Holidays are all about being together with your close friends and family. However, every year during Christmas and New Year we produce tons of waste – trees, wrapping paper, greetings cards, and food go to landfills. Doesn’t sound very festive, right? Here are a few things you can do and have a great holiday, eco-friendly holiday season!
The Christmas tree
There is an on-going dispute if the artificial trees are more eco-friendly than real ones. Producing one plastic tree requires more water and other resources than growing a real one, but if you use it for a decade, it surely is the better option. However, if you decide to get a real tree, it is better to buy one with certified origin. If you opt for a real tree, you can bring it to tree recycling post after the holidays. Another option is to create a new family tradition and craft your own tree from recycled materials or even – get a live, planted tree.
When buying decorations opt for ones made from natural materials such as wood, metal, paper or glass. These materials are durable and biodegradable. Not to mention they are often locally handcrafted and buying them means to support your community and cutting down your carbon footprint. Another option is simply to make ornaments using dried fruits and flowers, buts, salt dough and food dye. Avoid glitter, which is a plastic sheet cut into microscopic pieces. Use LED instead of regular lights to save electricity and connect all Christmas lighting to a timer to avoid forgetting the lights running during the daytime.
The Christmas Dinner
You can have a fabulous Christmas dinner, which is delicious, festive, and environmentally friendly:
- Buy local, seasonal produce for your meals to cut down your carbon prints and support local farmers.
- Opt for organic, free-range meat, instead of frozen supermarket packages. Avoid individually packed drinks and snacks, if you can live without your favourite soda, at least get a big bottle.
- Skip the store-bought beverages and make homemade hot cocoa and eggnog.
- Clear your refrigerator and freezer before the holidays to make enough space for leftovers and avoid food waste. Another way to prevent perfectly good food going down the trash is to bring a nice meal to an elderly neighbour or donate to a charity.
- Make the centrepiece for the table from branches, dried fruit and nuts.
- Skip the store-bought air fresheners and make your own from fruit skins, spice, and essential oils.
- Turn off the lights and surprise your family and guests with a candlelit dinner – a perfect way to immerse in the holiday spirit.
- Don’t use disposable plates and cutlery if you organise a bigger party at home. Instead, you can use your day-to-day dishes and load them in the dishwasher after the feast.
Gifts and Greeting Cards
Wrap the presents with pieces of paper left from past Christmas, or use gift bags – they are conventional and can be used many times, which makes them greener than paper wrappings. Another way to prevent waste of paper this holiday is to wrap the presents in scarfs or even – pieces of old fabric items. Make your own greeting cards using materials from around the house or at least buy ones made from recycled materials. If you receive new electronics, but the old ones you have still work, you can donate or recycle them, instead of throwing them out.
Cleaning After the Holiday
Cleaning after Christmas dinners and parties can be a heavy-duty task. However, you can still keep it green with the following tips:
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products or make your detergents
- Pre-soak greasy pans and dishes overnight for easy cleaning – this way you can avoid using strong cleaners and save water
- Pre-soak stained table linens and clothes for easy cleaning
- Use a steam cleaner to deal with greasy splashes in the kitchen and cooking area without using harsh products
If you need a hand with your after holiday cleaning you can always count on our after-party cleaning service in London. Don’t hesitate to call now and book your cleaners! Happy holidays!