December is a time of join and peace, and many of us like to use this time to take a break from our busy everyday lives and treat our loved ones. It is also time we reflect upon the year gone by and think of things we want to achieve in the year to come.

With increased media coverage of waste management and environmental problems, more and more people do their share to tackle these issues. However, where do you start?

To help you get going, here are some hints and tips to help you make your New Year celebrations more sustainable.

  1. Christmas Tree

There has been an ongoing debate on whether the artificial Christmas tree is more environmentally friendly than the real one. Most experts agree that a natural Christmas tree, disposed of correctly, is better on a one-off basis.

If possible, do not bin your natural tree but plant it in your garden instead. Fir trees grow well in gardens and can be used again once they have grown bigger. If planting isn’t an option, compost when possible.

Natural materials, such as wood, rot in landfills producing dangerous greenhouse gases.

However, a well kept artificial tree used for many years can offset its higher carbon footprint. An artificial tree is non-recyclable, so it should be a considerate purchase for many years. If you have decided to get a new artificial tree, why not donate your old tree to a local charity? Remember to box up your tree accurately and store it in a dry place for next year.

2. Tree Decorations

Fairy lights, baubles, tinsel may look good on the tree, however, it doesn’t look great in landfills. This is where most of these cheap, plastic decorations end up eventually.

Firstly, if you have purchased baubles, be sure to them use year on year, instead of following the latest trend. You should also decorate your tree with edible treats, such as gingerbread, to reduce the amount of plastic waste.

Organise a family fun night with your children and make decorations from cardboard, ribbon, yarn or other materials you already have at home. Make decorations from natural materials such as pine cones or dried flowers and fruit. Don’t be afraid to get creative and reuse packaging of products, such as wine corks or milk cartons. Here are some more ideas for your unique tree.

Use natural material such as pine cones to decorate your tree.

3. Christmas/New Year Gifts

It’s a great feeling when you can treat your loved ones to something special. However, to help reduce waste and pick a sustainable gift.

Gift your loved one a gift that keeps giving, such as a yoga membership or a short course so your loved ones can indulge in doing something they love. Gift an experience such as a spa day, a dinner for two or a cinema voucher for those who spend all year looking after others and struggle to find time for themselves.

Vintage fashion has been on the rise for some time now, consider checking your local second-hand clothing shops for a unique gift. Online outlets such as eBay or Etsy are full of bargains, such as this vintage handbag.

Talented cooks or craftspeople can present gifts such as homemade jams, preserves, handmade scarfs, socks or toys to reduce the waste. However, if you do decide to go shopping this season, don’t forget your sustainable shopping bag and if possible buy items with little or no plastic packaging.

Vintage fashion has been on the rise for some time now.

4. Recycle

Although you’ve tried to be proactive, you will still most likely end up with masses of waste. Remember to plan ahead and check what can be recycled and what’s your nearest recycling point. Avoid giving gifts in a glittery, plastic or foil wrapping paper. Wrap your gifts in paper or use gift bags and boxes. Add an encouragement to the gift tag to open the gift carefully and re-use the wrapping paper for another occasion.

If you’re planning a big party, avoid plastic plates and cutlery at all costs. If you don’t have enough dishes at home, why not ask your closest friends or family members to borrow some of theirs.

A glass of fizz is an integral part of New Year and Christmas celebrations, remember glass bottles can be recycled or become a great decoration. Check out some of these creative ideas.

If you’d like to learn more about reducing food waste this holiday season, check out this blog.

If you enjoy visiting Christmas fairs or plan to celebrate the New Year outside, watching the fireworks, don’t forget to take your reusable cup with you.

Plan and prepare in advance to reduce waste in 2020.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Zero Waste in the New Year. Looking for tips to continue sustainable lifestyle in 2020? Check out this blog!

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