Eco-ho-ho. A Sustainable Christmas

I hear what you are saying, Christmas? In July?!

But it is one of the biggest culprits for single use plastic waste.

However, there are changes you can make to reduce the plastic waste considerably, as well as lots of opportunity to do some family crafting!

1. Christmas wrapping paper

Lots of wrapping paper contains plastic. You can swap plastic coated wrapping for brown paper and coloured raffia or string, which under the tree looks just as beautiful and can be reused or recycled.

You can also get the children to decorate with paint or pencils to look unique and individual.

2. Green Christmas trees

All Christmas trees are green. You want an eco-friendly one.

Firstly, if you have a fake tree, keep using it – make it last as long as possible.

If not, get a real tree with an FSC logo or one approved by the Soil Association. Even better, rent one. Yes, you can now hire Christmas trees and return them after the festive season to carry on growing.

If you are feeling a bit radical? Decorate a large perennial indoor plant or tree.

3. Recycled Christmas cards

You can do your bit by ordering cards printed on recycled, uncoated cardboard or even make your own.

But if you really want to cut down on waste, send e-cards. Most good causes have their own range of everything from cute to stunning.

4. Edible and handmade Christmas decorations

What is better than pretty Christmas decorations? Delicious ones that you can eat.

Things like tinsel and baubles are normally full of plastic. A fab alternative is to hang home-baked gingerbread from the tree or spend the lead up to Christmas making your own natural decorations, such as pine cones, salt dough and cinnamon sticks, even fabric ones if your handy with a needle and thread. Fabric ribbon makes a lovely garland both on and off the tree.

Strings of popcorn are great fun to make too.

5. Eco Christmas crackers

Can you even remember the plastic tat that came out of last year's crackers?

Christmas crackers don't have to be bad. You can get ones made from recycled materials and you can also make your own. There are a number of different kits to choose from.

6. Ethical Christmas gifts

Wooden toys are a wonderful choice over plastic. From puzzles to push-along animals and musical instruments to building blocks, there are many choices for younger children.

And when your little ones have grown out of them, pass them on to other families or donate them to a charity shop.

7. Presents for adults

Save yourself a job of wrapping present after present. Perhaps you can arrange a Secret Santa

This way everyone gets a gift without spending silly amounts of gift after gift.

Set a budget and pick a name out of a hat!

8. Christmas dinner

For plastic-free veg, head to your local market. Just remember to take your own bags.

You can get meat without plastic too. Visit your local butchers with your own containers.

9. Mince pies and Christmas nibbles

You could make your home smell of Christmas by baking your own mince pies, sausage rolls and gingerbread.

For chocolate, buy bars wrapped in recyclable paper. Sadly, crisps come in packets that use a array of plastics. However, you could make your own crisps as well as cheese twists or oatcakes.

10. Christmas beer and wine

It may come as a surprise but bottle tops and screw caps normally contain an inner plastic seal.

Buy wine bottles with corks. The cork oak used in wine stoppers is entirely sustainable.

Get beer cans in boxes to avoid the nasty 6-pack plastic rings.

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