PRACTICAL STEPS TO A SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS

You have probably heard that plastic is one of the biggest polluters on our beautiful planet. You may have stumbled across a photo of a turtle trapped in a can ring or a whale with a stomach full of plastic. However, many times, we don’t quite know where to start. We believe that if everyone pitched in and reduced their plastic consumption, we could prevent this from happening. This topic can sometimes be overwhelming and I’m pretty sure everybody’s tired of numbers that only make you depressed (I know I am), so let me get right to the practical part.


The season of Christmas is back again and we hope to give you a few easy and practical tips on how to reduce your footprint on our environment and become eco-friendlier. It might take you a while longer than usual but the point is to enjoy the process of creation and not to focus only on the final product.


Figure 1: Source https://www.backyardboss.net/natural-christmas-decoration-ideas/



DECORATIONS


Natural or plastic Christmas tree?


You would think that being eco-friendly, it would automatically mean that you should go out and run to buy a natural tree. But hold on a second, think it over. Is this really the most eco choice you can make?


In case you plan on using the tree for a long period of time, there is nothing wrong with buying a plastic tree (my family has a plastic Christmas tree that we have been using since before I was born), in fact, that would mean that masses of trees wouldn’t get chopped down every year. You can also buy a second-hand plastic tree which would actually be the most eco alternative in any given situation. In case you aren’t sure whether you will move next year or you just like the way the natural tree looks and smells, make sure you buy it from a place where you can later return it and where they re-plant it. Have a search on google, it might take a bit more of your time, but isn’t that more important than cutting down trees without regards of the impact on our environment?


In case you are feeling particularly creative, we recommend you to even make your own Christmas tree: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzkJmiu03Gg


Natural or plastic ornaments?


Figure 2: Source https://christmasphere.com/natural-christmas-decorations/


I have to admit that living in the city makes it harder to go out and find natural ornaments, it takes time and preparation as well, but at the end, your home smells very festive and jolly. The easiest ornaments I personally have found are the dried oranges and the pine cones (add some essential oils to the tips on the pine cone for the smell). If you don’t have any ideas, Youtube is full of DIY videos on this topic, here are some of our favourites:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k8GIDqO7_E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRzB9AhQfIo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0KA5Ea46lY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNq2Vtc0674


In case you prefer plastic ones, that’s okay as well. Just make sure you either use them for a longer period of time, buy them second-hand or gift them to your friends and family.


PRESENTS


Challenge yourself to find presents that are plastic free and buy from smaller businesses rather than from big sharks (especially this year when most small businesses are on the edge of collapse) or even better, make the gift yourself! One of the best gifts can be experiences (e.g.: you haven’t seen your best friend in moths due to the quarantine – invite them to a dinner at their favourite restaurant or gift them a coupon for a day at the spa in your company).



WRAPPING PAPER



Did you know that wrapping paper isn’t recyclable? Here are some alternatives:


Recycled paper:

  • Thick brown paper

  • Old fabrics

  • A bag

Figure 3: Source https://www.paperchase.com/the-journal/can-you-recycle-wrapping-paper/


Sellotape (also non-recyclable) alternatives:

  • Regular glue

  • Strings

  • Paper clips

  • Staples


FESTIVE FOOD


Instead of buying at the supermarket, try smaller local shops to find food in bulk to avoid plastic wrapping. The Christmas dinner will taste soooo good if it’s home cooked and has ingredients of organic produce. Use the most beautiful plates and cups you have (not plastic!) since it is a special occasion!

This about concludes the eco-friendly Christmas season. I know it can get overwhelming and you might feel bombarded with all this new information and under pressure to change all you’ve known before about decoration and presents etc, so start small. Start with one thing that you feel is easiest. If you can only replace the wrapping paper with a newspaper – that’s okay! If you only just bought new plastic decorations and want to keep them for next 10 years – that’s okay! If you are set on buying all new stuff for Christmas but going to buy plastic free veggies – that’s okay!


We wanted to give you some useful tips on how YOU can take action and be more mindful about the choices you make, to think twice before buying and to try and find alternatives that are kinder to our fellow beings and our environment. At the end of the day, we all want to see the ocean waters clear, so let’s take on the responsibility and do our part, starting with the little things.

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