Christmas - "It's the most
wonderful wasteful time of the year" (feel free to sing that bit. In your head. Unless you're alone.)
I've already freaked the bejaysus out of you with my 12 Not so Fun Festive Facts, so to re-dress the balance I'm countering each of those slightly scary stats with a sustainable(ish) solution.
1. 27,000 MILES OF WRAPPING PAPER IS USED EACH YEAR IN THE UK ALONE
'Upcycle' old newspapers, magazines or maps to wrap presents in. Use some re-usable ribbon to pretty them up (ask for it back to use again 😉 ) and then make sure the paper is recycled afterwards.
2. ONLY 1% OF CONSUMER GOODS ARE STILL IN USE 6 MONTHS LATER
Don't by crap people don't need or want.
So that means NO novelty gifts for the office Secret Santa or to irritate your brother with.
3. ONE BILLION CHRISTMAS CARDS END UP IN THE BIN EACH YEAR
Avoid cards with glitter on them, and if you can buy a pack in a cardboard box rather than wrapped in plastic you get double brownie points from Santa.
4. THE AMOUNT OF WRAPPING PAPER USED TO WRAP CHRISTMAS PRESENTS IS ENOUGH TO GO AROUND THE GLOBE NINE TIMES!
Try out 'furoshiki' - it's a Japanese technique of wrapping things in fabric and tying it up cleverly. It looks great, and if you use secondhand fabric from the charity shop you're definitely on the nice list (just make sure it doesn't get thrown away - ask recipients to return it to you if you don't think they'll re-use it!)
There's a great video here from Lisa at Less Stuff.
5. THE EQUIVALENT OF 2 MILLION TURKEYS END UP IN THE BIN EACH YEAR
6. 500 TONNES OF FAIRY LIGHTS ARE THROWN AWAY EACH YEAR
Repair or recycle!
Often it's just one bulb that needs replacing. Or the fuse in the plug.
If you can't fix them yourself, you might be lucky enough to have a Repair Cafe near you where you can take them to see if one of their volunteers can have a go for you.
If you have no luck with the fix, they can be recycled at your local recycling centre.
7. FIVE MILLION CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS HIT THE BIN EACH YEAR
8. ONE IN TEN UNWANTED CHRISTMAS PRESENTS ENDS UP IN LANDFILL
Don't buy people crap they don't need or want. (It bears repeating!)
Gift experiences (days out, cinema tickets,) or even things like babysitting vouchers.
Anything rather than more 'stuff' for the sake of it.
(If you're struggling there's a whole list of ideas for experiences in the Crap-free Christmas course)
9. WHEN CHILDREN HAVE SO MANY PRESENTS THEY ACTUALLY STOP ENJOYING PLAYING WITH THEM
If you have a lot of kids in your family, how about a Secret Santa, so that each kids ends up with one decent present, and everyone has to spend less time and money.
10. WE WASTE AROUND 250,000 TONNES OF FOOD EACH CHRISTMAS
Yes, I know it sounds dull and grown-up. It IS dull and grown-up, but just because it's Christmas doesn't mean we get out of doing dull and grown-up things.
When you know who is going to be where and for what meals, do a quick back of the envelope meal plan and then shop accordingly.
And remember - the freezer is your friend!
11. 81 MILLION UNWANTED PRESENTS ARE RECEIVED EACH YEAR
Don't buy crap people don't need or want (are you sensing a theme here...?)
Make this the year you grab the bull by the horns and have 'that conversation' with family - the one where you suggest you all just buy for the kids (there are 'swipe files' of wording suggestions in the Crap-free Christmas course if the thought of this makes you want to curl up in a ball in the corner!)
If you feel obliged/want to buy a gift for your kids hard-working teacher, why not club together with some of the other parents to get them a voucher for afternoon tea, or even a book token.
12. THE UK GENERATES THE WEIGHT OF 3.3 MILLION EMPEROR PENGUINS IN PLASTIC WASTE EACH CHRISTMAS
Plastic-free(ish) principles still apply at Christmas.
Buy loose fruit and veg.
Look out for cards and paper that aren't encased in plastic.
Avoid overly packaged gift sets.
Buy kids toys secondhand - my kids are quite accepting of the fact that Lego doesn't always come in a box!
Which steps will you choose to embrace this year?
If you love the idea, but you know you're going to find making changes a struggle, check out the Crap-free Christmas course for all the support and resources you need.
JOIN ME NOW FOR A
A two-week course tackling the big issues around Christmas waste in the home: