Christmas is a period of excess, and also a time when many of us value convenience. It is no surprise then that plastic features heavily in the average festive household. A public poll from last year concluded that Brits bin more than 100 million bin bags full of plastic packaging from gifts and toys at Christmas. Is this year the year that we take notice? Here are 10 top tips on how to go plastic-free, or reduce the amount of plastic used, at Christmas.
1. Shop local and in-season for your grocery shopping
It may take more time than one trip to the supermarket but it is likely to be a far more enjoyable experience popping into the local farm shop and bakery to stock up on low-carbon, plastic-free produce
2. Avoid metallic wrapping paper and plastic ribbons
Instead, choose eco-friendly gift boxes, recycled wrapping paper, or reuse newspapers and magazines. For your family, why not invest in Wrag Wrap? Produced from waste plastic, they are beautiful reusable fabric wraps inspired by the Japanese art of Furoshiki and are available in a range of shapes and sizes.3. Switch out disposable plastic straws for reusable stainless steel straws.
Not only will you be helping to protect the environment, you’ll save a lot of money over the years with reusable metal straws. You can even buy fold away reusable straws to take with you to your favourite coffee shop.4. Choose a real Christmas tree
Plastic Christmas trees can be convenient, but we often end up throwing them out after a few years. When your current plastic tree reaches the end of its life, consider switching to a real Christmas tree which can biodegrade after use
To take things a step further, a living Christmas tree is a much better option. This is a small Christmas tree that you can keep in the garden all year round!5. Collect objects from the natural world for the rest of your decorations
Sprigs of holly and other green foliage combined with pine cones and oranges, make for a festive and fragrant method of adornment. Oven dried orange slices are a natural way to fragrance your home at Christmas.6. Wrap leftover food in reusable Bees Wrap rather than cling film
Made from organic cotton, beeswax and jojoba oil, beeswax wraps are reusable, washable, and if you don’t have a use for them anymore, compostable.7. Boycott plastic gifts
If you’re not buying toys for children, consider an eco-friendly gift for your loved ones this Christmas
Here at The Ethical Gift Box we have a whole range of eco-friendly stocking fillers including recycled pens and pencils, sustainable note pads, as well as some wonderful home and garden gifts which creatively reuse plastic waste..8. Cook more dishes from scratch to avoid plastic food packaging
Cooking from scratch allows you to purchase exactly what you need, saving on resources, but also means that you can avoid unnecessary packaging by buying loose fruit and vegetables. Many supermarkets now offer reusable produce bags in their fruit and vegetable isles for a small charge.
But not to worry if you don’t have time to cook everything yourself as plastic-free options and fully recyclable packaging are becoming more and more common in the supermarket.9. If you are having a party, loan your glassware and plates rather than buying disposable ones
We understand that you might not want to use your fancy glassware for a party, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy plastic disposable cups. Many drinks companies now offer a glassware hire service, often for free, including Majestic Wines.10. Consider switching to eco-friendly makeup and beauty products
There is a growing market in the UK for eco-friendly beauty products, from fully recyclable packaging, to completely packaging free options, as well as a growing number of vegan and cruelty free formulas.
Lush offers a wide range of plastic and packaging-free products such as makeup, shampoo bars and even toothpaste tablets, whilst other brands are beginning to use wooden or recycled containers for their beauty products, which are often refillable.
Involving kids in a plastic-free Christmas is a great way to entertain them and spread the load. Let them help out with making things and decorating the house.
Do you have more plastic-free Christmas tips? Send us your ideas on twitter or facebook.