How to Have a Greener Christmas; Reducing Packaging Waste
Over the Christmas period, we generate 30% more waste than at any other time of the year. With a fresh approach, it is possible to reduce waste and boost recycling rates. This article provides some small changes that can help you to have a greener Christmas, without missing out on the festive fun.
How to Reduce Food Packaging Waste
Christmas Dinner is a meal of excess. There can be a great delight in bringing family and friends together for an annual feast, yet around 125,000 tonnes of plastic food packaging is discarded every year.
THE SWITCH: Buy your turkey and veg from local farmers, farmers markets and independent retailers. In supermarkets, many items are pre-packaged in plastic. This generates packaging waste, and also encourages us to buy in bulk, which can lead to food waste. Farmers markets, your local butcher and grocer will give you the option to take your own bag, buy exactly what you need and, in many cases, get a higher quality product.
If you want to stick to the supermarket, actively seek out opportunities to buy loose produce, use refill stations and select products in glass, cans, corrugated cardboard and other recyclable packaging materials.
Choosing the Right Wrapping Paper
It is estimated that the UK uses 227,000 miles of wrapping paper over Christmas. After it is excitedly ripped open, this paper heads straight for the bin.
THE SWITCH: Using plain or printed brown paper is preferable to shiny or foil-based alternatives. This is because it can be collected separately and put in the recycling bin. There is then the chance that it will be transformed into the paper you use next year.
For retailers; printing beautiful, festive designs on gift boxes may eliminate the need for an extra layer of wrapping. Printed packaging also increases the chance of reuse. With some clever design, you can also encourage creativity and play – we all know that the box can be as much fun as the present! If you have ideas and want advice, contact Aylesbury Box Company, specialists in bespoke, printed cardboard packaging on 01296 436888.
Do I Need to Send Christmas Cards?
One tree can produce around 3,000 Christmas cards. This is impressive, however, thousands of tonnes of recyclable card and paper ends up in landfill every year.
THE SWITCH: More people are opting to make a donation to a charity or other goodwill gesture in place of sending cards. Writing a positive review, paying a genuine compliment or simply wishing someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in person, can be just as festive.
If you do exchange cards, put them into the recycling when it is time to take them down. Also, avoid designs with glitter, as this can clog up recycling machinery. It also makes the card difficult to reuse, so some councils are refusing to collect bins with glitter in.
What can I Replace Christmas Crackers With?
One of the most wasteful items at Christmas is the cracker. A whole lot of packaging for a plastic toy, a poor joke and a bang.
THE SWITCH: Instead of crackers you could:
- Give all the children a party hat template and provide pens for them to decorate
- Place a handmade truffle in a named box, much like a wedding favour
- Roll a charade idea, quiz question, poem, funny photo or even a scratch card and tie with (reused) ribbon
With a little thought, we can all play a part in reducing packaging waste, whilst still enjoying plenty of fun and excitement. Merry Christmas from all at Aylesbury Box Company!