8 Lazy Ways To Ditch Plastic This Christmas

You've already got enough on your plate at Christmas (metaphorically and physically!) without having to think about cutting down on waste. So we've made a list of 8 low-effort things you can try if you still want to give the planet a little gift this Christmas.
  1. Buy eco-friendly cards

Last year the UK public bought nearly 1 billion Christmas cards. That’s an awful lot of cardboard, not to mention all of the plastic everything comes wrapped in. If you want to do your bit to reduce this waste, you’ve got several options. Firstly, you could choose to send e-cards. If you’re feeling particularly artistic, try making your own cards, perhaps using the ones you got sent last year (this is something overexcited children will love to get involved with!). Alternatively, if you’re too pressed for time, simply check back of the pack to make sure the cards you’re buying are made from recycled materials. 

  1. Opt for wooden gifts

Wooden gifts and toys have the benefit of being made from a renewable resource, yet they’re just as durable as plastic versions. At this time of year there are craft markets aplenty where you’re sure to come across some beautiful presents for kids of all ages. And by buying a wooden gift, you can wave goodbye to those singing battery-powered toys that drive parents up the wall!

  1. Ditch the glitzy wrapping paper

Sadly, all that lovely sparkly wrapping paper covered in glitter, foil and plastic can’t be recycled, which means it has to be landfilled. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a scrooge! Instead, wrap your gifts in brown paper tied up with string for a rustic feel or, if you’re a real eco keen bean, try making your own wrapping. If that sounds like too much effort, just make sure the paper you buy hasn’t got anything sparkly on it and passes the scrunch test (if it stays scrunched, it’s plastic-free and can go in the recycling).

  1. Avoid plastic trees

Fans of that lovely Christmas tree smell will be chuffed to hear that real trees are more eco-friendly than plastic ones. For the gold standard, opt for a tree that’s been responsibly grown by a member of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association and that comes in a pot with its roots still attached, as this means it can be planted and reused. If you’re not going to reuse your real tree, make sure to dispose of it in garden waste so that it can be turned into mulch or animal bedding for all those Christmas donkeys.

Of course, if you’ve already got a fake tree then keep it going for as long as possible before getting rid of it. And if a real tree isn’t an option for you, try searching for a second-hand plastic one on websites like Freecycle.

  1. Deck the halls…

… but not with tinsel because it’s made from plastic. Instead of tinsel, get creative with the kids: paper chains, DIY bunting, and decorations rustled up from old plastic bottles. Alternatively, head out on a winter walk to collect pine cones and holly for a free way of giving your home a natural Christmas makeover.

  1. Shop local

You’re probably going to be doing a dedicated food shopping trip at some point, so why not make a small diversion to your local farm shop, greengrocers or market? Not only will you be supporting a small local business, you’ll also be able to stock up on sprouts and spuds without having to buy them all in plastic multi-packs. Go one step further by bringing your own reusable produce bags to carry your veg. And on the subject of food shopping…

  1. Find a milkman

Switching to reusable glass milk bottles is such an easy way of reducing plastic waste. Not only is it wonderfully nostalgic to open the front door in the morning and find your milk waiting for you, it’s also one less thing to lug back from the shops – particularly welcome around Christmas when you’re already buying more than usual. On top of all that, milk ordering has now moved online so you can easily make changes to your order at any time.

  1. Store your food leftovers plastic-free

A gaggle of extra visitors, coupled with general Christmas overindulgence, can leave you with plenty of food leftovers. So what are the waste-free storage options? Most of us already have Tupperware boxes and old jam jars lying around that we can shove those extra bits of turkey into. But you can also ditch cling film, sandwich bags and freezer bags in favour of reusable products like beeswax wraps and paper sandwich bags. And don’t forget, any food waste that’s really not going to get eaten (unlikely, we know) can be composted to avoid it going to landfill.

So how's that for starters? The next challenge is to carry all of these good eco habits into the New Year...