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I'm Dreaming of a No-waste Christmas

I'm Dreaming of a no-waste christmas

The Christmas holiday season is a time of joy and celebration but can also be a time of waste and excess. The UK generates approximately 222.2 million tonnes of waste each year, with garbage generated at Christmas increasing by 30% compared to the rest of the year.

Much of this waste comes from Christmas trees, excess food, unwanted gifts, and packaging.

But it doesn't have to be this way! There are many ways we can reduce our holiday waste without sacrificing any of the fun or festivity.

In this article, we are sharing some of our best tips for lowering your Christmas waste footprint.

Replant, Recycle, or Rent Your Christmas Tree

A real Christmas tree is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, but it can also be quite wasteful.

After just one use, most of the 8 million real trees purchased in the UK each year end up in a landfill where they impact the environment and taxpayers dearly.

These trees take up precious space in a landfill and cost taxpayers around £22 million annually. And, when they can't compost naturally, trees release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Christmas tree with presents

One way to reduce this waste is to replant your Christmas tree after you're done with it. Trees can only be replanted if they come with their roots still attached.

These trees can be decorated like any other tree and planted outside after the holidays. Replanting your tree can be a fun activity for the whole family, and it's a great way to give your tree a second life.

If replanting isn't possible or you're short on space, consider recycling your Christmas tree. Recycled wood has a variety of uses, including being chopped into landscaping materials or used to generate energy.

Most local councils arrange special collections in early January. Check with your local council to see if you can put your tree in your recycling container or if you need to drop your tree off at a recycling centre.

You can also shred it and add it to your compost bin or use it in your landscaping.

If you really want to reduce your waste, you can rent a Christmas tree! Rental trees are live container-grown trees delivered to your home for the holiday season. Be prepared to take extra care of your rented tree, however, since you must return it in good condition. Only rent a tree if you can water it regularly and keep it indoors.

Don't Fritter the Feast Away

Christmas dinner

Food waste is a huge problem all year round, but it's widespread during the holidays when we tend to cook more than usual. According to WRAP, the UK throws away 6.6 million tonnes of food annually at the cost of £14 billion.

One way to reduce food waste this holiday season is to plan your meals in advance. Make a list of all the dishes you want to make, and then create a shopping list based on your menu. Planning will help you avoid buying ingredients you don't need and won't use.

When cooking your holiday meal, be mindful of portion sizes. It's easy to overcook when trying to impress our guests, but this often leads to leftovers being thrown away. If you bake too many mince pies or Christmas puddings, consider freezing the extras or sharing them with friends.

And finally, remember the food scraps! Don't throw away food scraps when preparing meals. You can either compost these items yourself or find a local food waste collection service to do it for you. When you compost these scraps, you turn them into organic matter that is perfect for your garden or potted plants and avoid adding harmful methane to the atmosphere. Items like vegetable peels, fruit scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds can be composted.

Give Gifts that Won't End Up in the Garbage

The average UK adult gives around 32 gifts throughout the year, with a large percentage given during the Christmas season. If you're looking to be more sustainable this holiday season, giving gifts that won't end up in the landfill is important.

One excellent option is to give experiences instead of physical gifts. This gift could be anything from tickets to a show or a restaurant gift card. Experiences are more memorable and often don't require any additional packaging or materials.

Grand piano on stage

Another option is to give gifts that are sustainable and eco-friendly. Many brands now offer sustainable alternatives to everyday products. For example, you could give organic cotton socks, a bamboo toothbrush, or a reusable water bottle.

You could also give a gift that helps the environment, such as a tree-planting kit or a donation to an environmental charity. These gifts are not only sustainable, but they're also meaningful and impactful.

Finally, you could make your gifts! Homemade gifts are personal and unique, and your friends and family will appreciate the effort you put into them. If you're crafty, you could make something like a scarf, a mug, or a piece of jewellery. Or, if you're not crafty, you could bake cookies or put together a care package with some of your favourite things.

Pay Attention to Packaging

Packaging materials used for gifts and holiday food can be a huge source of waste. Follow these tips to reduce your impact this holiday season:

  • Pay attention to the packaging materials you're using
  • Avoid excessive packaging
  • Try to use recycled and recyclable materials whenever possible
  • If you received a gift that comes in a lot of packaging, find a way to reuse or recycle it

When you're wrapping gifts, avoid laminated paper and wrap that is made from plastic or aluminium. These materials cannot be recycled and take much longer to decompose. When in doubt, crinkle the paper into a ball. If it stays scrunched, it can be recycled.

Finally, avoid any paper or packaging that contains glitter. You cannot recycle paper and packaging with glitter. And glitter is a microplastic that damages seas, oceans, and marine life.

Christmas with natural wrapping paper

As an alternative to products that can't be recycled, think about using reusable materials like fabric scraps or bows made from recycled paper. You can also use old newspapers or magazines as gift wrap. Be creative, and have fun with your wrapping!

Opt for a Plastic-free Party

Plastic is one of the biggest environmental problems of our time. It's estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year, and this pollution is devastating to marine life.

If you're looking to reduce your impact this holiday season, one of the best things you can do is avoid using single-use plastics. Commit to ditching disposable plates, cups, and utensils. Instead, opt for reusable dishware that can be washed and used again. If you're worried about having enough dishes for all your guests, consider borrowing from friends or family.

Table setting

Another way to reduce your plastic use is to avoid using plastic wrap. This type of packaging is not recyclable and often ends up in landfills. Instead, store your leftovers in glass containers with reusable lids. Or try using beeswax wraps to wrap food and keep it fresh. These wraps are reusable and compostable, making them a much more sustainable option.

Finally, consider purchasing party supplies from retailers that have ditched plastic packaging. Every year, more retailers are removing the plastic from their Christmas crackers and the plastic windows and film from their mince pies. Other retailers have removed plastic toys from their Christmas crackers.

Celebrate Sustainably this Holiday Season

The holidays are a time to celebrate with our friends and family, but they don't have to be a time of excess waste. From choosing a real tree to making your own gifts, there are many ways to be more sustainable this holiday season. So follow these tips, enjoy the holidays, and celebrate responsibly!

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Here at ISM Waste & Recycling, we provide waste management services that helps your business to reduce waste, protect the environment and save you money on your waste management. Please call us on 01706 823001 for more information about getting started.

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