Winter holidays are the most wonderful time of the year for a lot of us, but unfortunately it’s also the most wasteful time for both the planet and our wallets.
But cheer up and hear us out: as firm believers of the zero-waste lifestyle at NO!W No Waste, we have prepared a list of tips on how to have a Merry green Christmas, by limiting your waste and expenses.
1. Choose your decorations well
Every year it’s the same dilemma. Do we chose a real tree for its great smell and childhood nostalgia—but also creating an ecological disaster—or do we go for the plastic tree, cheaper but no better for the planet?
- Decorate your existing plants—this is very practical for people with limited space and will give your cactus its 15 minutes of fame!
- Recreate your own Christmas tree lookalike with unexpected objects, such as cushions, a ladder or lights on the wall.
- Make your own decorations. Instead of buying ones seen on every other Christmas tree, get some paper, paint, and be creative.
2. Rethink your gifts
We all know this feeling of stress when searching for ideas, and this sometimes leads us to running around the shops on Christmas Eve. So, for a greener Christmas, breath in and rethink what gifting really should be about.
- Offer experiences, not objects. Tickets for a play, a concert, or a dinner together at a restaurant will create happy memories together.
- Make presents yourself, because a handmade gift is always a treasure, both for what it is and for the time you spent on it. Paint, draw, sing, write or cook! Your friends will appreciate this effort, and maybe have a good laugh as well.
- Recycle something you own. You know that scarf you own that your sister secretly adores? We bet she’d cherish both the object and the feeling of having a little bit of you with her everyday.
- Do it Secret Santa style this time, and randomly pick one person to gift. This helps reduce overconsumption and will bring back the importance of the one present you’ll receive.
3. Change your wrapping style
We all know the story of wrapping paper. As pretty as it is, it will be torn apart and thrown away on the morning of the 25th. We found some alternatives to avoid this and provide wrappings for the next celebrations.
- Furoshiki is the Japanese art of reusing pieces of cloth to wrap your presents. Reduce paper waste and enable your friends to reuse these fabric gift-wraps. And what a great conversation starter, on the importance of reducing one’s waste.
- If you prefer ready-made fabric gift-wraps, smart pockets—available at NO!W No Waste—are adorable! These are the same concept as the furoshiki but no origami skills are needed here. Just put your present inside and tie a pretty knot!
- Find some recycled paper, use your shiniest pen and let the artist in you do the work for a beautiful, handmade gift card. Your friends will definitely keep this for years.
4. Choose the right quantity of food
Food waste during holidays is a big deal. And we hate throwing food away as much as we love eating it. So to avoid this, we thought of a few alternatives:
- Prepare small plates of every dish and share, inspired by the Chinese custom. This avoids over-serving yourself and still enables you to taste everything.
- Give away your leftovers. Send guests home with takeaway bags and they’ll have a meal for the next day. You’ll also have an empty fridge!
- Don’t forget charitable giving. If you know someone who can’t afford a nice meal, save a bit from every dish and hopefully bring a smile to someone’s face this holiday season. Try Feeding HK and Foodlink for a start.
Good luck with your new zero-waste lifestyle, and happy holidays from all of us at NO!W No Waste!
Written By: Victoria Journeau-Gagnon
Edited By: Adriane Rysz