10 simple steps towards a zero waste Christmas.

Zero Waste Christmas is probably not achievable but hey its about the journey not the destination!  Whatever you can do towards that goal is a massive help!

#1  Choose gifts with less packaging


Use your buying power to make a stance against packaging. This goes goes a long way to creating a more sustainable future. There are plenty of brands who have embraced this so why not support them?
I am always on the look out for more suggestions so why not share your unpackaged gift ideas in the comments below.
For more tips toward zero waste Christmas you can read part one of my Christmas Blogs here:
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

#2 Turn your Journey home for Christmas into a Carbon Free Adventure


In 2015 explorer and endurance athlete Laura Kennington paddled home for Christmas.  She kayaked along the Thames, a great way to travel with less carbon emissions and hence less waste!

Why not think up your own carbon free journey? Cycle home for Christmas? Take public transport? Car pooling can also turn into a mini adventure. By sharing a ride, it has a positive impact on reducing your carbon footprint. #PaddleHomeForChristmas
Calculate your carbon footprint here
Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

#3  Food


Try Local and seasonal

Much of our supermarket food is flown or shipped half way across the world these days. Thereby causing a huge carbon footprint which leads to to global warming.
Buying your food in local shops and farmers markets not only reduces the field to fork journey. It also supports local independent businesses and entrepreneurs. Many local shops and farmers markets also come with less packaging, bonus!  Find out more about zero waste shopping in the Harriets of Hove interview.  Harriet had a dream about opening a zero waste shop then made it a reality!
Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash
plastic free shopping

Shop Wise

If you do need to head to a supermarket take a reuse container with you for deli items. Get your fruit and veg loose where you can (some supermarkets are better than others of course). Greenpeace recently published a report summarised in the info graph below.

Reduce waste

Separate compostables where you can and recycle what you can. Also:
Check out these top five tips by Love Food Hate Waste to help you make the most of the festive fare in your kitchen.
Sign up for the food share app Olio and see if there is someone in your community who can use your left over food.

#4 Get Creative with Wrapping

Did you know not all wrapping paper is recyclable? Any sparkly wrap is generally not recycled. To find out what is, you should check your Local Authority recycling or check on the www.recyclenow.gov site.
In those circumstances, the whole batch of recycling is likely to end up in landfill.  Even so, remember that recycling is quite far down the waste pyramid so keep and reuse where possible to create that truely zero waste Christmas.

Think outside the box. These all make great alternatives:

  • old magazines / newspaper
  • old bits of fabric 
  • maps
  • brown paper
  • last years reused wrapping paper
  • Last year I received gifts in tea towels!  fab idea!

These guys also make recycled wrapping paper which is pretty cool:
You can try this paper and gum tape or natural yarn instead of sellotape.
Wrag Wrap make these reusable fabric wrapping bags.  For more information or to buy click the image:

#5 Decorations

Reuse / buy non plastic where possible / make your own.
There are some lovely wooden, felt and fabric decorations out there. I love the Christmas Trees below by Loveheart Wood.
In all cases, check they are sustainably sourced. I collect decorations on my travels. So my tree ends up being a reminder of my adventures as well as supporting local crafts around the world.
You can also make amazing decorations . Try gingerbread cookies or air drying clay.

#6 Gift time instead of stuff


There is far too much emphasis on stuff these days. Gifting an experience is a really simple way to have a zero waste Christmas.  It could be a uniquely planned day out with a home made voucher. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It is a great way to get friends and family together and to enrich their lives to do something new.
Here are some ideas:
  • Experiences – maybe a kayak lesson
  • Memberships –  National Trust
  • Adoptions that support a charity
  • Subscriptions – to a magazine
  • Lessons – music, singing, art, fitness
  • Treatments – massage, yoga workshop
  • Tickets – comedy, music, theatre
There are loads more eco gift ideas on my Gifts blog.

#7 Re-Gift Unwanted Stuff

If you do have an unwanted gift it is easy enough to find a new home for it on Ebay, Freegle or Gumtree. 

#8 Set an example about giving and decluttering

Why not use the opportunity to declutter and take things you don’t need to a charity shop?
Turn it into a game if you have kids. Have them bag up their old toys they don’t want and leave them under the tree for Santa to share with other children. Make sure Santa remembers to take them with him!
Take inspiration from the Minimalists. Unsure who they are? You can find their books and film below or check out their blog.

#9 Christmas Cards

Try E-Cards. Donate to charity instead and inform your friends and family that is what you are doing by email or socials. I usually buy a place for a homeless person via Shelter. Last year I am took it one step further and spent the night sleeping rough to raise money for the Clock Tower Sanctuary homeless shelter.  

Homelessness in England is reportedly up 169% since 2010.

It is said you are only five pay packets away from life on the streets – homelessness could happen to anyone.

To support this year’s sleep out donate here.


#10 Tree

I have a plastic one I reuse which usually surprises people. It is good quality though and has lasted me years.
For real trees, get a sustainably grown one. After Christmas find a tree recycling point. These are usually listed on your Local Authority website.
You can also rent trees from some places and they get replanted for next year! Or why not have a tree in a pot that you can reuse each year.
Whatever tree you have dispose of it responsibly.
Did you know LED lights use up to 90% less energy than standard bulbs? Consider using or switching to these.  Some eco tree, bauble and light ideas to buy are below just click the images:

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