So far, we’re doing great; people all over the world are taking steps to reduce waste to better our planet. In a bid to keep up the good work, we’ve been looking for tips on how to substitute Christmas waste for something more eco-friendly.
From the roast dinner you eat to the paper you wrap your gifts in, we’ve found tonnes of top tips to reduce waste this Christmas. We’ve narrowed them down to just 5 of our favourites…
Sure, it might be called wrapping paper, but that doesn’t mean you can 100% recycle it. In fact, you’ll find most Christmas wrapping paper can’t be recycled. This is because most of the options sold on the high street have been dyed, laminated, contain glitter or foil, and more.
One of the easiest ways to help the planet at Christmas is by using recyclable paper (such as brown paper) or, better yet, experimenting with other means of wrapping. Consider using fabric in place of paper, tied up with bows which can be used again each year. Go through your attic and dig out all the old boxes you’ve been storing. Newspaper can also look pretty cool – just mind what’s on it. Handing grandma a present wrapped in the Sun’s page 3 might not go down so well.
We understand that lunch is one of the biggest parts of your Christmas day, so we’re not here to suggest you break tradition. Instead, you could consider making small changes to your meal to better the planet. For example, if you know that every year you have leftovers for days, consider buying less food in the first place (you’ll save money, too). If you usually get a huge turkey that never gets eaten, could a turkey crown or a smaller chicken work instead?
And, if you have a large family to cater for, what do you do with the unused foods? Anything that hasn’t been opened can be donated to local food banks. Find your nearest here. You can also help out the neighbourhood with app Olio. The app connects people in need of getting, or getting rid of, food – both cooked and raw. Maybe you’ve over-catered Friendsmas and have loads of potatoes and puddings leftover, upload them to Olio and help someone else out.
There’s nothing wrong with novelty when you know they will enjoy and make use of the gift, but gifts for the sake of gifting can lead to unnecessary waste. If you’re looking for presents that have less of an impact on the planet, try sourcing home-made items from local businesses or gifts that can be used again and again (think plant pots, photo frames, clothes etc.)
Another good way of cutting down on gift waste is by spending less money on loads of small value gifts and spending more money on the main gift. Fewer gifts also means less wrapping – so that’s a second win right there. If the value is the same, nobody loses out.
Disclaimer: We are an enemy of tinsel. In fact, we’re not big on any Christmas decoration that’s been made of plastic. We’re much bigger fans of paper decorations and wooden ornaments that we can dust off every year to use again. These are the kinds of decorations that hold great sentimental value, will be passed down the generations and are generally well-loved and looked after. If this sounds like something you don’t do and want to get on board with, Christmas market stalls and local businesses will be your best bet.
The pièce de résistance, a Christmas tree takes centre place in most households. It’s a common misconception that getting a fake tree is better than a real one. This isn’t necessarily true. Fake, plastic trees take huge amounts of energy to manufacture and they add to the plastic waste issue post-Christmas. If you have a fake tree that you keep and use every year, you’re off the hook!
If real trees are your thing, that’s totally fine. The only thing to consider is ensuring your tree is FSC-certified (just look for the logo). When you see the FSC logo, you can be confident that you’re helping to keep the forests alive for generations to come.
You can give the gift of sustainability this year by helping your friends and family be a little more eco-conscious in their day-to-day lives. TOPMAN’s 2019 Gift Guide boasts eco-friendly treats like KeepCups (so they can enjoy the daily coffee guilt-free, and often at a discount) and the Considered range, our most sustainable range yet, has jeans and basics made from organic cotton and using less water and fewer chemicals than usual.