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HOW TO... have yourself a waste-free little Christmas!

HOW TO... have yourself a waste-free little Christmas!

Monday 23 December 2019

HOW TO... have yourself a waste-free little Christmas!


Everyone knows that the environment isn’t just for Christmas, but along with decorations, presents, wrapping paper and parties – piles of festive rubbish can quickly mount up.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but what are the best ways to make sure it’s not also the most wasteful?

With these handy ‘life-hacks’ from the Government of Jersey’s Recycling Manager Emma Richardson-Calladine, you can safely add waste-free to your Christmas list this year…

1. Let’s wrap this up… sustainably!

Christmas wrapping paper cannot be recycled due to the low quality of paper and the non-paper content such as metallic paper, sticky tape and glitter.

Think about alternatives such as using old magazines and comics and matching these to your friends and family, for example wrap your stylish friend’s gift in an old copy of a fashion magazine and wrap children’s presents in old comics.

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Pictured: There are more eco-friendly ways to wrap up your Christmas presents.

There are also lots of ideas online that include using material such as scarfs, table cloths and tea towels and brown paper. 

2. Make memories, not waste

Rather than buying things, make memories with your loved ones with cinema or theatre tickets, a fancy meal, afternoon tea or a spa treatment. 

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Pictured: "Rather than buying things, make memories with your loved ones".

Memberships are fantastic gifts that last all year and courses such as sewing, cookery and photography can help develop new skills and give your friends and family an opportunity to explore new interests.

3. Gift in teams

Team up with other friends and/or family to buy one special gift. This will help you share the cost and the shopping, reduce waste as there will be less wrapping and your gift may last longer.

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Pictured: Team up to find the best Christmas gifts!

Secret Santa isn’t just for the workplace, start a friends and family Secret Santa this year by putting names in a hat along with a present suggestion.

4. Love the pre-loved 

Second hand doesn’t mean second best, there are some wonderful finds in second hand shops.  Find unique gifts that are made to last and make your money go further.

5. Get your craft on!

You don’t need to be an expert cook or crafter to give homemade presents. Filling a decorated jar with a friend’s favourite sweets, finding a second hand cup and adding a candle are examples of very thoughtful presents. 

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Pictured: "You don’t need to be an expert cook or crafter to give homemade presents."

You can also help your loved ones reduce their shopping bills and get their taste buds tingling by opting to swap individual bought gifts for festive goodies like cakes and snacks. 

6. Shop smart

So much food ends up in the bin over Christmas.   One simple and effective tip is to plan your meals before you go shopping. Make a list so you don’t over buy. This will save you money and prevent food waste.

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Pictured: The island's recycling manager thinks shopping smarter is better.

Think about portion sizes and check the use by dates so that you buy what you need. Before you go shopping also check your cupboards so you don’t shop for things you already have.  And don’t be afraid to ask family and friends what they want to eat, after lots of Christmas treats a light meal of soup or salad may get the thumbs up. 

7. Savour the leftovers

Leftovers can be just as good as the meal they came from and sometimes even better! Get creative and remember to use your freezer. That may sound very basic but freezing your leftovers will help you save time and money in the future and not force you to use everything in days after Christmas.

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Pictured: "Leftovers can be just as good as the meal they came from and sometimes even better!"

Leftover drinks can also be kept for another day. For example freezing small amounts of wine or beer in ice cube trays means they can be added to your cooking in the future.

8. Geek out over eco gifting

Help your friends and family live more sustainably in 2020 with the gifts you buy, for example home composting kits including a composter, kitchen caddy and instructions are available from local garden centres for just £10. 

Other ideas which can come in lots of fantastic colours and styles are a refillable water bottle or hot drinks cup, sealed containers for keeping leftovers and food fresh and a set of recycling boxes or bags. 

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Pictured: Give the gift of sustainability this Christmas.

For gifts and decorations that require a power source, think about solar powered or wind up options and, of course, rechargeable batteries.

Packaging is a huge source of waste, particularly at Christmas, so buying locally may help to prevent this and remember to take shopping bags with you and saying no to bags at the checkout. 

9. Dress up old looks

It’s estimated that adults only wear about half of the clothing they own so don’t splash out on a new Christmas outfit. Instead, dress up what you already have. Adding some accessorises, pairing your dress or shirt with something different or changing your hair or makeup can make bring new life to your wardrobe.

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Pictured: Make the most of your existing wardrobe before buying something new.

Fast fashion has a huge negative impact on the environment and all of the Christmas outfits that are worn once or twice add to this problem.  Buck this trend and love the clothes already hanging in your wardrobe this Christmas.

10. Get ahead of the New Year’s resolutions

Don’t wait until 1st January 2020 to live more sustainably, Christmas is a perfect time to start the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Recycling is an easy one to start with. Everyone can recycle their glass and there can be a lot of glass thrown away at Christmas! Bottle banks are available for St. Helier residents and household glass collections are provided in the other parishes. 

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Pictured: Check your nearest recycling facility before Christmas.

Eight of the twelve parishes now provide household recycling collections with St. John, St. Mary, Trinity, St. Lawrence, St. Brelade, St. Helier, St. Saviour and St. Peter all collecting paper, cardboard, metal packaging and plastic bottles.

Mini recycling centres can also be found across the island and the Household Reuse and Recycling Centre and Household Garden Waste Reception are at La Collette. 

The Household Reuse and Recycling Centre at La Colette also includes the Acorn Reuse Centre where you can take things you no longer want but someone else could use.

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