An estimated 114,000 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic will be thrown away by UK households this Christmas. From the festive decorations to the many gifts and consumables we’ll buy, this year we should all try to eliminate the need for synthetic materials as much as possible.
Here are some ideas to help:
Food and drink
Shop bought puddings, pies and cakes are often covered in plastic so if possible, make your own. Buy fresh butcher’s turkey and ham and your veggies loose from the greengrocers or get a mixed veg box delivered. Avoid soft drinks in plastic bottles, opt for glass or use squash concentrate instead. Look for wines with traditional corks rather than the newer plastic ones.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without lots of sparkle but glitter and metallic tinsel are synthetic and can’t be recycled. There are many decorating options that don’t involve plastic. Buy cards printed on recycled paper rather than those plastic-coated and make your own tinsel from fringed tissue paper sprinkled with eco glitter. Avoid the standard baubles by using decorations made from fabric, paper or wood. Craft markets and websites are great places to find these or make your own edible biscuits, salt dough shapes, popcorn strings or dried fruit and spices.
Pre-packed gift sets or hampers often come heavily packaged in plastic. Personalise your selection by choosing separate products and packing in a pretty box or tying together with a ribbon. Shopping on your local high street reduces plastic by eliminating postal packaging and independent stores are often great sources of handmade gifts made from natural materials. Many plastic toys can easily be substituted with wooden or fabric ones for smaller children and alternative plastic-free ideas for all ages include clothing, vouchers, homemade edible and beauty products, plants, memberships, experiences and charitable donations.
If you already have a synthetic tree keep using it as long as possible. Likewise, if you’re going down the fake route, buy the best quality tree you can afford to keep it from landfill as long as possible. When choosing a real tree, buy an Eco tree, try renting one that is returned to keep growing, or look out for the FSC logo approved by the Soil Association.
Blog by Gilly