Our Top 5 Christmas Tips!

Bolton Green Umbrella | Tuesday 03 December 2019 | 0 Comments

If you’d like a festive season that’s a little kinder to the environment (and better for your pocket!), read on for our top five tips!

1. Say No to Unnecessary Packaging & Recycle!

At this time of year, the supermarkets seem to be stacked to the rafters with gift sets; perfume, aftershave, toys, even cheese! They all look lovely, but they can be so heavily packaged that opening one is like separating Russian dolls… boxes in boxes in boxes! So why not consider these alternatives instead?

  • We can’t avoid packaging a lot of the time; things need containers after all! But we can choose to avoid unnecessary packaging and seek out recyclable options. So, if you can’t buy it loose/packaging-free, opt for presents, food or beverages that come in recyclable containers or packaging e.g. glass bottles, cardboard sleeves.

  • Put all the gifts you’re buying for someone inside one (recyclable) gift box or (reusable) hamper. Not only can this cut down on packaging, but because nothing needs to be individually wrapped, it can also save you money on wrapping paper. Plus, the recipient gets to delve into a ‘pick and mix’ of great gifts! Encourage your friends and relatives to do the same and you’ll end up with a lot less rubbish to deal with on Boxing Day!

  • If you really would prefer to wrap things individually but still want to cut down on waste, try swapping foil, plastic or glittery wrapping paper and gifts bags for plain, recyclable alternatives. Some companies, like Re-Wrapped, sell wrapping paper made from recycled materials that can also be recycled again after use! These days recycled doesn’t mean ugly brown paper; there are a variety of beautiful designs available out there!

  • If they are made entirely out of paper, gift bags (with any cord handles removed) and wrapping paper can be added to your household recycling. Unfortunately, a lot of them contain foil, glitter, plastic or other materials that cannot be recycled, so watch out before you toss into your beige bin!

  • Presents aren’t the only things that come in packaging; so does a lot of our produce! Try to buy loose vegetables if you can and remember to take your own produce bags with you to cut down on plastic bag waste.

2. Can’t Recycle? Why Not Reuse?!

Sometimes, what we want just doesn’t come in a recyclable option – sad but unfortunately true. Manufacturers and retailers still have a lot of research to do if they want to make their products sustainable! So in the meantime, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Gift Bags/Wrapping Paper

Gift bags and wrapping paper that contain foil, glitter, plastic or other materials can’t be recycled, but that doesn’t mean they need to go to landfill.

Now, we don’t want to spoil the fun of ripping open presents on Christmas morning, but if you’re feeling extra eco-friendly (and frugal), carefully opening gifts can keep packaging intact; bags and paper can be folded flat and stored somewhere dry for reuse next year, or for other occasions if their design permits. What a money saver (and waste reducer)!

Another alternative is the fabric gift bag. It may sound a little unusual, but they are more eco-friendly than non-recyclable wrapping, and often come in handy for other things after Christmas. Most are also easily washed. If you’re handy with a sewing machine or needle, you can even make a bespoke bag or add a personalised design.

Christmas Cards

Cards that don’t have embellishments (bows, glitter, ribbons etc.) can be added to your household recycling. Some embellished cards can still be recycled as long as any bows or ribbons etc. are removed first. But those that cannot be recycled (e.g. glittery cards) can still come in handy for a variety of craft projects – ask your local primary school or youth club if they can make use of them! If you like to get creative, you may want to have a go yourself! Why not make some (free) gift tags for next year? Simply cut out a pretty Christmas card design, use a holepunch to add a hole and thread a leftover piece of festive ribbon through it!

3. Unsure? Give the Gift of Giving!

If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for a friend or loved one, why not ask them which local charities they support and make a donation in their name?

Alternatively, you may like to gift them a membership to an environmental or wildlife organisation or adopt an animal in their name. The Wildlife Trusts, The National Trust, RSPB, WWF and many other groups will let you do this online.

4. Food for thought!

We‘ve all done it; we nip to the shops on Christmas Eve because we forgot the stuffing and end up leaving with a trolley load of extra goodies. What the heck, it IS Christmas! But it gets to mid-January and we still have a tonne of unopened or uneaten food!

  • Make a shopping list and try your very best to stick, no matter what… we can’t always resist those pesky ‘two-for-one’ Christmas offers (or a naughty pudding!) but avoiding those impulse buys can save you money and cupboard space.

  • If you have a large group visiting on Christmas Day, you may end up with a lot of leftovers, so freeze or refrigerate what you can and use it at a later date. Veggies and boiled potatoes can make an excellent base for a soup or stew, and who doesn’t love a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce and stuffing? Be sure to reheat food thoroughly before eating and avoid re-freezing or re-heating meats.

  • If you find you have a lot of (unopened) tinned foods, snacks or non-perishables that you know you won’t use, consider donating them to your local food bank.

5. Didn’t get what you wanted?

We all have that one friend or relative that, despite all our subtle hints, never seems to gift us something we actually like! But don’t toss that unwanted present in the bin just yet! Whether it’s a Christmas jumper that you can’t bear to look at or a toy your child will never play with, someone else out there will probably love them - one man’s trash is another man’s treasure after all! Many places accept donations of unwanted gifts, such as local charity shops, community centres, emergency housing projects and children’s homes. The British Heart Foundation can also accept unwanted electrical goods as they have safety testing facilities in their stores.

Your Tips?

Have you got a fantastic festive tip that you’d like to share with us? If so, log on to Twitter, tag us using @BoltonGreenUmb and let us know! We’ll retweet the best ones and give you a special mention!

Image credit: InterstateWaste.com
KMF, 2019

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