It’s the Most Wonderful (and Wasteful) Time of the Year: Creative Ways to Have a More Planet-Friendly Christmas.
Christmas waste is a problem.
It’s Christmas morning, everyone’s unwrapped their presents, and there is a veritable mountain of wrapping paper and plastic packaging to get rid of. As you stuff it all into a giant trash bag and put it out with all the other bags of holiday garbage, now’s the time you’re probably thinking about how much waste we accumulate during the merry season.
And what an incredible amount it is! According to Zero Waste Canada, Canadians only use about 1 percent of the gifts they buy within six months of Christmas. All those comical socks and empty chocolate boxes have to go somewhere, which is most often the landfill. We know Northerners are great at repurposing diamond-in-the-rough dump finds, but our waste habits have not improved over the years.
So, how do you avoid adding to this garbage monster without eliminating presents altogether? One easy way to reduce the waste we produce and save you money is by changing how we think about packaging and gift wrapping. See just a few ideas we have below!
1: Spend a little time researching the materials your gift is shipped in.
Our gift wrapping and shopping bags generate about 545,000 tonnes of waste each year. Add shipping packaging to that and we shudder to think of all the plastics and non-refundable items that end up in landfills, the ocean, and our food chain, taking hundreds of years to break down if at all.
As part of our mission to offer you a more sustainable options (both environmentally and socially), The Yukon Soaps Company uses the Better Packaging Co. We love these folks’ commitment to closing the loop and offering creative, compostable alternatives to your usual bubble mailers and plastic bags. Plus, their dirt bags go hand in hand with our Dirty Girls. ;)
2: Choose gifts that don’t have all the extra fuss.
Some good questions to ask yourself:
- Is the product itself wrapped in plastic?
- What kind of plastic--single use, biodegradable, or recyclable?
- If it uses recyclable material, is that material recyclable in your town?
- Is it a material that you can reuse in your own home?
Glass jars and little cloth bags are useful for SO many things and can be used for future gifts too. We suggest any of our soaps, which come in mini cloth bags that can be repurposed for storing jewellery, bits and bobs, and herb sachets. [a]
Or, try a gift that’s already wrapped! New to our store are felted soap kits with all the tools you need. Each kit comes with two soaps, enough wool for both, and instructions. They’re a great gift for anyone crafty, or you can use it yourself to make personalized presents for your pals.
3: Wrap it with some creative flair!
Ditch the wrapping paper this year and opt for useful and reusable materials like a pretty hanky that reminds you of someone. Hint: If you’re getting soap, a soft washcloth is a handy wrapper and addition to the gift. Check out this furoshiki gift wrapping tutorial by Badges for All.
What are some of your sustainable and zero-waste tips for this Christmas? Tell us on Facebook or Instagram!
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