to rip off the perfect piece of cling-film? Well, good news: you can now use environmentally-friendly alternatives such as beeswax food wrap, empty glass jars, or that tupperware box which has been lurking in the back of your cupboard.

3. Start a Secret Santa Gifting Chain

If you have a multi-branched friendship group or an always-growing extended family then you’ll understand how time-consuming and expensive Christmas gift shopping can be. What’s more, your friends and relatives probably feel exactly the same!

Why not organise a Secret Santa gifting chain so that each person only has to buy for one other person in the group? Everyone will get a great present, instead of lots of bits that might end up in land-fill. Trust us, everyone will thank you for it when the December chaos strikes.

4. Invest in decorations which will last

Throwing away tinsel and broken baubles every January is extremely wasteful. When you next purchase a decorative item for your home, I’d recommend choosing choose something which you can use for years to come: such as some recycled cloth bunting, or a set of beautiful ceramic tree ornaments.

5. Hunt for vintage treasures

Grab a friend and challenge yourselves to find some gems in your local second hand stores, vintages markets, or charity shops. You’re likely to find a bargain, and you won’t need to worry about buying the same gift as someone else. Charity shops are great places to find nearly-new homeware, children’s toys and books, whereas vintage markets are perfect places to find quirky jewelry and jumpers for that hard-to-please teenager.

6. Stop. Think. Don’t Buy ‘Stuff’.

A gift doesn’t have to be something you can put in a stocking! Have you thought about alternative gifts such as wine-tasting evenings, cinema tickets, a promised picnic in the park, or a bicycle repair workshop? These gifts will bring joy (and perhaps new skills), long after most presents break or get shoved in the back of a wardrobe. Check out Buyagift for a range of great green options.

7. Embrace ‘thing’ sharing platforms and libraries

If you need a supersize roasting tray or an extra set of wine glasses for a party, don’t feel pressured into buying new things you’ll probably never use again. Check out local community sharing banks such as the Library of Things or Tool Libraries to find low-cost renting options on a huge variety of items. Or, purchase second hand items on Gumtree for your event, before selling them back to somebody else when you’re finished with them.

8. Realise that crackers are... crackers

Did you know that Brits will pull over 154 million crackers this festive period? That’s 154 million cardboard shells, unflattering paper hats, and novelty plastic toys which get put straight in the bin. At over £10 for even the cheapest boxes, crackers really are an outdated tradition which we all need to move on from. You can still tell jokes and pass around (non-disposable) hats for your guests! Or if you really can’t let them go, source recycled or reusable versions.

9. Gift a constant stream of new toys, guilt-free

Anyone with young children will know that a new toy’s novelty quickly wears off, leaving playrooms and bedrooms littered with half-completed Lego sets and barely-read picture books. If you are looking for a sustainable gift for a little person, subscribing them to a toy rental service (such as whirli) makes a great deal of sense. They’ll get a box of toys delivered straight to their house, and when they get bored then mum and dad simply send it back and wait for the new box to arrive.

10. Give unwanted gifts a second lease of life

Just received your 25th candle or 19th scented body lotion this year? If you can’t face re-gifting it to your second cousin then why not put it up on a site like freecycle so that it can find a loving home? Other options include donating it to a charity shop, a charity which distributes gifts to the needy, or a charity tombola. Remember the saying: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.