Maya recently graduated from university and as a young person, found eco friendly product alternatives unaffordable so decided to start Sustainer Container. Her business collates eco friendly products into boxes which are available for less than it would cost you to buy the products individually, with her aim being to make sustainable living more accessible. In this post, Maya tells us about her eco friendly Christmas tips for Christmas 2020.
After 2020 being a difficult year, many of us are looking forward to Christmas this year more than ever. I am definitely beginning to feel festive already and have started watching Christmas films and made a start with my Christmas shopping. But with a Christmas like no other, it is understandable that with so much going on, the environment can take a bit of a back seat. Plus, in these difficult times it is easy to choose convenience over the environment and this is something I’m sure we have all been guilty of at some point during the current pandemic - which is completely understandable.
But Christmas is the most wasteful time of year with 30% more waste being produced at Christmas time in the UK! So now is the perfect time to return to environmentalism and get ahead on those eco conscious new years resolutions. At such a difficult time, it is important to remember that every small action you take to benefit the environment counts, it’s not about being perfect but simply doing your best. Here is a round up of my top eco friendly Christmas tips for Christmas 2020.
Eco friendly Christmas tips for Christmas 2020:
- Shopping locally and supporting small businesses
- Eco friendly gifting
- Revamping your wrapping
- Reducing waste with your festive food shop
- Simple sustainable home swaps
Eco Friendly Christmas Tip 1 - Shopping Locally and Supporting Small Businesses
Whilst I am aware that much of the UK is currently under lockdown, for me in Scotland, we are still able to visit our local highstreet. If restrictions in your area allow, visit your local highstreet for your Christmas shopping. As well as benefiting your local community, purchasing locally produced products can also benefit the environment as the items you are purchasing have not travelled hundreds of miles, unlike when shopping with chain shops. Plus, small businesses can also be more environmentally conscious and have a wider range of eco friendly gift and product options for you to choose from. Why not make a day of it and visit a local cafe for lunch or a cuppa whilst you are out or grab a takeaway coffee (remember your keep cup and your reusable bags).
If current restrictions mean you cannot visit your local highstreet, don’t worry, you can still shop with small businesses online. The Coronavirus pandemic has inspired lots of local and small business markets to head online, so have a look at these markets if you are unsure where to find small businesses. Otherwise, take a look through a local online directory of small businesses in your area. At such a difficult time, small businesses need your support more than ever and shopping with small businesses you can find unique gifts, perfect for loved ones that can be difficult to buy for. Ordering from small businesses online also means you can have the gift sent directly to your loved one, taking away some of the stress in case it is not possible to see loved ones in person this Christmas.
Top tip: When ordering items online, investigate how your order will be packaged and try to shop from businesses that use recyclable, rather than single use plastic packaging.
Eco Friendly Christmas Tip 2 - Eco Friendly Gifting
As well as shopping with small businesses, my second eco friendly Christmas tip is to consider purchasing environmentally friendly Christmas gifts this year. In the UK, 60 million Christmas gifts are wasted every festive season. I know how difficult it can be to find a gift for that person that already has everything, so why not get practical gifts this year, to ensure that your gift doesn’t go to waste. At Sustainer Container, we have a range of eco friendly gift boxes such as this Everything Eco Gift Box, which contains practical items such as sustainable stationery, home products and toiletries. Alternatively, if you prefer to send a voucher, try to purchase a voucher for a local business so your loved one can treat themselves to a meal, spa treatment, experience or choose their own gift.
Eco Friendly Christmas Tip 3 - Revamping Your Wrapping
Now you have bought your eco friendly Christmas gift from a small business, eco friendly Christmas tip 3 is all about revamping how you wrap your Christmas presents. Did you know 5 million tonnes of wrapping paper go to landfill each year? But, I know that unwrapping gifts is a lovely Christmas tradition that can be difficult to abandon. Instead of abandoning your Christmas wrapping all together, consider using recyclable gift wrapping. Wrag Wrap’s reusable wrapping paper can be used over and over again, reducing waste and also saving you money in the long run. Not only does the paper reduce the waste produced by using single use wrapping paper, each sheet is also made from 12 waste plastic bottles. The reusable wrapping paper is double sided, with a festive print on one side and a more neutral print on the back - for use year round. The paper can be folded to wrap small gifts and comes with ribbon to secure the parcel instead of plastic tape and also comes with a reusable matching message card pouch, where you can insert a personalised “Merry Christmas” message.
Eco Friendly Christmas Tip 6 - Reducing Waste With Your Festive Food Shop
Food is a huge part of the festive season and it can be easy to be tempted by all the delicious festive foods and purchase more than you need, creating increased food waste. For example, 5 million Christmas puddings go to waste in the UK each year. Having an abundance of food is an essential part of Christmas and the run up to the festive season. But, to prevent food waste try making a list (and try not to be tempted by things not on the list) before going shopping and factor in eating up leftovers into your meal plan. A great way to reduce food waste is to use up sad looking vegetables by making a warming winter stew. If you have leftover veggies and already have your meals planned, make up a stew and freeze for an easy and healthy meal another day.
Your festive food shop can also create waste if you are buying items packaged in single use plastic packaging. For a plastic free shop, visit a local refillery to shop for items such as pasta and rice which can be difficult to find plastic free at your local supermarket. Dried items such as rice are stored in large containers, simply bring your own tub to put your rice in and pay based on the weight of your purchase. You can also find loose fruit and veg and so much more, so it is well worth mixing up your grocery shopping to try a refillery.
Eco Friendly Christmas Tip 5 - Simple Sustainable Home Swaps
To get ahead on your environmental new years resolutions, eco friendly Christmas tip 5 is to start making some simple sustainable home swaps. With all of the handwashing we are doing this year, festive soap is going to be a Christmas essential. But instead of a plastic packaged bottle of soap, swap to a festive scented soap bar with recyclable packaging. Swapping from bottle to bars of soap is a really easy way to reduce the plastic waste you are producing.
At Christmas time, there is nothing better than snuggling up to watch a Christmas film with a mug of hot chocolate and a festive candle burning. But did you know that scented candles can produce harmful toxins? Instead, soy wax candles are made from natural ingredients and can be burnt without producing the toxins which can be harmful to both you and the environment. Our Plastic Free Christmas Kit contains everything you need to go plastic free this Christmas and into 2021. The Kit includes a soy wax Christmassy candle and soap bar as well as a seed paper Christmas card, Wrag Wrap reusable wrapping paper and bamboo straws for your festive cocktails, all packaged in a reusable gift box.