Five Tips To Cut Waste At Christmas
17 Dec 2019
Ugly jumpers and piles of rubbish. Hallmarks or every Christmas. Five tips to reduce Christmas waste.
Cap the wrap
Small newsflash, but Chrimbo wrapping paper is often dyed or laminated or contains non-paper additives (gold bits, silver bits, glittery bits, plasticky bits). We might throw it all in the recycling, but it's not in fact recyclable.
More and more retailers do now sell recyclable Christmas wrapping paper – so if in doubt look for the usual symbol.
But here's a bigger newsflash (and a better solution): most recipients (especially younger ones) don't care how well wrapped their swag is.
You know it's true - gifting's more about what's inside. So play the game smarter this Christmas: reuse boxes, fix on old newspapers and magazines, and take your scissors to that stack of paper shopping bags.
If you really must spruce up your DIY wrap, hand-drawn doodles will suffice. Then, voila, for the 0.6 seconds the recipient cares about the wrapping job - you're golden. A few quid saved too.
Stick to the shopping list
A 2018 report by Unilever said that the UK wastes the equivalent of four million Christmas dinners each year. Two million turkeys, 74 million mince pies - and that's just one meal. This doesn't include the Boxing Day buffet or the family meal on the 27th.
In order to cut food waste, a key first step is not over-shopping. That means knowing your quantities and not getting sucked in by the Christmas deals.
So let's aim, this year, to figure out what the family wants to eat and prepare that. Not more than that. Just that. You know there'll be leftovers, you've seen in enough Christmasses to know how it goes.
Do you need a whole turkey for four of you? Will anyone actually eat those sprouts? Why oh why do we serve three desserts? There's always leftover roast potatoes, that's a scientific fact.
Christmas dinner is misleading, it's a feast. For many of us, Christmas dinner is three courses. So even if we've gone to some lengths to reign in the quantities of what we buy, cook and serve, there will be leftovers. We're conditioned this way.
So one way to limit our food waste is to be creative with leftovers. Before binning our potatoes and veg, what about a soup? Before chucking the turkey, what about the dog? Or why not throw it in a pie. Channel your Ross from Friends and experiment with a moist-maker. Remember that the freezer is a friend - binning food should be a last resort.
Be mindful of the power
Christmas, now, means gadgets. If the family has gathered at base for Christmas together, that's a lot of phones and laptops and tablets that'll need constant charging. Then there's the extra strain on the TV and the lights and the heating. Christmas is a powerful time.
While charging mobiles and laptops might feel like a necessity, families can restore balance by limiting TV and not letting it stay idly on in the background. Be mindful of lights, too, and turn off the fairy bulbs at night.
Candles are a nice way to add atmosphere - and keep down energy costs. Same with heating: more jumpers = less cost.
Have a nature day (or two)
We can all be a little guilty of seeing Christmas as indoor time. It seems fair enough: the fridge is full, we've got new toys to play with and, after all, it's bloomin' cold outside.
But given Christmas is supposed to be about family time, why not enjoy each other's company (at least one day) in the great outdoors. We have jackets and gloves, right?
What's this got to do with waste? Well, spend a day outside – a nice walk or a local park – and that's a whole stretch of time we're not watching TV, guzzling power, pumping our central heating and burning the lightbulbs.
Power saved, cash saved, family time in the can.
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