We all love celebrations, so much so that we often go overboard at birthdays, Christmas, weddings and in celebration of new babies.
But this is one occasion where it really does all add up - the amount of waste produced on Christmas Day alone is frightening!
There are simple ways to cut waste and get smarter with our gift giving and celebrations – while taking nothing away from the quality and sentiment of the gesture and day.
Reuse gift wrapping wherever possible. You can also make your own creative gift wrap from old magazines, books and newspapers.
Ditch ribbons altogether – unless they are recycled!
You can also wrap presents in old fabric which can by tied up with fabric ribbons or string – avoiding sticky tape as well!
Use old greeting cards to make new ones. Not only is it a great way to recycle expensive cards, saving waste and money, it is a lot of fun and creates a highly personal touch.
Set the right table
Say no to disposable table cloths, napkins, plates, cutlery and cups. Dressing your table in cloths and setting it with reusable plates, cutlery and glassware is not only a waste cutting measure, it looks and feels a whole lot nicer too!
Don’t worry if cloths, plates, knives and forks are mismatched. Mixing up colours and sizes on the table will bring a sense of unity to it all.
Instead of smaller gifts, consider teaming up with others and buying high quality gifts that will last a lifetime. Alternatively, choose gifts that can easily be recycled or composted.
Avoid buying ‘stuff’ for the sake of it – think about experiences or making a donation to a charity instead.
Innovate and decorate
Swap balloons, streamers, confetti, Christmas crackers, party poppers and single use party signs for a smarter and less wasteful approach to decorating.
You can make decorations out of recycled materials such as old fabrics – think bunting and fabric drapery. Repurpose old coffee jars to make lanterns and seek out natural decorations such as flowers and fruit to add a splash of colour.
Where possible borrow or hire items – avoid buying anything that will only be used once.
The homemade touch
Making your own gifts is a highly personal gesture and environmentally friendly as well.
Homemade biscuits and slices in screw top jars with recycled fabric ribbons are delightful gifts, as are handcrafted soaps and lotions.
Learn to knit or crochet and make scarves and throws from recycled jumpers or make quilts from recycled fabrics or funky customised clothing.
Refuse pointless plastic
Say no to pointless plastic. This can be as simple as asking for flowers to be wrapped in newspaper, switching to paper lolly bags, purchasing food and drink items in sharable sizes rather than individual portions, and boycotting straws and balloons.