can 2021 be the year of the zero waste christmas?

By Naomi Harris, GLOBUS Correspondent

After the year we had in 2020, it may be unsurprising that many people went for Christmas – which tends to mean the complete opposite of environmentally friendly behaviour. All the wrapping, packaging, food, and money spent can hinder our ability to be sustainable during the festive season. However, there are some changes you can make next year in order to have a zero waste festive season.

Zero Waste Packaging

Being able to reduce your waste footprint is crucial, even if that is just by changing your gifting habits with the type of packaging and wrapping you use. The main thing you can do is avoid plastic, instead favouring more sustainable alternatives such as using paper tape instead of the estimated 40 million rolls of Sellotape we use in the UK every Christmas. Also, we will ”use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year”. In its place why not use reusable wrapping, such as cloth or brown paper. Similarly, reduce your impact by being conscious of the packaging you buy your gifts in. Favour materials like glass or cardboard which are easier recycled than plastic. Simple changes in the packaging and wrapping of your gifts can help elevate the sustainability of you Christmas.

Zero Waste Gifting

Giving gifts to your loved ones this Christmas can be sustainable. Not only can you buy zero waste/reusable gifts, but also some great vintage and second-hand items. Checking for second-hand gifting is a great alternative to buying new unnecessarily, helping stop more waste going to landfill.

Also, why not add that personal touch and create some handmade presents? You could bake some cookies, or create a candleholder out of a mason jar or put together a photo album? These types of gifts may take a little extra effort, but they are more personal and better for the environment. What’s not to love?!

Other examples of zero waste gifting include experience gifts (e.g. cooking classes, or weekends away) and membership subscriptions (e.g. to environmental organisations, like WWF who have tailored gift memberships for all ages).

Some of my favourite sustainable gifting companies:

The Little Leopard Co

The Kentish Soap Co – Multi Box

Peaces of Mine

Authentic House

Amala Curations

Zero Waste Eating

Christmas is a time for food. In 2019, it was estimated that 10 million turkeys were consumed at Christmas, equating to 125,000 tonnes of plastic food packaging being thrown out. If the impact of turkey wasn’t already enough, two thirds of Brits admit that some usually ends up in their bins. The main feature of Christmas – turkeys – are having devastating impacts on our environment and our ability to live sustainably. Considering a UN report in 2007 found that the poultry industry consumes more energy than other sectors of the EU meat industry, and the energy used in processing poultry meat is double that of beef, why not skip the turkey this year? Try a vegetarian, or better yet vegan, Christmas dinner this year as practice for Veganuary. By reducing your meat consumption on just the 25th December, you could help save the planet.

2020 was a year of many changes. We altered our lifestyles in ways we had never imagined we could achieve at the beginning of the year. However, climate change is not stopping, or slowing, unless we do something about it, and reducing your environmental impact this year, even during our next Christmas, is part of that.

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

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