Zero Waste Christmas

There are 3 main reasons to strive for a Zero Waste Christmas:

  1. Reduce what is going to landfill
  2. Stop rubbish affecting wildlife and
  3. Because people cannot afford to keep spending things they do not need

Ways to Achieve Zero Waste this Christmas

  1. Cut back on your food waste

Christmas is often seen as the time to eat food and be Merry –  but what about all the food that is wasted? Either scrapped from plates or going past its sell by date before it is even eaten. Instead of going overboard with food why not just buy what you normally do (carefully meal-planned) but throw in the odd treat here and there.compost bin and contents

Key tips:

  • Think about portion sizes
  • Think about how you can reuse leftovers
  • Utilise the freezer

For other tips on Reducing Food Waste all year round see my previous post.

  1. Shop with Zero Waste in Mind

There is nothing worse when Christmas is over than to see piles and piles of rubbish over spilling from bins. To help avoid this you need to shop with zero waste in mind. Start by thinking about buying a real Christmas tree – and if you buy one in a pot then you can reuse it every year. If not make sure you find out about your local treecycling facilities. If you prefer to use an artificial Christmas tree why not see if you can get hold of one second hand before buying a new one. When buying presents ask yourself if you are buying them just for the sake of it and think about their packaging. Wrap presents in paper that can be recycled at the very least – or consider repurposing old paper or fabric. Why not a swapping party, to both organise rid yourself of unwanted things whilst receiving new ones at no extra cost? If money isn’t the issue why not donate your unwanted gifts and decorations to a charity shop. You can also find some great treasures there for yourself at a fraction of the cost and helping a good waste christmas rail of clothes in charity shop

I was invited along to my local Emmaus shop to take part in the Emmaus Second Hand Santa Challenge. With a different theme each week they are demonstrating how to create bespoke Christmas decorations, jumpers, party outfits and gifts on a budget. With all the money raised in the charity shops going directly back into helping to support more than 750 formerly homeless people across the country. Emmaus give people a home for as long as they need it, as well as meaningful work, training and support so that they can re-build their lives.  Emmaus charity shops are the perfect place to find a mixture of items that can be reused, altered or upcycled into a unique and personalised gift. I was surprised at how big the range of items were available – including unopened items, at amazing prices (for example all clothes are just £3.00). Second-hand gifts are just as thoughtful and with some unique wrapping can look extra special.

Zero Waste Christmas crackers, cup teddy, star decoration and red twine all taken from Emmaus to reuse as a new gift

I was challenged to take things from my local Emmaus Charity Shop to show how I would find a number of products available that could be reused, altered or upcycled into a unique and personalised gift. I was amazed at the range of things stocked including clothes, cups, jewellery, clothes, mattresses, chairs, tables, decorations, board games, toys, hampers, plates, jigsaws, electricals – see some of my pictures on Facebook in the Emmaus album.

I thought it would make a great stocking filler or secret santa to simply pop this festive teddy into the cup with some crackers, I then wrapped it in some festive cellophane and attached this pretty star decoration on the outside. My photos really do not do it justice – but I think you can agree it makes a lovely gift. And this cost just £2 and the cellophane I already had = result!

Zero Waste Christmas second hand cup, teddy, crackers and star all wrapped up

Find more Christmas Wrapping Ideas on my Pinterest Board

  1. Repurposing Christmas Materials

Of course recycling things you don’t need after Christmas, rather than sending them to landfill, is obviously really important: But we should of course try to reuse before we recycle. For example with Christmas cards you could reusethem as gift tags, make Christmas jigsaws, decorating clothes pegs, frame the pictures, make bunting, and use them for Christmas crafts. Or you can even make a gift box from them or next year’s decorations!! Of course the same can be said of the packaging the gifts come in.

I found some photo baubles in Emmaus and I reused them with the Minifigures in the Star Wars LEGO advent to make new themed decorations. Coupled with some blue baubles and crackers (also found at Emmaus) these can also be put together to make a fantastic Second Hand Santa Gift.LEGO Star Wars bauble

LEGO have a wider plan to become increasingly sustainable ahead of 2030 and this year have launched their sustainable advent calendars in the three themes (LEGO® Star WarsTM, LEGO® City and LEGO® Friends). They aim to save around a million plastic trays from landfills this year with the trays being made from 100% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper, and can be recycled along with the box. Of course what is even better is to reuse the box before recycling. They make great seedling trays or can be used for craft!

Here are some quick and easy ideas we came up with by using the LEGO trays by cutting out each square. Next we painted them and finally just glued on some items to make the various festive characters. My son also just drew on a white one – making it a snowman.

Christmas craft from LEGO advent trays

Do visit My Zero Waste for lots of advice and tips on how to help cut down what goes to landfill.

Bloggers with posts on Using up Excess Christmas Food:

I was invited to products from Emmaus for the Santa Challenge and I received a LEGO® Star WarsTM, advent calendar in order to be creative with the trays. Words and opinions are honest and my own.

3 thoughts on “Zero Waste Christmas”

  1. Great post! I do have issues with the amount of waste people produce at Christmas and think it’s important for people to think carefully about what they are actually buying and what will happen to it ultimately. If the answer is that it will end up in landfill, they need to think again!

  2. Thanks for mentioning my post! I love the inserts and I did also use them as seedling trays when I had time to garden until about 3 or 4 years ago. I hated throwing them out because they were a perfect size 😀

  3. Oh I love this! We very rarely waste food but I do get a bit cross about the amount of packaging and unwanted gifts wasted at Christmas. Great idea to buy from a charity shop, it’s something I often do.


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