It’s never too late to start thinking about what you can do to be a little more eco-friendly on Christmas. Between the presents, the cooking, and the general madness of the day, there’s a lot of unnecessary waste you can avoid – without compromising on the fun! To make it easy for you, we’re sharing 10 of the things we’ll be trying to have the best green Christmas ever.
Not only will these tips help the planet, but they’ll also help you to save some money at such a costly time of year. Take a look at our top tips to reduce waste on Christmas day, and remember – even if you try just one of these tips, no matter how small it is, you’ll be making a difference.
How to reduce Christmas waste
- Save your wrapping paper!
It’s not new advice, but the amount of wrapping paper we waste every year is truly astronomical. So it’s worth investing in slightly nicer paper that can be reused again and again. It’s also helpful to use paper tape, as it isn’t just more eco-friendly, it’ll also peel off the paper a little easier to keep it in perfect condition. You can then fold it up and save it for your next gifting event – so another tip is to opt for wrapping paper that isn’t too specifically seasonal.
- Only cook what you’ll eat.
Rather than working out how to deal with the leftovers and excess, the best thing you can do to reduce your food waste (and food bill) is simply to not use it in the first place. If you’ve got time, sit down and plan out actual portion sizes (including seconds!). Have you gone a bit overboard with your shopping, or expected a few more guests than you’ve got? Freeze what you can to save for later in the year. And donate canned, packaged, and preserved food to your local food bank.
- Compost your scraps.
If you’ve got leftover raw fruits and veggies that can’t be saved, stick them in your compost. You can even compost egg boxes, newspaper, tea bags, and natural Christmas decorations to keep your garden looking good through the chilly winter months.
4. Use up your leftovers.
If you’re left with plenty of cooked food leftover after the big day, don’t let it go to waste. You might be thinking you couldn’t possibly look at another roast brussels sprout until next year, but it doesn’t have to be Christmas dinner for days. Find new recipes to use up your surplus ingredients in more exciting ways, like sandwiches, soups, and stocks. BBC Good Food have a great selection of Christmas leftover recipes here.
5. Or donate if you’ve had enough of cooking!
If you’ve had enough of the kitchen once Christmas is over, why not donate your leftovers instead? Send your guests off with a goody bag, see if the neighbours are in need, or check with your local food bank to see what they’re taking.
6. Did you get a gift to replace something? Consider what to do with the old one first!
It’s always exciting to get a shiny new thing on Christmas day, especially if you’ve been using an older version for a while. But if you’ve still got an old one hanging around, consider what you can do with it before chucking it in the bin. Is there still a bit of life in it? You could keep using it until you really need the new one, or if it’s good enough, donate it to a charity shop. Could it (or any part of it) be recycled, upcycled, or reused?
7. Get crafty with your cards (and make plans to donate instead next year!)
It’s estimated that 1 BILLION Christmas cards are sold in the UK annually. Of these, many have foils, plastics, and glitters on their covers. While they do look pretty cute, there are plenty of beautiful eco-friendly alternatives available, crafted from recycled papers and even seeds. But if you’ve received cards you can’t recycle this year, save them for a craft project or donate them to someone craftier than you. And next year, arrange with friends and family to donate the money you would’ve spent on cards to a local food bank or charity.
8. Be green with your energy.
You’ll be using lots of energy this Christmas, especially if you’re having guests over. Don’t scrimp on the fun, but remember to turn off what you’re not using – whether that’s lights, the oven, the telly, or any new gadgets.
9. Sort your rubbish.
Christmas can be exhausting, and by the end of the day it can seem a lot easier to just chuck everything in the same bin. But if you can, sort through your rubbish to see what you can compost, recycle, and even reuse. Put glass and cans aside to wash, and save soft plastics to take to your nearest supermarket drop off point.
10. Borrow and swap your holiday party clothes.
If you’ve still got holiday parties to go to between Christmas and New Year, hold off on spending your Christmas money on new clothes. If you haven’t got anything exciting enough in your wardrobe already, borrow and swap clothes with friends and family instead to save money and save wardrobe space for things you’ll wear more than once.
We hope these tips will help you to save waste and save money while still having all the fun you deserve on the big day this year. We’re so happy to see so many of you choosing Fair Trade, sustainable, and eco-friendly options where you can for your celebrations, and hope it’ll be a trend to continue well into 2023. From all of us at Paper High, we hope you have a great Christmas and a fantastic New Year!