7 Tips for Reducing Single Use Plastic This Christmas

December 13th, 2019

By Nikki Harper

Staff Writer for Wake Up World

In recent years, supermarkets around the world have come under increasing pressure to explain how they’re going to reduce plastic waste in their packaging and products. Here in the UK, 80% of consumers don’t think any supermarket is doing enough – but there is some small measure of progress – and festive cheer – from some of the big supermarkets around what they’re doing to reduce single use plastic in their Christmas ranges.

For example, as the BBC explains, John Lewis and Waitrose have announced that they will no longer sell Christmas crackers which contain plastic toys, from next year. Tesco and M&S have focused on glitter, with M&S removing glitter from its entire Christmas range this year, and Tesco removing it from its own-brand cards, giftwrap and tags, and switching to biodegradable glitter on plants and trees. Sainsbury’s have removed plastic packaging from Christmas crackers, and Asda has removed plastic trays and film from its mince pies.

As one of the above would gladly tell you, every little helps. But what about plastic at home this Christmas?

Here are some easy tips for eliminating it or at least cutting down on it:

1 Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

Shiny, glittery wrapping paper is a joy to look at, but what exactly do you think makes it so shiny and glittery? Yep, plastic. That’s one piece of gift wrap which can’t go in the recycling bin. Make your own instead. You could use plain brown paper jazzed up with pretty ribbon or twine, or you could pain or draw on large sheets of plain paper. Alternatively, use newspaper or magazine pages – bonus if you can find cute or funny ones – or even better still, use fabric for re-usable gift wrap.

2 Phase Out Plastic Decorations

If you already have a fake Christmas tree, keep using it for as long as possible – don’t buy another one. If you don’t have one, great. Choose a locally grown organic tree instead, or hire a tree which can then be replanted.

You probably already have a ton of plastic-based baubles, tinsel and other decorations and again, once you’ve got them, you may as well keep using them. Don’t buy any more though – why not phase them out and choose natural Christmas decorations instead? You can buy them, or you can have a ball making them yourself.

If you have kids, you probably also have a house which looks like a glitter factory for large parts of December. Glitter is one of the worst offenders for Christmas plastic, though – and do you really want it stuck to your hair for weeks? It’s easy to make surprisingly effective natural glitter at home – and the process of making it will keep little ones entertained too.

3 Avoid Store-Bought Advent Calendars

Kids (and, increasingly, grown ups too!) may love an advent calendar, but shop bought ones are inevitably full of plastic film and trays. Not to mention vastly over-priced. It’s easy to make your own – it can be as simple as a line of string with 24 envelopes clipped to it, or as complex and imaginative as you like. Granted it may be a bit late for this year, but maybe a cool project for next year?

4 Scrap the Crackers

Christmas crackers are typically full of plastic tat you’ll never look at or use for more than the 60 seconds it takes you to read the joke and put on the hat (tissue paper is not recyclable, by the way). So either ditch this tradition all together, or create your own version. You could fill them with sweets, or mini soaps, or packets of seeds, or lottery tickets, or anything else which grabs your imagination. Or fill them with something else, like a charades challenge or some thoughtful conversation starters. Plenty of ideas here.

5 Plastic-Free Shopping

When it comes to gift buying, avoid packaged gift sets, which are typically heavy on the plastic packaging. If possible, you might want to gift something second hand or natural, or at least something consciously packaged. Alternatively, think about gifting an experience instead. When you hit the stores, take your own reusable shopping bags with you and decline offers of plastic bags or extra packaging.

6 Plastic-Conscious Eating and Drinking

When buying your Christmas food, go for loose fruit and veg. Take your own bags or containers with you. Don’t wrap leftovers in clingfilm – use food containers, biscuit tins and the like instead.

If you’re entertaining, ditch the swizzlers and stirrers and instead jazz up your drinks with ice cubes containing mint, rosemary or berries. Try to use real cutlery and plates too, instead of disposable, even though it’s more work for you. If you have input into the work Christmas party, try to persuade everyone to bring their own plate and cutlery.

7 Keep Raising Awareness

It’s not easy to get rid of plastic, especially during the busy festive period. However, every small step anyone takes is a step in the right direction. Play your part further by highlighting examples of excess packaging you come across. One popular hashtag to use, backed by Greenpeace, is #pointlessplastic – keep the pressure on the major retailers to act.

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About the author:

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World. She writes about divination, astrology, mediumship and spirituality at Questionology: Astrology and Divination For the Modern World where you can also find out more about her work as a freelance astrologer and her mind-body-spirit writing and editing services. Nikki also runs a spiritualist centre in North Lincs, UK, hosting weekly mediumship demonstrations and a wide range of spiritual development courses and workshops.

Say hi at Questionology.co.uk or on Facebook.