Swap your Christmas wrapping paper
Did you know that a lot of bright and shiny wrapping paper contains plastic? It might be called paper, but not all wrapping paper is just paper. In fact, a lot of it contains plastic which means it can’t be recycled and leads to mounts of wrapping paper going to waste.
If you want an eco-friendlier option this year, then you could opt for brown paper decorated with stamps or ribbon or use cloth wrapping. And if you do receive presents wrapped in plastic-based paper this year, then make sure you keep hold of it and reuse it on other presents in the future.
Send plastic free Christmas cards
If you still like sending physical Christmas cards rather than an e-card then make sure you pick a plastic free one. Some cards or backs of cards can be recycled, but plastic packaging and cards covered in glitter cannot.
Sainsbury’s has already removed plastic sleeves from their cards whereas Tesco has removed glitter all its own brand products including cards. However, there is still a lot of plastic out there so our advice is to shop around until you find one without the non-recyclable sleeve.
Cut your Christmas dinner waste
If you’ve been given the shopping list for this year’s Christmas dinner, then make sure you pick up the loose fruit and vegetables that don’t come wrapped in plastic. Take your own reusable bags to put them in or just place them in the trolley and give them a good wash when you get home.
Don’t forget to take your own shopping bags though. While the uptake of single-use carrier bags has decreased, new figures show that bags for life sales increased by 26% in 2018 – the equivalent of 54 bags per household.
Choose a real Christmas tree
It’s estimated that you would need to use a plastic Christmas ten times for its impact to be lower than that of a real tree, and it still ends up in landfill. Our advice would be to opt for a sustainably grown real tree rather than a plastic one.
But if you already have a plastic one then keep using it for as long as possible before donating it to a charity shop. Some people may opt to plant their real tree outside so it can be use again, while others may choose to decorate some indoor plants like yucca instead.
Pick sustainable gifts
We should be careful not to buy needless stuff that people will not even use. Giving people an experience they can enjoy (e.g. concert tickets, a restaurant voucher or cookery course) or something homemade will have a lower impact on our planet.
Christmas is the perfect time to introduce your friends and family to some plastic free gifts which could help them lead a more sustainable lifestyle in 2020. Whether you want to help them switch up their coffee routine with the help of a reusable cup or swap their plastic bottles of shampoo and soap to bars, there’s lots of options out there.
If you’re looking for other gifts then don’t forget to check out your local charity shops for an array for second-hand items.
Take action to cut Scotland’s resource use
If you’re concerned about waste and our overuse of natural resources, find out how you can strengthen Scottish Government plans to reduce our economy’s devastating impact on our environment.