We’re excited to welcome the New Year (as we’re sure you are too!), and we’ve got a whole load of new sustainable habits to share with you in January, but before we do, let’s clear out the Christmas mess. This year, Christmas has looked a little different. There may have been fewer guests at our tables, fewer presents under the tree and family games may have been played via zoom. But high volumes of waste are still around. Christmas is still the one time of year where we create more rubbish, eat more food, and our bin crews work overtime just to catch up with our festivities. We’re ready to deal with the aftermath of Christmas in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. Are you?
Clear out Christmas by packing away decorations
If you followed our blog on how to deck the halls with sustainability, you’ll have quite a few decorations that you can pack away and reuse again next year. You might have some Christmas baubles that have been passed down the family generations, so we want to make sure they’re kept safe ready for next year.
Forget the bubble wrap. It tends to last only a couple of years – especially if the kids get their popping hands on it, and it’s made from plastic. Instead, get yourself some corrugated bubble. It’s made from 100% recycled cardboard and designed in a way to help protect fragile items. Not only has it been upcycled, but it’s also biodegradable, meaning that when it’s time to replace it, you’re not harming the planet.
For other decorations that we used such as, orange slices, cinnamon sticks and pinecones – pop them in the compost. By doing these two things, you’ve reduced your waste already this Christmas!
Sorting through unwanted gifts and binning appropriately
There is definitely a strange period between Christmas and New Year where we simply don’t know what day it is. We’re in a food coma, and the kids are enjoying all their new toys. However, some households will have the pile of ‘unwanted’ items lurking in the corner. It’s during this period we recommend you sort them so that when the New Year arrives, your home isn’t cluttered with unwanted gifts! Here are just a few suggestions on places you can send donations to:
- Donate unwanted clothes to charity shops
- Give food items to food banks
- Donate unwanted toys to KidsOut charity
- Give new and unused bedding to the British Red Cross
- Send unwanted toiletries to the Hygiene Bank
Upcycling food and composting
You can almost be sure that you’ve got too much food in the house for Christmas this year. Whether that’s because your plans had to change at the last minute or you just got too excited while doing your food shop. One thing we don’t want to do is waste it.
So, if you’ve donated all the food items you can, it’s time to tackle upcycling and composting. First of all, chuck whatever you can in the freezer. It means the food will keep longer and you won’t have the pressure of cooking it any time soon! For the bits of food you’ve already cooked and cannot freeze, it’s time to upcycle. We’ve got lots of food upcycling recipes on our blog from last week as well as these alternative options. Anything you can’t upcycle, eat or freeze – pop in your compost pile or food waste caddy!
Clear out Christmas then welcome new habits
2021 is going to be a fresh start for many of us. While 2020 will be a gladly forgotten year for many of us, it has been crucial in highlighting many issues that the environment faces continuously. So, for your New Year’s resolution, we don’t want you to kick the caffeine and chocolate, we don’t want you to become ‘fitter’ and start running every day; we want you to pick a realistic goal that will benefit you and the planet. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Stop buying bottled water – use a refillable.
- Buy what you will eat and eat what you buy. Plan your meals ahead to reduce your food waste.
- Ditch the wipes! Baby wipes, cleaning wipes, makeup wipes – trade them all for reusable alternatives.
- Forget liquid soaps around the home and opt for eco-bar form options instead.
- Use your farmers market – they’re there regularly, and they don’t use plastic packaging.
- Start a compost pile in your garden.
- Use your food waste caddy and recycling bin more than your waste bin.
There are plenty of ideas out there, and we know many of our members will already be doing a few of these. But, if you’re looking for inspiration on how to create less waste; check out this list of 101 ideas!
Thankfully, more people than ever are dedicated to making a change. It’s time to change the nation’s priorities. Will you take on a New Year’s resolution that helps the environment? Will you challenge your family and friends to make some eco-friendly changes? Be sure to keep an eye out for our blogs in January for some ideas, or better yet, get your nearest and dearest to sign up to Greenredeem, so they get all the fantastic ideas in their inbox too! We’re ready to spread the word and make a difference, are you?