5 Sustainable Ways to Lower Your Plastic Use This Christmas

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and gifts - but they're also a time when our reliance on single-use plastics skyrockets. From wrapping paper and gift bags to Christmas lights and disposable dinnerware, it's all too easy to let our environmental impact slide during the busy holiday season.

An ING survey in 2019 showed that a staggering amount of Christmas presents end up in landfill. An estimated $400 million was spent on 10 million unwanted gifts and a substantial amount of these presents contain single-use plastics such as gift packaging, wrapping paper and decorations that are also thrown away and are harmful for the environment. It was seen that waste increases by 30% at Christmas time.

But it doesn't have to be that way! There are plenty of small changes we can all make to lower our plastic use this Christmas, without compromising on festive fun. Here are 5 sustainable ways to have a plastic-free holiday season.

1. Choose Reusable Wrapping Materials
One of the easiest ways to reduce your plastic waste this Christmas is to ditch the disposable wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows in favour of more sustainable alternatives. Fabric wrappers can be used again and again, and look just as good as traditional paper wrappers. You can even get creative and make your own fabric wrappers out of old clothes or scrap fabric!

If you're not a fan of fabric wrappers, try using brown craft paper and decorating it with stamps, paints, or other craft supplies. Brown craft paper is recyclable, so you can feel good knowing that your wrapping materials won't end up in landfill after the holiday season is over.

2. Give Second-hand Gifts
Another great way to reduce your plastic waste this Christmas is to give second-hand gifts instead of new ones whenever possible. Toys, clothes, books, and household items can all be sourced second-hand - and your friends and family will love them just as much as if you'd bought them brand new! Not only will you save money by giving second-hand gifts, but you'll also be doing your part to reduce the mountains of plastic waste produced by the gift-giving industry every year. Win-win!

3. Make Your Own Advent Calendar
One of the most fun - and eco-friendly - ways to countdown to Christmas is to  make your own advent calendar out of recycled materials. Toilet paper rolls or egg cartons make great bases for homemade advent calendars, which can then be filled with small treats or trinkets. You can even get the kids involved in making the calendar itself! Once Christmas is over, simply recycle your calendar and start planning next year's sustainable version.

4. Make Your Own Decorations
Get into the holiday spirit by making your own sustainable Christmas decorations. Recycled materials like newspaper, magazines, or cardboard can be turned into beautiful wreaths, garlands, ornaments, and more. You can also get your kids involved in the decorating process for some added fun!

5. Give Edible Gifts
Delicious edible gifts are a great way to avoid using unnecessary packaging. Homemade cookies, candied fruit placed in an old tin or baking paper or perhaps a nice bottle of olive oil are all excellent options. If you're feeling really creative, try making your own infused liqueurs or preserves. 

With a little creativity and planning, it's easy to have a plastic-free Christmas! By making a few different switches you can enjoy all the festive fun without generating any extra waste. So what are you waiting for? Get started on your sustainable holiday preparations today!