We are now into prime time Christmas shopping. With Black Friday and every company newsletter you've ever signed up to bombarding you with discounts it's super hard to stay focused on what you actually need. One of the big aspects of sustainable shopping is buying what you need, also what you want too but not buying to excess. Don't get me wrong it's not easy, especially with 50% off items you didn't even think you needed until now. I always say with sale shopping, if it's something you had your eye on or knew you needed anyway then go for it but if it wasn't don't bother.
We've put together a sustainable Christmas guide to help you through this hectic time of year.
Firstly, have a research into brands that offer sustainable or eco-friendly products that you can buy as presents. There is some websites, apps and platforms that can help you with this. We mentioned an app called Green Wallet previously that sells all approved sustainable brands. There is also collections on websites such as Net-a-porter that offer "Net Sustain". Magazines such as Luxiders Magazine and One Magazine are dedicated to showcasing sustainable and ethical products that may help you find some of the best sustainable pieces. If you even just google "independent sustainable brands" the articles and info is endless. It does take a bit of time and research but the rewards will be worth it.
Recycled shopping bags
Secondly, when you go out Christmas shopping take all your own bags. Not all of us can enjoy a bit of retail therapy at the moment but for areas that are not in heavier lockdown restrictions you can enjoy shopping again soon. We've all been there when you start Christmas shopping and you end up with 10 bags and can't carry anything. This tip will actually help you to be able to pack your purchases better in more sturdy bags but it also stops unnecessary buying of plastic bags.
Easy recycling paper and tape
Consumers in the UK will use around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year. Over 83km(squared) of this will end up in our bins and not recycled. Before recycling your wrapping paper remove any sticky tape, ribbons or bows that cannot be recycled. Simple wrapping paper can be recycled but wrap with foil or glitter decoration on can't. I understand the last thing you want to be doing on Christmas day is removing tape from paper but just put in a recycling bag for later.
However if you want to eliminate any extra work, you can wrap presents in brown paper, recycled paper or basic paper that can easily be recycled. Grab some paper tape or brown tape that can be recycled and there you go! Job done! Everything can be recycled so doesn't even need to be sorted.
If you are unsure if they paper can be recycled scrunch it up in a ball and if it stays in a ball shape it can be recycled!
Try out www.papertree.co.uk for some super fun designs!
Recycling Food Waste
Before we start I actually don't know how food waste is even a problem because I will eat my weight in food and then have seconds. However it is said that 4.2 million Christmas dinners were wasted in the UK in 2014. I am astounded by this figure but understandably the dislike of brussel sprouts is very real. The easiest way to recycle your leftovers is in a food recycling bin that some councils now provide. However if you don't have one you can see if your council do food waste collections here: https://www.recyclenow.com/
If you're an avid gardener you'll be able to use the food for compost!
Adult Christmas List
Without sounding super bossy if you know what you need or want for Christmas, write yourself your own Christmas list. There is nothing wrong with an adult Christmas list in my opinion, it means getting things you need therefore it's not being wasteful. This is not an excuse to demand ridiculous presents but if you know someone is getting you something anyway it's a good idea. Obviously I'm not trying to take the fun out of a nice Christmas surprise but it's said that £72 million is spent on unwanted Christmas presents. Ekk!
Becoming sustainable isn't easy. You don't have to do everything right all the time but every little step in the right direction can do wonders. Imagine if everyone decided to make simple changes what an impact it would make. Everyone has had to give up a lot this year and we definitely don't suggest giving up anything you love doing but I mean brown paper instead of gold glitter, eating all your sprouts and buying an organic cotton shirt instead of cotton isn't too bad.
(pictures taken from www.goodhousekeeping.com, www.papertree.co.uk, www.all-green.co.uk, www.foxnews.com)