A Very Eco Christmas

The holidays are almost upon us and while Christmas and other winter celebrations can bring joy and laughter, they can also be incredibly wasteful. Did you know that each year in the UK Brits bin around 108 million rolls of wrapping paper?

We’ve all woken up to the dangers of plastic in our environment (for tips on how to cut your everyday plastic usage check out this blog) but Christmas has much more than just plastic pollution to deal with. Left-over food, unwanted presents and unrecyclable packaging all add up to a mountain of waste created for a few days of fun.

Now here at Kent Wildlife Trust, we’re not Grinches. Christmas is a great time of the year, it’s my favourite holiday! However, there are plenty of ways you can make your Christmas eco-friendly without breaking the bank. Here are a few ideas to help you through the holidays.

 

Make natural decorations

Okay, so not all of us have time to do this, but if you feel like getting crafty with a mulled wine, or need something to amuse the children when they are off school, why don’t you try creating your own decorations?

Slice some oranges, dry them in the oven and string them together for a lovely smelling tinsel replacement, or make some dough from glue and corn flour and stamp into festive shapes to hang on your tree. Here at Tyland Barn, we tried to make our tree completely plastic-free this year!

Hang on to your wrapping paper and old cards!

Wrapping paper can be reused next year if you unwrap neatly (I’ve been doing this for years), and by cutting the picture part off the cards you received, you can make lovely gifts tags for free!

If your wrapping paper isn’t nice enough to keep, check with your local authority to see if they can recycle it. So long as it isn’t plastic coated/has glitter on it you should be able to recycle it as normal paper.

Re-gift, reuse, and recycle

Don’t like that jumper your great uncle bought you? Leave the tag on and gift it on during the year to someone else, or donate it to a charity shop.

Got a lot of empty bottles to sort on Boxing Day? Choose the pretty ones to use as decorations around the house. I like to use them as vases for single flowers. The rest can be recycled or given to that one cousin who is really into home brewing at the moment.

Recycle what you can. Don’t forget that trees can be composted, bottles can be recycled (plastic and glass), and batteries can be taken to many larger supermarkets for recycling.

Avoid glitter!

Okay, it’s the season for glitter and we all like to sparkle once in a while, but glitter is nothing but micro plastics waiting to pollute our environment. If you can’t bear to ditch it altogether, try an eco-glitter company so you can shine without the shame.

Don’t feel too guilty - just keep trying and learning

We all create waste during the holidays. Don’t get too stressed out about it, after all, we are supposed to be having fun! Simply think about how you can improve and endeavour to do better next year.

 

No matter what you are celebrating this year we hope you do it as eco-friendly as possible. After all, what better gift could you give than the knowledge that you are protecting the environment for generations to come?

 

Zoë Stevenson is the Guardians of the Deep project officer for South Kent. She loves the marine environment and frequently reminds family members that they don’t need to wrap her presents at all. For more information on how you can get involved in protecting the marine environment, visit the website, or follow Guardians of the Deep on Facebook.