In 2020, it was projected that Ireland would generate over 81,000 tonnes of packaging waste over the festive season. And that’s not including the other waste generated during the holidays either!
Festive times usually encourage people to be more careless with spending and more attentive to frivolous things. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.
If you want to celebrate eco-friendly and green holidays, then you’re in the right place! Here are some ways you can practice sustainability and still have fun celebrating.
DECORATE WITH LED LIGHTS
Did you know that LED lights use around 75% less energy than incandescent lights? This should make you happy, as you can still go all out on decorating your house and still do your part in reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, you’ll save on your utility bills too, as they are energy efficient!
Not only do LED lights use significantly less energy, but they also have a longer lifespan than your classic light bulbs decorations. You won’t have to replace your holiday lights as often, which also saves you money and keeps plastic parts out of the landfill for just a bit longer.
USE NATURAL DECORATIONS
Take a look around at the decorations sold in shops, and you’ll notice that most of them are made of plastic. Every year, these are put up for a few weeks, then taken down and some are thrown out in the bin.
If you find cute plastic decorations you must have, at least put them away for the rest of the year and then reuse them once the holiday season rolls around again.
Otherwise, opt for natural decorations if you can. Decorations made of wood and other natural substances will be biodegradable. Also, they’ll add a nice rustic touch to your home!
You can also encourage the kids in your family to make decorations from cardboard and other materials that you might have laying around in your house. This makes for a great activity for kids (or for adults) and it adds a more personal feel to your Christmas decorations.
HOLIDAY CARD ALTERNATIVES: SEND DIGITAL CARDS
It’s an age-old tradition to send your loved ones greeting cards as or alongside holiday gifts. While they might be nice to display for a few weeks, they’ll end up in the bin at some point.
Sending digital cards reduces paper waste. And if you send your loved ones heartfelt messages, they can always go back in their emails to reread them whenever they want!
REUSE WRAPPING PAPER
Do your family members and friends make fun of you for carefully unwrapping gifts so you don’t ruin the pretty wrapping paper? Well, doing so has come in handy, because now you can reuse your stash!
Just make sure you don’t use the wrapper paper for the original person who gave it to you. Or if you do, explain that you’re trying to be eco-friendlier. Chances are, they’ll understand, and they’ll take up this wrapping gift idea habit for themselves! Also, you might want to look for wrapping paper made out of recycled paper! Many glossy wrapping paper options are not recyclable.
USE MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS FOR WRAPPING PAPER
Maybe you didn’t save wrapping paper from previous years. However, don’t go running out to buy more just yet!
Instead, you should get creative and bring out all the unread magazines and newspapers you have lying around. If one page doesn’t fit all the way around your gift, don’t worry. Try piecing together sheets for a unique and artistic look.
Not only does using magazines and newspapers as wrapping paper give these pieces of paper new life, reducing the overall environmental footprint, but it can also give your presents a personalised and special look that your recipients are sure to love.
USE CLOTHS FOR WRAPPING PAPER
Another backup plan if you don’t have any of the above is to use cloths for wrapping paper instead. We’re not talking about rags; look around for dish towels, scarves, bandanas, etc., anything that you don’t use anymore but could work for wrapping gifts.
Again, this gives unused items new life and also makes your present look nice. This route is actually better since these materials are more durable and can be reused more times than reused wrapping paper, magazines, and newspapers, giving your holiday decorations a new look, and getting you one step closer to celebrating eco holidays.
FOREGO WRAPPING GIFTS AND HAVE A SCAVENGER HUNT
You can make things easier on yourself and just forego wrapping your presents, ensuring you’ll have a more sustainable holiday season. But to keep the magic of the holidays intact, you should hide the gifts around the house and have each person look for theirs based on clues you’ve given them.
This lets your household have a fun game to play together and helps you avoid the lackluster act of handing over an unwrapped gift to them.
MAKE DIY GIFTS
We’d all like a new iPad for Christmas, but that’s not always feasible. It might be out of your budget and you might already have a tablet that’s still in workable order.
The Christmas spirit is that it’s the thought that counts. So, forget about the fancy and expensive gifts and think smaller but more personal.
For instance, your partner might love it if you handmake a bath bomb for them to use the next time they relax in the tub. Or they might choke back a tear if you put together a scrapbook that immortalises all your treasured moments together.
Making DIY presents won’t make you seem cheap, so long as you do it right. Sentimental gifts will go a lot further as well, and will help you reduce carbon emissions, especially with eco-friendly gifts!
HAVE A 1 GIFT RULE
Often, we get swept up with consumerism and we go crazy with gift buying. It can feel like the more presents we buy someone, the more it shows that we love them.
But this isn’t true at all! There are plenty of other ways to show you care for them, especially with the eco-friendly alternatives in this article.
You can cut down on waste by having a 1 gift rule for the family. This can actually make the holidays better because instead of receiving 5 trinkets that’ll go to waste, you’ll receive 1 meaningful gift you’ll use for years to come!
Another alternative to avoid consumerism is to give experiences instead of objects. While they’re not something immediately tangible, they can still be an excellent present, especially if it’s something the recipient’s been wanting for a long time.
For example, maybe your partner has mentioned they really want to go to their favourite band’s concert. Surprise them with a pair of VIP tickets and you can both make some unforgettable memories!
Whatever you decide on for your loved ones, make sure they take lots of pictures. These can then help them remember their Christmas gift fondly.
BUY BUDDALIFE GIFTS
A great way to have eco-friendly holidays is to buy from eco-conscious brands, like Buddalife. We strive to bring you products that leave as little impact on the environment as possible.
This means that not only are our items made from recycled materials, but also, we create them in a conscious fashion. In addition, our products are either biodegradable or recyclable, so you can toss your things without guilt once you’ve worn them out.
We’ve got different lines of products as well. For example, you can get yoga massage balls, memory foam Buddabags, sustainable water bottles, lounge shoes, herbal teas, and even dog beds for your furry friend.
We’ve got something for everyone! So, everyone on your Christmas list will be pleased with any Buddalife product.
AVOID USING DISPOSABLE SILVERWARE AND PLATES
We know that having a bunch of guests over for Christmas dinner can mean lots of prep work. And at the end of it all, you just want to toss everything in the bin and call it a night.
But this can add so much waste to landfills, especially when you consider how many other families are having Christmas dinner as well.
Stick to regular dishes and silverware, which can be washed the next day when you’re recharged. Or you can have an older child or spouse wash everything for you.
An added benefit of using real dishes and silverware is your dinner party will be more elegant. On the same topic, make sure you are avoiding food waste as well by having a tight food shopping list, reducing portions and the overall quantity of food you cook during the festive period.
RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE
Once the holidays are over and you’ve taken off all the decorations from your tree, you’ll just dump it. But think about it: 450,000 trees were sold in Ireland in 2019. Can you imagine all of these trees sitting in a landfill?
The good news is, Christmas tree recycling programmes are popping up all over the world. For instance, in Dublin, the council will collect your real tree free of charge and recycle it for you.
Try find your local recycling programme and ensure that your tree is disposed of properly for a cleaner conscience.
HAVE YOURSELF AN ECO-FRIENDLY HOLIDAY
If you’ve felt guilty in the past about how much waste you generate during the holidays, then it’s time to put a stop to that. By following the eco-friendly tips we’ve given you here in this article, you’ll be able to contribute to a healthy planet while still enjoying all the festivities.
Are you on the lookout for eco-conscious products? Then check out what we have available here!