According to the United Nations, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is either lost or wasted each year. From this, a staggering 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies are thrown away over the Christmas period alone.
There are a host of ways to ensure we minimse waste, take care of the environment and ensure the things we no longer want or need see brighter days. Herewith is Vogue‘s guide to a greener holiday season…
Give thought to how you present your gifts
When it comes to gifting, second thoughts are seldom given to the amount of paper we waste on wrapping presents. As beautiful as our tokens may look, a shocking 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are thrown away each year. Instead of wrapping all of your presents individually, consider Wrag Wrap from Reyousable, or a pretty gift box or bag that your loved ones can actually keep and make use of once the festivities are over.
Unsure which paper is recyclable? A quick and fast rule from Recycle Now: if the paper scrunches in your hand, it’s free from foil and other non-paper materials. The recyclable wrapping paper from Paperchase is also a safe bet.
Many local councils will also arrange to collect any recyclable paper. Check out the recycling banks at your local supermarkets for extra options too.
Consider using a measuring app, such as Save The Food’s Guest-Imator to help plan a sufficient shopping list. The Guest-Imator is specifically for dinner parties and calculates how much food you need based on the number of guests you’re hosting – and how big their appetites are – so you don’t over buy and subsequently end up throwing food away.
Deck the halls – with up-cycled goods or nature’s very best
Unless you have quality decorations that you re-use every Christmas, buying and discarding decorations each year increases plastic waste and decreases what’s in your wallet. Instead, get creative with what you have around you. Collect pine cones and leaves from your garden and decorate them with eco glitter, or sprinkle branches with biodegradable artificial snow from the likes of Etsy for a rustic winter wonderland feel. Old fruit in the kitchen? Bake oranges and lemons in slices and hang on the tree as decorations for a retro festive aesthetic.
Get your festive feng shui down
Out with the old and in with the new. If you receive furniture or have brought new items to spruce up your home for Christmas, there are a handful of charities who will make use of your old wares. The British Heart Foundation take unwanted furniture and can even arrange to collect larger items, such as wardrobes, from your door. Proceeds are then put towards research for the treatment and prevention of heart and circulatory diseases.
Find a tree to stand the test of time
Arguably the focal point of any home during the Christmas period, nothing feels more festive than the look and smell of a real tree. But, the weeks following Christmas at local landfills aren’t so pleasant. Try to buy rooted trees that you can replant in your garden and use again the following year, or, for felled trees, check if your council has a tree recycling scheme.