As well as being fun, the holiday season can be a wasteful time. This year I have been doing a lot of resource in to how my actions can be altered in order to preserve the planet a little more. Welcome to my ‘Go Eco for Advent’ Plan!
- Give experiences as gifts.
This can be a really creative and fun thing to do in addition to being environmentally friendly. Check out ‘7 Creative Gifts for the People Who Have Everything’.
- Order xmas dinner locally and support local shops.
Many local farms and farm shops are doing great deals so keep your eyes peeled! When purchasing your food don’t forget your reusable bags & avoid using the smaller bags for fresh fruit & vegetables, it isn’t really necessary.
- Decorate your house with natural decorations.
You could make decorations from fir cones and holly which can be composted after the festive period. Or use an indoor conifer (Like a Norfolk Island Pine) as your tree. It lives in a pot all year round & can be reused year after year.
- Xmas cards – Do you need to send them?
In this digital age I don’t feel the need to send physical cards but if you do then consider cards that use recycled paper & make sure you recycle any you receive yourself. Could you send an e-card instead?
- Palm oil is a heavily debated topic at the moment but DID YOU KNOW? The WWF have a certification of sustainable palm oil plantations. All products supplied by these plantations display a logo – if you check for this logo you can buy products containing palm oil with a free conscience, knowing that all the little orangutans are being conserved <3 If you want to know more check out the WWF’s facts on palm oil on their website.
- It is party season! This year look on re-sale sites and apps for those last minute outfits / accessories. Have a full wardrobe yourself and want a bit of extra cash? Sell your accessories too so that they can have a second life in a lovely new home. Everyone is a winner.
I have personally got on very well with Vinted app but it is definitely worthwhile taking the time to take beautiful photos of your clothes so it makes them more appealing to their new home.
- If you’re anything like me you will still have several gifts outstanding to buy for your loved ones this Christmas. Stuck for ideas? Search fair trade gifts. You can find almost anything whilst feeling great about it knowing you have contributed to sustainability.
- Use less energy. Many of us are already heading this route but if you haven’t already, start replacing bulbs in your house with LEDs, make sure lights & appliances are turned off when not in use. Don’t leave water running unnecessarily. Do you need to re-boil that kettle again? Tiny choices can contribute to big changes if we’re all in!
- Who gives a cr*p? So, this one I was a little sceptical about. But. Recently I ordered a sample pack from ‘Who gives a crap’ for just the postage cost of £3. They make 100% recycled paper products – toilet roll, kitchen roll, tissues etc and I have to say, I am converted! They are super soft and better for the environment, so this will definitely be a change I am keeping from now on.
- Reuse / recycle the boxes you receive parcels in! This time of year cardboard boxes are in abundance. Anything and everything you order online seems to arrive in a huge cardboard box. What can you reuse these for? At the very least make sure they go in a recycle bin and not to landfill.
- Present wrapping this weekend? Experiment with using brown paper for wrapping so it can be easily recycled. You could even have some fun drawing on your own designs to make them each unique. Instead of bows try holly or rosemary tied up with brown string.
- Still wrapping? Try wrapping in newspaper for gifts that stand out under the tree.
- More wrapping? Check out this Japanese tradition of Furoshiki – using fabric to wrap presents in instead of paper. You could even wrap them in tea towels or similar items that can be useful to the recipient long after Christmas is over.
- Paper towel alternatives – try to minimise your kitchen roll usage over xmas. It is too easy to have a little spill and use several sheets of tissue to clean it up. Instead, try cutting old tshirts in to suitable sized squares to become cloths. Remember to put them somewhere accessible so they are as easy to grab as single use paper roll.
- Say no to plastic straws!
For those of you hosting festivities – it is almost time!! Leave out the straws from your drinks this year or if a straw for you is a must, check out steel straws! A slightly higher investment in the first instance but reusable over and over and better for the environment.
- There is always extra cleaning and tidying over xmas both before your guests come and cleaning up after the festivities. Try switching to eco cleaning products that are non-toxic when they go down the sink – every little helps.
- Re-use large sheets of wrapping paper your presents are wrapped in.
Remember to keep the wrapping paper aside from large gifts once they are unwrapped, ready to cut down for the following year. Each Christmas once the presents are opened I collect all intact bows and large sheets of paper ready to be used by the family for smaller gifts the following year. Very often the paper is in pristine condition and simply cutting off the tape from the edges can allow it to look good as new.
- Tea bags. If your family is anything like mine then you’ll get through a fair volume of tea bags. Did you know that tea bags contain plastic? PG Tips have recently launched fully biodegradable tea bags in some products in their range but the majority of other tea bags contain a plastic in the adhesive to seal the teabags.
- Collect your tetra pack cartons.
When you have a full bag take them to your local recycling centre – they cannot be recycled from collections.
- Consider changing your energy supplier to 100% renewables. It is easy to do and need not cost more than from standard suppliers.
- Savings & Investments
If you are investing in stocks and shares consider a trust fund that is disinvesting from fossil fuels. There are ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ funds with competitive returns.
- Glass jars
When you finish up products over Christmas hold on to them for use as storage containers replacing the need to purchase any plastic ones.
After Christmas there are bound to be sales. It is very tempting to go out and buy excessive amounts of new possessions that we simply don’t need. Try to resist. Every cosmetic, item of clothing, household trinket etc are sooner or later going to end up in land fill.
- All year long. Christmas comes and goes but make conscious choices to live more sustainably all year long. I am planning to start a new eco adventure in the New Year.
Do you have any ideas you think should be added to this list or any comments? I would love to hear them.
Write to me in the comments below.