Christmas is meant to be the time of love and giving, but it has often become a period of excess where many of us choose convenience over values. A study found we will throw away more than 100 million bin bags full of plastic packaging this Christmas.

Here are our top tips to working towards a plastic free christmas. 

Shop local, shop in season

It may mean you have to visit a few different shops but shopping at your local independent retailer will be a much more enjoyable experience than battling the crowds in your nearest supermarket, all whilst supporting local businesses

Shopping for food that is in season is also a great way to support the environment and reduce the carbon emissions created by shipping your food over. Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Celery, Leeks, Parsnips, Potatoes, Shallots, Swedes, Turnips, and Wild Mushrooms are all in season in December, meaning you can buy these grown from British soil. Just remember to bring your reusable produce bags.

Cook from scratch

Now your fridge is stocked with seasonal vegetables, consider cooking more of your Christmas dinner from scratch this year. The more you cook from scratch, the less pre-packaged food you need to buy. 

Every Christmas the UK wastes 270,000 tonnes of food, this is largely due to unplanned shopping. Plan out the meals you want to serve, and the number of people you will be cooking for before you start your shop to ensure you’re not over-cooking and creating more food waste. 

Ditch the single use plastics

We produce 114,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste at Christmas, mostly made up of single-use plastics, which takes up to 1,000 years to decompose. By ditching the single-use plastic this Christmas you get closer to a plastic free christmas. 

 Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Wrap leftovers in beeswax or soy wax wrap instead of clingfilm.
  • Swap out plastic cutlery and straws for bamboo or stainless steel alternatives.
  • Choose eco Christmas crackers over the traditional plastic counterparts.
  • Use reusable bags at your big food shop this year.

Send an ecard instead

33 million trees worth of Christmas cards end up in the bins each January! This is an incredible amount of waste for an item we may only look at once or twice over a month. This year consider sending a Christmas ecard instead.

A quick and easy alternative to the traditional paper card, you just choose a design and personalise your message to each loved one. These e-cards are often free which will save you some money, or you can choose an optional donating to charity. GoEthical loves the Friends of the Earth eco card selection.

Reconsider your wrapping paper

In the UK alone we use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year, alongside 40 million rolls of sticky tape. We may think this paper is recyclable but due to the shiny surface and glitter covering the wrappings are doomed to landfill.

Instead, opt for brown, recyclable wrapping paper and twine. If you want to fancy it up, try adding homemade cookies or a plant as a decoration, or get messy with potato printed wrapping paper. If you want to stay away from single-use products completely, choose a fabric wrapping such as a scarf to use year after year or reusable gift bag. 

Use an eco tree

A survey found 6 million real Christmas trees are discarded every year, which emit an estimate of 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases when they go to landfill. 

This year consider getting a tree in a pot instead, so you can re-use it each year as well as being able to watch it grow. If you don’t have a garden, you can also rent a Christmas tree and return them after the festive period to allow them to carry on growing. 

If you DO have a fake tree, keep using it for as long as possible. 

Edible or compostable decorations

Tinsels are baubles full of plastic, and they are often thrown away each year. If you’re looking for some additions to your current selection of Christmas tree decorations then try edible or compostable plastic free christmas decorations instead. 

A tasty and low waste alternative could be to hang home-baked cookies from the tree or using a string of dried fruit as a garland. If you’re looking for the natural look, find elements from your garden or the outdoors that could make a festive decoration in your home. 

Gift differently

To reduce your plastic consumption use this year take a different approach with your gift-giving. Choose experiences, acts of service, or charity donations for your loved ones.

Another way to reduce waste is through hand-made gifts. Give baked items like cakes, truffles, and cookies a go, or choose earth-friendly gift kits like grow your own gardens, Bee saver kits or seed bombs, full of wildflower seeds and a garden planner. 

Shop sustainably            

If you have a certain gift in mind for your loved ones then why not shop a sustainable option instead? If your family loves to receive a beauty gift set then swap to a zero-waste beauty kit, if you love to buy clothes then choose a sustainable garment maker, or just browse the wide range of sustainable gifts available on our ethical marketplace. 

If they’re looking for a slightly larger gift, like a guitar or laptop, why not shop second-hand through our pre-loved option to save both your wallet and the planet. 

Shop from GoEthical this festive season, whether you have a specific product in mind, or you’re looking for  plastic free Christmas gift ideas. Buy and sell sustainable, artisan, ethical, pre-loved and eco-friendly products at GoEthical.

Chat and connect with like-minded community members, and discover detailed listings for ethical and eco products from small sellers to well-known global brands for the personal touch this Christmas.

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For queries please either email us on or call us on 020 8337 2175, we look welcome all to our community and forward to hearing from you.

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