We’re ramping up to Christmas party season, and it’s typically the season of excess! But that doesn’t have to mean that you throw away your values with your plastic waste just because it’s the season to be merry.
Christmas can create some serious waste, with lots more food being bought and consumed, the generous gifting to those you love and throwing and attending lots of parties!
But we have to wise up and stop creating more and more waste; justifying it because it’s the festive season. Here are some ways we can create less plastic waste this Christmas without being a total grinch.
When you have children to buy for, there’s no getting away from the fact that we love to spoil them. My children honestly need nothing and I’m struggling to justify buying anything for them this Christmas! But there are ways to gift whilst being a bit more considerate to the planet.
1. Buy second hand toys
Newsflash, young children love toys. But they are not looking at whether the toy has been pre-loved or not, they just notice the enjoyability factor! Save money and the planet and buy second hand.
2. Choose wooden toys and games
If you can’t buy second hand, don’t reach for the usual brightly coloured plastic toys, think about whether there is a more sustainable option.
Recently, my daughter wanted a Barbie dream house, but even though it will be played with for a few years, all the plastic was a bit too much for me to take. So we shopped for an amazing wooden dollhouse together instead that will not only last longer but will be able to be passed on in better condition than the plastic counterpart.
3. Support sustainable brands
If plastic gifts are unavoidable, look for brands and shops whose core values are sustainability, carbon offsetting, planting trees, fair trade, and giving back.
4. Pass on the gift of sustainability
But seriously, what do you give someone who has everything? Perhaps a hamper with a selection of useful sustainable goodies to introduce them to the concept of being a little more planet-friendly? I’m thinking beautiful bamboo straws, coconut coir scrubbing brushes, washable cleaning and facial cloths, even a compostable serving pack for fancy summer picnics, to name a few ideas.
Do better Christmas decor
It’s painful how much waste can come from decorating a party venue and homes at Christmas. There’s tens and sometimes hundreds of balloons, single-use plastic streamers, garlands and banners, confetti and festive glitter to name a few of the main offenders!
5. Reuse last year’s decor
If you carefully pack your decs away, you can definitely use them multiple times. The key is to have some decent storage options for the decorations that you can put in the loft or garage that will keep them safe and well. Absolutely don’t buy decs only intending to enjoy them for one Christmas. That’s more no-no-no than ho-ho-ho.
6. Invest in family heirlooms that take pride of place each Christmas
Another option is to only buy Christmas decorations that you fall in love with and that you intend to enjoy using year after year. Beautiful wooden tree ornaments, glass baubles, and hand-crafted garlands are stylish pieces that you’d never consider binning.
If you have many people coming to eat at Christmas, you may not have a big enough table to seat everyone. That’s where a buffet becomes a great option. However, with buffets comes the need for lots of platters and serving crockery. If you haven’t got the budget to buy crockery and cutlery, you can buy disposable cheaply.
Now, disposable can be bad for the planet, but not if you chose wisely.
7. Serve food on compostable platters and plates
Yes, it’s a thing! Foogo Green offer some amazing options for platters. I used them for my daughters November party recently and they not only look really nice and rustic (also perfect for a cosy family Christmas party) they serve a purpose and degrade quickly with any food waste!
8. Give guests the option of using biodegradable crockery
As above, Foogo Green has some perfect and practical options for biodegradable party crockery. They offer all shapes and sizes and are so much better for the planet than the usual plastic offerings. Annnnd, no washing up. Win.
9. Use wooden cutlery
If you’re like me and only have about 6 forks to your name, you’re going to have to up your cutlery game at Christmas. Wooden cutlery is a great shout and does a great job on party food.
Planet-friendly party drinks
Parties can become a beast to organise. So much so that you can take shortcuts and choose something for convenience that you wouldn’t usually buy. I’m thinking the large packs of mini plastic sports cap drinks for the mini guests, and lots of plastic bottles of juice and fizzy drinks. But there are other drinks options that are still as convenient as those plastic-y offenders.
10. Serve glass bottled drinks and cans
If you’re not keen on washing up a billion glasses at parties and don’t want your prize flutes to get smashed along with your guests, then serving up a few glass bottles and cans is a way to go. Absolutely no plastic has to be offered for your guests to get watered, so think about some of the better options that your supermarket has to offer. And watch out for the plastic wrapping around cheaper canned drinks, go for the ones boxed in recycled cardboard instead.
11. Use a punch bowl or drinks dispenser
Even better would be to dispense larger servings of drinks like glass-bottled cordial, spirits, juices and wine into punch bowls and tapped drinks dispensers. This saves on having to buy lots of cans and bottles and saves on having to dispense and recycle so many smaller cans and bottles.
12. Fill up sustainable paper cups and reusable glasses
And think about what you serve the drinks in. It doesn’t have to be plastic cups, there are lots of sustainable options to buy now. You can even buy edible cups…….!
13. Offer wheat straws instead of plastic ones
We all know that plastic straws are bad for the planet, so Foogo Green offer some amazing options such as single-use wheat straws and reusable bamboo straws. I find the wheat straws are a really fun option for inquisitive children to experience. Telling a guest their straw is made of wheat never gets old.
So there you have it, 13 ways to reduce your plastic waste this Christmas. We’ve covered sustainable gifting, decorating, parties, eating and drinking without having to be a Scrooge. Now go and get your merry and bright on without compromising the planet as a result.