How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

So, we’re approaching that time of the year again where wallets get lighter, and the novelty item industry sees a sharp spike in profits. There is, however, another industry that sees a significant in demand, and if you’re reading this blog post, it’s likely you’ve already deduced that the industry in question is the one Packitsafe is in: packaging.

Just look at what is required in order to get an item to sale. A toy has been made, but it will need a good-looking box to be sold in. In order to make shipping said toys across the globe economically viable, you will need to store a large number in packaging boxes and have many of these boxes secured on pallets for distribution. Throughout this process there are numerous amounts of packaging that is needed, from boxes, to labels, to bubble wrap, to pallets, to wrapping, and much, much more. Demand for this understandably increases around Christmas in conjunction with added demand for gifts. That’s a lot of packaging. This also doesn’t include items like wrapping paper, gift tags, Christmas cards, and decorative bows. When taken on a family scale, that doesn’t seem like much, but when you multiply those families in the millions, then the resources being used for just one day of the year is enormous.

 

But we’re not likely to cancel Christmas any time soon are we, so the question then becomes, how can we mitigate the waste this holiday generates? Fear not, for there are things every home can do, no matter how small, that can help reduce waste.

You may have noticed a change in wrapping paper over the years. We don’t mean in terms of quality, as there’s a variety of different types that can be found all over the high street to fit any budget, however much of what you find now actively states that it is made from recycled material. For some of us that are old enough, there were times when you could buy wrapping “paper” that was made entirely from a thin sheet of plastic. Unfortunately, this plastic was usually non-recyclable and generated a huge amount of waste purely by being single use. There has been an active move away from this kind of wrapping to the point where it is now difficult to come by.

But wrapping paper doesn’t have to be single use at all. How many people do you know that tend to keep the wrapping once they’ve opened their presents? It’s a perfectly valid waste saver. All you need to do is not tear open your presents like a madman, and you have paper you can store and reuse the following year? To same can be said for other decorative items we find on our presents. How many of you like to add bows, or ribbon? These are explicitly made from plastic, but they are certainly durable enough to be used repeatedly.

 

You will have probably noticed that decorations for your Christmas tree have become more durable over the years. The cheap plastic concertinaed decorations of old have been slowly phased out in favour of ones built from long lasting plastics that can be used for many, many years. You can find wreaths these days that boast a lifetime guarantee. Sure, they’re a bit more expensive but it cuts down on waste significantly. If you’re also proficient in arts and crafts, why not create your own decorations? There’s much to be said for repurposing old clothing into cloth baubles for your tree. How about a knitted caricature of Santa or an Angel?

Did you also know that you can rent a Christmas tree? Many of us have reusable plastic ones that live in the attic for much of the year, however there are some that still prefer the real thing. This is fine, of course, but it does require the harvesting of many trees for the festive season. There are companies now, however, that will rent a real tree out to you. All they ask is that you look after it for the length of time it’s rented, and when you’re done, they will collect it and replant it to be ready for the next year. The trees themselves are potted and require maintenance but it allows for their reuse for as long as they’re cared for.

These are just a handful of ways you can ensure your Christmas is more sustainable, and there are many more. Just remember, if you want to tear open your presents in an excitable fury, make sure the paper used is recyclable.

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