Christmas is coming and it’s a time for festivities and joyous moments. It is all about getting together with family and friends to celebrate the good times, and, of course, the presents! Unfortunately, Christmas is also a time of waste. In the UK, over 277000 miles of wrapping paper are thrown away and in Australia, $400 million is spent on unwanted presents where many of them are simply thrown away. You can probably also imagine the amount of food waste from all the holiday feasting.
What do all these wastes mean? It means that they will be transported to landfills to decompose, producing greenhouse gas in the process. Unrecyclables (especially certain types of wrapping paper, wreaths and more) will be incinerated, producing even more gas. This puts a lot strain to the global environmental crisis as the wastes generated during the festivities will be massive!
This throwaway culture is a huge problem everywhere and we need to do our part to reduce the amount of waste for the environment. It’s time to go zero-waste this festive season!
Now, going zero waste does not mean that you have stop gift-giving and feasting! It simply means that you have to be mindful with the things around you. Here are some things you can do.
The First Step is to Make Just Enough.
When cooking, try to make the exact amount of food for your guests. If there are leftovers, encourage your guests to bring them back or save them and cook something new! If that is not possible, you can always donate your food to those who need it.
Do not Give for the Sake of Giving
Usually when people cannot think of anything to give to someone, they buy novelty gifts for them. These gifts are largely impractical and get thrown away after the festivities are done. An easy solution to this is to simply not to give for the sake of giving. Let everyone know what exactly you want for Christmas or that you do not want a gift at all. It may take a mindset change, but this is a simple solution to reduce unnecessary gift giving and ultimately reducing the amount of waste.
Give Experiences Instead
On the topic of gift-giving, people appreciate more experiences that the actual gift itself. Sure, receiving a present is fun and exciting but it just does not replace the times spent together as family and friends. Buy someone a holiday trip or get them a subscription for an video streaming service. Gifts are expendable but those moments together cannot be replaced.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Don’t forget your 3Rs. Reduce the amount of wrapping and packaging for your gifts. Reuse whatever you can, like decorations and fake Christmas trees. Use recyclable materials so that they don’t end up on the landfill or being burned away. Get Creative with the old materials and create something new with them.
Christmas does not have to be wasteful and damaging to the environment! In fact, it can be heartwarming and fun as usual, just without the trash. All you have to do is to be mindful with what you are doing!