Family, food and celebration is how most of us want to spend Christmas but too often that includes single use items, plastic utensils and decorations, and non-recyclable gift wrapping. It is possible, with just a little forethought, to embrace a zero waste Christmas that is even more fun and beautiful than you might expect. By being mindful of what you buy and thinking ahead, you can create an eco-friendly Christmas that won't leave waste for years to come.
Image from @plantedinthewoods
From the plastic tree and tinsel to decorations and non-recyclable wrapping paper, Christmas can quickly fill your landfill bin. But with a little forethought, and perhaps some creativity, you can achieve a more thoughtful and low waste Christmas.
In terms of decorations, isn't it ironic that the symbolic Christmas tree, something entirely natural, is usually made from plastic nowadays? If you're in the market for a new tree, thinking outside the box might lead you to more natural options - even a living tree! But even if you already have a plastic tree, there's no time like the present to start making recycled or zero waste Christmas decorations.
Paper is a great place to start: paper chains can decorate your tree and paper or fabric bunting can look beautiful strung up around the house during parties. Egg cartons can be the basis for little bells or mushrooms with a bit of string and paint. Where all else fails, you can take your inspiration from nature, and use fallen gum nuts, leaves, and seedpods to create something lovely. Dried orange slices or cookie-cut dried orange peels are another beautiful and awesome idea!
Now that you have your house decorated, what about low waste gift wrapping? You can experiment using tea towels, scarves, or other fabrics to wrap gifts.
Our hemp & organic cotton muslin cloth and natural hessian burlap are great for gift wrapping and are sold in bulk by the meter in our store. Paired with our hemp twine or jute webbing, you can give gifts with a beautiful, rustic, Earthy vibe that are wrapped in totally reusable and compostable materials.
There's also nothing wrong with old fashioned butcher's paper – decorated or just left plain. The Who Gives a Crap paper packaging also makes wonderful, colourful wrapping paper so is definitely worth saving and reusing! If you do use any kind of paper wrapping, remember to also use paper tape or our natural Washi Tape instead of plastic sticky tape which won't biodegrade.
They say with gift giving it's the thought that counts and that can extend to how you wrap and package it. Put some thought not only into the materials you're using, but also who you're supporting. For example, gift cards and tags decorated by local artists, printed using vegetable ink, not only protect the environment from waste but also support people using their skills in positive ways.
Urban Revolution has a range of paper tape, cards, and plenty of ideas for gift wrapping in store to help you start your low waste Christmas journey. Check out some of our handy gift wrapping products here.
Image from @planetpartykits
Christmas can be a great time to catch up with friends, colleagues, and family and it can get hectic, but that doesn't mean it has to be wasteful. Consider the environmental impact of all the events you attend and host this year by thinking about what will happen to the plates, cups, and cutlery afterwards. An eco-friendly Christmas party doesn't have to be difficult or unusual, it just requires a little bit of planning ahead.
If you're attending an event, go prepared with your own cutlery, water bottle, and keep cup for hot drinks. You can even pack an insulated reusable wine glass or tumbler, if you feel the alternative provided by hosts may be single use plastic. Bamboo and reusable cutlery kits are compact and easy to pop in a bag or pocket on your way to an event.
If you're hosting an event then you have even more ability to reduce the waste it creates. Obviously reusable plates, cups, and cutlery are ideal but many people aren't able to provide enough for their events. This has sparked some great local community initiatives like Community Dishes and Planet Party Kits who allow you to borrow the equipment for your event, then clean and return it afterwards.
Image from @planetpartykits
If reusable alternatives aren't right for you, there are biodegradable disposable options like palm leaf plates and biodegradable single use cutlery. At Urban Revolution, we stock a wide range of biodegradable single-use options including serving platters, and even little bowls for dips and sauces.
The silly season can lead to a frenzy of activity which can sometimes lead to impulse purchases. With a little creativity and preparation, a zero waste Christmas can be an even better Christmas for you, your family, and the planet. Visit us in store for plenty more ideas!