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Plastica Gals' top tips to reduce Christmas waste

Plastica Gals' top tips to reduce Christmas waste

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Plastica Gals' top tips to reduce Christmas waste


With Christmas often equalling a mass of leftovers and wrapping paper, a pair of activist performers are on hand to help islanders reduce their waste this year.

Plastica Gals are a live art duo made up of Jersey-born Bryony Harris and UK performer Emma Gannon, making zero waste, DIY style, activist theatre about plastic pollution and climate change.

In this piece, the activist pair give Express their tips for a less wasteful Christmas...

“Jersey beans know what it’s like heading to King Street on Thursday evening late night shopping in the lead up to Christmas.

We imagine this year will be crazier with covid restrictions, masks, queues for shops, running around, dodging all the other shoppers, frantically remembering that you haven't bought your Dad a card, and the one thing your mum asked for is out of stock everywhere!

In doing this though, Christmas also has become a time filled with a huge amount of unnecessary waste. It's estimated that every Christmas tree bought in the UK this year put end to end, would be the equivalent of a return trip to New York.

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Pictured: "Jersey beans know what it’s like heading to King Street on Thursday evening late night shopping in the lead up to Christmas."

Combine that with the 4,500 tonnes of tin foil, the 13,350 tonnes of glass and enough wrapping paper to go round the equator nine times - and we're talking about a huge amount of rubbish – and that doesn't even touch on the gifts and gadgets that are chucked away because they're broken, old or ugly.

Christmas should not cost you the Earth, literally.

Luckily, Plastica Gals are here with our Top 5 Tips for reducing your waste this Christmas!

1. REDUCE what you consume/buy

Before you buy endless amounts of gifts try to think whether that person really needs or wants that. Why not get them one or two really nice gifts they’ll treasure rather than a ton of gifts they forget about by New Year’s Eve:

  • Go for gifts that aren’t wrapped in plastic, or that don’t have lots of packaging such as books
  • Try to support independent and local businesses this Christmas, they need the business to keep afloat. Or you can buy second hand!
  • Why not try cutting down on meat this Christmas? At least for some days of the festive break? According to the Soil Association, "Food is the single most important, everyday way for people to reduce their own environmental impact."
    You can find amazing vegan or vegetarian recipes online, and there’s tons of fake meat suppliers out there too. We recommend Quorn, ‘THIS’ or The Vegetarian Butcher. 
  • Alternatively for those wanting meat, try choosing organic and free-range, and support small-scale farming wherever possible. It might be a bit more expensive, but it's better to buy less than more of the cheap and cheerless intensively-farmed meat.
  • Try and cut down on food waste. Choose things that are light on packaging, or buy loose items. If you end up over-catering, don't bin what's left. Transforming leftovers can be a great way to create new meals, save money and cut waste. Why not donate some to an elderly neighbor, local food bank or soup kitchen? Compost any other waste.

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Pictured: "Transforming leftovers can be a great way to create new meals, save money and cut waste."


2. REUSE wrapping paper, gift bags and other Christmas decorations

Wrapping paper isn’t recyclable! It’s often single use because it’s wrapped in plastics or glitter. This year try to keep some of the funky and beautiful designs you receive so you can reuse it in the future. 

As long as you don’t scrunch the paper up too much, it’s easy to reuse. Plus, not only will you be saving the planet, you’ll be saving money by not buying your own; equally you can use newspapers, old clothes, or recyclable paper.

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Pictured: Reusing gift bags is a simple way of cutting down waste.

Gift bags are gorgeous and can make receiving presents feel a little more special. Have a look through your cupboards and see if you have any, reuse the gift bag and we promise, if you accidentally give it back to whoever gave it to you, they won’t remember. If they do you can explain you’re reusing it in order to do your bit to save the planet!

Make your own gift tags - these can be personalised, coloured in your best friend’s favourite colour and pattern. You can always reuse previously used wrapping paper and maybe some old cards too to keep with the Christmassy theme!

 

3. RECYCLE/UPCYCLE old decorations

You don’t need new ones every year, keep using what you have; tinsel is mostly plastic anyway, so try to make it last! This goes for synthetic trees too - they take an enormous amount of energy to manufacture but as long as you look after them, they can last for years.

If you buy real trees, you can also have the option of recycling them once you're finished - the trees can be shredded, then used as mulch on plants in parks, or on woodland paths. Or even better - grow your own if you can, or use a large indoor plant like a yucca, palm or ficus.

Our favourite option is Tree Rental - more places, such as garden centres and plant nurseries, now offer a Christmas tree hire service over the festive season. Depending on who you rent from, when the tree is returned they continue growing it.

Decorate your tree with LED lights. They heavily reduce your carbon footprint because LEDs use just a fraction of the energy of other bulbs meaning less gas and oil being burned.


4. REMIX your ideas!

Get creative with Christmas presents. People always appreciate a well thought out homemade gift. It’s something people can remember forever. It can make people laugh, cry and feel truly blessed knowing you put time and effort into it for them.

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Pictured: "It can make people laugh, cry and feel truly blessed knowing you put time and effort into it for them."

If you’re artistic you can make your own Christmas cards. Or even better, cut down on paper waste and send e-cards.

 

5. REMEMBER what Christmas is all about

After a difficult year with businesses going bust, redundancies and general anxieties, we want to help you have a calm, cosy and joyful Christmas this year. It’s a time of love and togetherness; let’s use this Christmas as an opportunity to celebrate, and spend time with our families and loved ones. It’s about cherishing the time that we have with them. 

As Dr Seuss says, 'Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.'"

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