Thursday, 10 January 2019

Things We've Done To Be Greener In ... December

December is possibly the hardest month to be green. Christmas, a hugely significant festival to me, nowadays feels like a big consumerist binge and it's very hard to get away from that unless you live in a remote backwater away from all of society. But we did what we could to stay eco-friendly. How?


Reined in our buying


A popular motto for eco-living is 'reduce, reuse, recycle' and they're in that order for a reason. One of the best things we can do for the planet is buy less stuff. With that in mind, we did what we could to make sure the presents we bought weren't excessive and were things that would actually be appreciated and used. With Girl Child we only bought things from her list, and shared out the items on her list with family so that the number of 'surprise' presents was limited. This helps her too as she struggles a lot with surprises. Similarly with food, we were careful not to over cater. We had a traditional Christmas dinner at my mum's on Christmas Eve so to avoid waste we chose a meal that we would all eat for Christmas Day - and that was lasagne!! Not having to chuck away leftovers did make me very happy!

Shopped local


I love online shopping. It's so hard to find time to go to actual shops when you have two young children. And while there might be some argument that centralised warehouses and grouped deliveries might be greener than we think, the amount of packaging required for online purchases is a concern (as are the conditions and rights for the workers). I can't say with all honesty that I did no online shopping this year, but we made more of an effort to buy from actual shops. The reduction in packaging we had to throw away before we could even wrap presents was very noticeable!

Tried to be wrapping-savvy


I have a confession. This is the first Christmas I've known that not all wrapping paper is recyclable. Before now I've shoved everything in the green bin, without even removing sellotape. Oops! But this year I learnt the rules and even double checked with my local council. Anything that isn't foil or glittery and passed the scrunch test (stayed in a ball after scrunching) can be recycled here as long as you remove tape and tags. So we used compliant wrapping paper ourselves and properly sorted the paper we got to make sure it was in a state fit for recycling. Some people recommend using scarves to wrap presents but I could see that getting expensive, especially when it's not yet widespread so you wouldn't be getting many scarves back in return. And I'm too clumsy to manage tying with ribbon instead of using tape. But it doesn't have to be hard work to wrap in a green way - just check local guidelines and buy accordingly.


What did you do to have a green Christmas?

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