Today I’m talking to Kate Justice somewhere between 12 and 1pm about having yourselves a very merry zero waste Christmas.
Kate asked me all sorts of juicy questions such as “Just how much wrapping paper do we get through?”, “What can you do about food waste?” and “How can we recycle more over the festive period?”
Some of my research revealed the following astonishing facts:
- We use enough wrapping paper in the UK to reach to the moon…
- We waste 230,000 tonnes of Christmas food over the holiday season
- The average family creates 30% more waste over Christmas than any other time of year.
So what can you do if you want to enjoy all the trimmings the season of goodwill can offer while not increasing your carbon footprint by 100%?
Contrary to popular belief, many types of wrapping paper, such as foil laminated or that with glitter on, cannot be recycled; so it isn’t a simple case of chuck it in the recycling bin.
If you’re the proud recipient of such paper my advice is to use it as packing material next time you send something fragile in the post or use it to wrap your own delicate Christmas ornaments. Yes, it will end up in landfill eventually, but at least you’re giving it a second lease of life.
Or you could take a leaf from my Grandma’s tree and save the paper for wrapping next year’s presents!
For your own wrapping I admitted I often use newspaper! A bit odd maybe, but if you find a page with a pretty picture on it can be quite effective. And after all, most of us are only interested in the contents of the package anyway…
Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping gifts in material. It’s a bit like origami for textiles. You could go the whole hog and wrap gifts in a scarf or tea towel to make the wrapping an extra gift.
lots of party food comes packaged in plastic moulding. It adds to the wow factor, makes you think you’re getting more bang for your buck and stops breakable food such as canapés becoming damaged.
On Christmas Eve there’s no point worrying too much if your fridge is already filled with such overly-packaged delicacies; this isn’t about guilt, but perhaps stop and make a few resolutions for next year.
Could you support a local bakery, get a domestic god/dess friend to whip you up an extra batch, visit your local farmer’s market, barter with someone at your local LETS group or plan ahead and make your own?
Avoiding food waste is one of my passions; the average family in the UK throws away one third of the food they buy, with even more over Christmas.
At Christmas time, make your freezer your best friend. You’ll find all sorts of hints and tips over at Love Food, Hate Waste for which foods are freezable, good portion control and recipes for using up leftovers.
Check out my Twelve days of Turkey leftovers for more recipe ideas.
After the big event be sure to recycle all the materials you can – glass bottles, tin cans, glass jars and tetra pak juice cartons are pretty easy to recycle in most areas.
Some counties will take away your Christmas tree for composting and many supermarkets have collection bins for Christmas cards.
What about you – what tips can you share for a waste-free Christmas?