Top 10 ways to celebrate Zero-Waste Christmas
Christmas is around the corner, stores are fully packed with Christmas decorations and foodstuffs. People get into full Christmas spirit, somewhere forgetting about the COVID-19. This festival comes every year with a spirit of togetherness, happiness, and sharing, But somehow after this holiday season, a cruel picture of wastage comes into existence that affects the environment very badly. Just because of the ignorance of zero-waste Christmas strategies. Taking some tiny steps towards zero-waste Christmas celebration could turn the sides to a better environment.
During Christmas time, people over-consume and overshop by just going with the flow of taking things that might lie in the cupboard later unused. It should not be stressful in the hurry of buying things, Christmas is all about relaxing and enjoying with family and friends. Let’s not get into the hassle of buying artificial/plastic stuff, be calm, and try to make this Christmas zero-waste and eco-friendly with the minimum of expense and full of joy and peace.
Here are some basic ideas for a Zero-waste Christmas celebration:
1. Choice of Christmas tree
- Traditionally Christmas trees belong to special species, genus abies. They do not shed their pine needles, once the tree starts drying out. On average, a Christmas tree took around 8-12 years to grow to almost 7 feet. The growth rate depends on the species of tree selected, soil quality, weather, as well as individual farming practices, and Indian weather conditions that do not support the growth of the Christmas trees.
- It means you can have two options left, one is either a plastic tree or the imported ones. Both of them do not support sustainability and zero-waste. So, following the trail to zero-waste culture, try not to buy an artificial tree, decorate the existing plant you have in your garden like bananas, mango, neem, lemon, etc.
- Do you know that 8 million of total waste yearly consists of Christmas trees people buy every year? Around 14 percent of people throw their fake trees into dustbins every year.
- You can also opt for a potted Christmas tree so that you can keep them forever in your home and decorate the same tree every year.
- Even after, if you are planning to get a plastic Christmas tree at home, try to buy it locally, as the majority of these plastic Christmas trees come from China. Reuse them every year and keep them properly after Christmas so that you can find them in good condition every year.
- A DIY Christmas tree is always a good idea. You can make it by stacking your book in the shape of a Christmas tree or by collecting leaves of different trees and placing them in a conical shape.
2. Zero-Waste Christmas Decoration
Source: Flower decor
- Zero-waste Christmas decoration practically refers to no use of plastic and does not leave any waste further. Use handcrafted and locally made Christmas decor like flower and eucalyptus leaves garlands, cranberries/popcorn garland, etc.
- Nature has so much to give you as you can use as much as natural things for decoration like dry leaves, pine cones, dry shoots, rocks, sand, and shells, etc.
- You can decorate your Christmas tree with homemade ornaments like cinnamon sticks, cookies ornaments, repurposed felt ornaments, and heirloom Christmas decorations
- Making garlands of dried citrus fruits will give your home a fresh scent and ambience. You just need citrus fruits like orange, lemon, grapefruit, etc and then cut them into halves and put them in the oven for around 10 minutes at 300F
- You will be surprised to know that almost 500 tonnes of Christmas lights are discarded in the UK only, which means the total number is much higher than this for the whole world.
- To decrease the environmental impact, use solar lights to decorate your Christmas tree and your house too. Solar lights use the sun’s energy to glow in place of electricity. If you don’t have access to solar lights, can opt for LED lights to save electricity
3. Share Gifts Consciously
- Gifts are an immense and beautiful part of Christmas. People show their joy and happiness by sharing gifts
- To make this festival more beautiful and natural, you can give some eco-friendly gifts to your family and friends like bamboo products, natural home decor, organic and natural fragrances, etc.
- You can also encourage people about zero-waste and sustainable lifestyle by sharing such gifts so that they relate themselves with nature and start doing good things
- Quality always matters over quantity, so buy things that are rich in quality and last longer in use. Do not buy things for only one occasion, use them more often
- If you are confused about what to buy as a gift, then gift cards are the best option. Anyone can buy things according to their choice and need. Here you can buy gift cards for an eco-friendly gift.
- Gifting experiences to anyone could be a good idea like giving passes for any spa and salons, adventurous rides, theme parks, etc. In this way, people enjoy and tell others how they experienced.
4. Plastic-free Zero-Waste Gift Wrapping
Source: brown bags
- Almost, 108 million rolls of wrapping paper go into the trash every year during the holiday season. Replace the regular plastic wrapping paper with eco-friendly wrapping like bamboo paper, newspaper, and recyclable paper to decrease the wrapping waste.
- A reusable cloth bag is the best option to carry gifts because it does not have any waste behind. It can be used again and again.
- Use paper tapes in place of plastic tape because these tapes go into landfills without any treatment. Many big companies working towards using biodegradable tape that does not have a bad impact on the environment
- You can use a fine cloth or a T-Shirt to wrap the gifts with some beautiful ornaments/flowers/leaves on top with jute thread for a natural look
5. Switch to Natural Soy Candles
- Ditching artificial fragrance, go for natural soy candles for a healthy environment.
- Soy wax is a vegetable wax derived from soybeans. It is renewable and environment friendly
- Soy wax also burns slower than paraffin wax, meaning you’ll get a candle that lasts longer. And while all candles emit some black soot while burning, soy wax burns cleaner and results in less soot than paraffin.
- On the other hand, paraffin wax obtained as a byproduct of petroleum and non-renewable and harmful for you and the environment
- Soy is also an excellent carrier of fragrance, without requiring chemical amplifiers to enhance the scent throw and ensuring a well-balanced, true-to-scent candle.
6. Do Not Waste Food
Source: DO NOT WASTE FOOD
- During festivals, we all try to do our best in decoration, dressings, and food too. Everyone makes the best food at home in variety as well as quantity. Keeping zero-waste strategies in mind while preparing your food will be beneficial for you and the environment
- To serve food you should use stainless steel and glass utensils and plastic-free cutlery at home. There are various options available in the market for eco-friendly cutlery and utensils like bamboo cutlery, those are portable too, sugarcane, jaggery, atta utensils, those can be eaten too.
- Replace organic cloth napkins with paper napkins which are single-use and produces environmental poisons such as dioxins as they are heavily bleached with chlorine
- In addition, we can not rely on recycled paper and regular cotton cloth because they are also produced as a byproduct of the same process of grinding up the trees. Better to use the exact amount of napkins you need to save the resources or cutting and hemming old fabric into napkins is the best idea for DIY
- Festivals are auspicious to share happiness with everyone. Rather than throwing extra food in the dustbins. Prepare a good amount and share with the people who don't have the food. Make their Christmas joyful too. BE A SANTA for them
7. Christmas Shopping
- Shop consciously during festival season, try to reuse what you have at your home. Three R’s are the key to zero-waste: reduce, reuse, recycle
- Second-hand shopping gives you the satisfaction of not being trapped in the overshopping’ spider net. It will rescue you to the fullest. Take clothes and other usable things from the second-hand store that save your wallet too
- If you want to spend on Christmas, try to spend on lifelong things that you could use for a longer period. Shop high-quality product, not quantity
- The items you buy should have minimum layers of packaging like plastic wrap/bubble wrap, etc. Certainly, when you buy something online, it comes with a way a bigger box of packaging than the product inside. Extra packaging has a terrible impact on the environment because it’s all-plastic
- Approximately 100 million black bags full of packaging from toys and gifts discarded every year
8. Redesign your clothes rather than buying new
Source: fun n learn
- Christmas is all about Red, Green, and white colors. Everywhere you see, you will find these three colors.
- With the festive vibes, people used to buy new matching clothes for Christmas every year. But in place of buying new clothes, you can redesign your clothes because these are basic colors that everyone has.
- Mix n match your clothes according to the occasion without putting pressure on landfills and celebrate zero-waste Christmas
- Painting your old plain T-shirt with Christmas colors and slogans could be an excellent activity at home for kids
9. Don’t forget to recycle & compost
- The more we recycle, the more we could decrease the impact on the environment. It all depends upon how and what we are recycling. Not everything could be recycled but could be treated to save the environment
- Recycling the plastic water bottles that are often used at Christmas parties could save a lot of energy. One recycled plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60W light bulb for six hours
- Tissue papers/towels and napkins used during Christmas pile up the landfills as paper wastage. Around 40 million rolls got wasted during this time. Only one tonne of recycled paper would save 17 trees, 18.7 square foot of landfill space, and a huge 4,000 kilowatts of electricity
- Recycling and composting are the best ways to follow zero-waste. Composting is a practice to decompose your house waste into organic manure for agriculture
- Collect your house and kitchen waste into a composting bin and if you don’t have a composting bin then you can segregate the waste properly for further decomposition by machine.
10. Donate & Support Small Businesses
- Sharing and caring is the real meaning of Christmas. Donate thighs to those people who cannot afford expensive things. Give food and clothes to the people who are in need.
- Last but not the least, it’s high time to support local businesses because everyone is struggling during this pandemic. Buy things from small businesses and local markets to support in this hard time. You can buy decoration things from the local market rather than from any well-known chain.
- So, celebrate your zero-waste Christmas with a thought of celebrating together with the world as a family
- Try to spread the message among people to support via social media with #vocalforlocal. Speak upfront about this to make people understand. Enjoy your festival and may the year ahead bring joy and health
In the end, I would say nobody is perfect, we are far from living a completely zero-waste or plastic-free lifestyle. We should try our best but should not be motivated by guilt. Reduce your waste, lower your carbon footprint. Shop and consume mindfully. Shop from brands that have a sustainable and ethical focus. Support small, local, and conscious businesses. Spend quality time with your friends and family. Do what you love and don’t forget to enjoy.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the BeKarmic family