Some posts here on ARoseTintedWorld may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and buy a product or register, then I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I may also use products from the companies mentioned in these posts. Thank you for supporting my blog!
A few weeks ago I did a whole series on Lagom. This is the Swedish word for being being zero waste. All about living a life in balance. Not too little, and not too much, but just enough. It means that we are more mindful of what we are using, and encourages us to recycle and be more sustainable. So in the long term it saves us money, and perhaps saves the planet too. Who doesn’t want to do that? So this year, why not have a more zero waste Christmas?
- How To Have A More Zero Waste Christmas and Frugal Holiday Season
How To Have A More Zero Waste Christmas and Frugal Holiday Season
The mainstay of a zero waste lifestyle is to reuse, recycle and reduce how much we are using. To me the Christmas holiday is all about getting together and enjoying some quality time with the family.
But it is also an increasingly commercial affair, and to children this means a load of new toys. And a lot of plastic. None of which is very eco friendly. We throw an awful lot away over the holidays, from the wrapping paper to the toy boxes. In fact, the average home has at least 30% more waste over the festive season.
So what can we do to start going zero waste for the festive season? How can we make it a less throwaway affair?
Here is your guide on how to make Christmas zero waste.
Maybe the most ecologically sound thing is to not give Christmas cards. But I do like cards, and they do arrive each year. Why not explain to friends that you won’t be giving cards and give the money to charity instead? Or send e-cards?
If you really do want to buy cards, there are some wonderful fair trade Christmas cards and charity cards on the market, which means that your money is doing more good. Even if they are a little more expensive.
And as for the cards that you do receive, why not reuse them? When I was younger we used to turn some of our cards into tags for the following year using pinking shears and string.
Why not make a card basket?
You could also reuse some of the best bits from your cards in making new handmade ones of your own to send. Like our confetti cards.
But I’ve found another decorative way to reuse old cards.
A Card Garland is easy to make by
- drawing circles around a glass on the fronts of the card,
- cutting out and sticking them together in pairs (I used a glue stick)
- sewing them on a sewing machine.
- Start with a really long length of thread before you sew.
- Sew the first pair of circles through the middle.
- As you reach the edge of one pair of circles, add the next pair.
- Leave a long length of thread at the end.
Make these as long as you need.
Alternatively, you could make my easiest bunting ever – find the template and instructions here.
It is actually very difficult to have a completely zero waste Christmas tree. Most Christmas trees do cause some waste.
One of the best ways to have a Christmas tree is to have one that you can replant in the garden and reuse year in year out. Make sure to keep it watered and moist whilst indoors though.
However, for those of us that don’t have gardens, myself included, you may need to buy a fake Christmas tree or get a new cut real tree each year.
If you do get a real tree, a lot of councils and businesses advertise a service to come round afterwards to pick up and dispose of your tree in an ecologically sound way. Though actually cut real trees are not very ecologically sound. They create a lot of emissions. So, If you do have a fake tree (even a plastic free Christmas tree), make it last a lot of years and you may actually be being more ecologically sound overall than getting a real cut tree each year.
Whichever Christmas tree you get, try to use eco friendly Christmas tree decorations.
Zero Waste Christmas Decorations
It is lovely to see all the shiny glittery baubles. But are they really that ecologically sound? Not if you are buying new ones each year! So here is how to have more eco friendly Christmas decor, and more zero waste ornaments.
Do reuse all the decorations year after year as much as possible. A lot of Christmas decorations are plastic, so can last for years as long as they are packed up securely and stored well each year in a dry cool place. Don’t keep just buying more.
Or think about making your own plastic free Christmas decorations such as salt dough or clay ornaments. Ones that are reusable year after year. If you are buying decorations, consider buying fair trade Christmas decorations.
But one of the most eco friendly Christmas decorations you can get is to get foliage, branches and flowers from the garden to decorate. You can use any extra branches that you don’t need from your real tree, plus holly, ivy and other seasonal plants from outdoors to decorate your mantle and hearth. Plus to make table centrepieces.
Christmas Wrapping Paper
You may not realise, but the vast majority of the wrapping paper that we think of putting in our green bin cannot be recycled at all. Especially if it has plastic surfaces, metallic or glitter finishes, as most do over Christmas. These all cannot be recycled and end up in landfill. In reality, we waste so much paper!
So a better idea, and one of the best and most recyclable wrappings is plain brown paper. You can spend some time using ink or stamps or decorating it yourself, or use pretty string, pine cones or lavender stems. Make it more personal. It can look so stylish, and is SO much cheaper too, as you can buy it on big rolls. (which can also be used for parcels!)
Why not reuse old paper and bags, keeping them to one side for reuse next year? I do save old bags, and just add a new tag these days. (maybe made from an old Christmas card?) It seems so wasteful to just throw them away.
Instead of ribbon, why not make some fabric twine from old clothes or pieces of fabric?
Or you could use a scarf or piece of cloth to gift wrap presents. Lush has been offering this as a service for a while, but you could buy your own material, or even buy a second hand scarf from a charity shop.
Lastly, why not make fabric drawstring bags from Christmas fabric, with appliquéd names on them? These can be used year in and year out. A larger version of my Advent Calendar bags would be a great idea as a gift bag to reuse and reuse.
Find some brilliant ideas for Christmas Wrapping in this post from Karo at CraftsyHacks
Zero Waste Christmas Gifts
And while we are on the subject of presents, do we really need to buy so much this year? How much of it do we actually need?
Yes it is lovely to give and receive gifts, but maybe we need to stop just giving for the sake of it. Isn’t it a better idea just to give meaningful gifts? There are lots of sustainable Christmas gift guide ideas out there.
I write about giving experience gifts in this post. Experiences are great gift ideas, and a brilliant example of a zero waste gift. Why not gift a day out, giving the gift of memories rather than ‘things’?
How about setting a budget if frugality is the main aim? My favourite idea is to give ‘vouchers’ such as an offer to babysit, or do somebody’s nails. Giving your time is a much better present.
You could also make a present. Give a cake that you have made, or other small hand made gift.
As to all the plastic toys that the children want? Well, there is always going to be the latest thing. But why not regift some of the old toys to children who are in need? Or give them to friends with younger children. Or sell them on eBay to make way for the new items that your child will be getting? It’s much better for the planet to buy second hand.
So whilst we are on the subject, why not buy preloved presents for other people? Buying other people’s unwanted new unwanted gifts or preloved items is a much better way than buying new. You can often save some money, get a bargain and find some real treasures. Looking at tabletop fairs, craft fairs and markets towards Christmas is great fun too!
A lot of the high street have announced this year that they will not be having small plastic items in crackers this year.
But even so, how ecofriendly is the Christmas cracker anyway, with its glittery shiny outer? Maybe it is time to forgo this tradition, or perhaps make your own.
Shopping local is the perfect way to have a zero way Christmas. Not only does it mean that you have a lower carbon footprint, but it means that you are putting money into the pockets of the local economy and helping local people and businesses rather than the multinationals.
And finally, maybe the most important part of Christmas is the food. Food waste is a problem all year round, but it all seems to snowball at Christmas. So how can you be more frugal and eco friendly with your Christmas meal?
- plan what you are going to need and only buy what you will need to ensure no waste
- consider buying loose meat/fruit/veg and produce – so much waste goes into the packaging of Christmas food.
- think about going meat free – we all know that animal farming is a huge contributor to the climate change – perhaps think about having a nut roast instead of a turkey this year?
And do plan to use up all your leftovers too – or compost them where possible.
This part of my traditional Christmas meal is so frugal – have you seen my seasoning pudding recipe?
Is It Possible To Have A Plastic Free Christmas?
It probably is possible. But like everything I do say just to make as many swaps as you can. If everyone makes small swaps towards a more sustainable home then we all together make an impact.
None of us are perfect. So stop being judging of others. Keep shouting out how the easy swaps are working for you, and slowly maybe we will educate others to follow our lead and choose our sustainable Christmas ideas too.
So will you be having a zero waste Christmas this year?
A zero waste Xmas is not about me telling you how to life your life. I do realise that we are all strapped for time, and sometimes we have to spend money to save time. But you can save a lot of money, and make Christmas so much more personal by spending a little time and turning slightly away from the mass made market.
I hope you like some of my ideas for a zero waste Christmas. Are there any of these zero waste Christmas tips that you particularly love? And that you would use? Do comment below.
Or find me on my socials
Facebook: A Rose Tinted World
If you really like this post, why not share it? Why not pin me for later?