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Your guide to eco-friendly festivities

It’s that time of year again! It can be difficult to stay eco-friendly during the holiday season, especially with all the gift shopping, festive drinks, and get-togethers with friends and family. Whatever your holiday traditions, here are some top tips for staying sustainable during festivities.

Bring a festive reusable cup

As all major coffee chains bring out snazzy festive drinks with matching disposable cups for the holiday season, it’s all too easy to spend a lot of money and waste a lot of cups when trying to taste test them all! Be sure to bring your reusable cup whenever you’re invited out for coffee or are doing a spot of Christmas shopping. You could even invest in a festive reusable coffee cup, so you don’t feel left out of the festivities!

Recycle your festive outfits from last year

All the velvet, sequins and sparkles can be tempting… especially with so many family gatherings and Christmas dos on the horizon! But with an estimated £140 million worth of clothes going to landfill each year, consider reusing some of your festive outfits from years gone by instead of going out to buy something sparkly and new. After all, we were in lockdown over Christmas 2020, so no one will remember what you wore pre-COVID!

Remember your bags for life wherever you go

You know what it’s like over the festive period. ‘Just popping to the shops’ can end up as a full on gift buying spree where you emerge, three hours later, weighed down by lots of 10p plastic bags full of presents. Keep a bag for life or foldable shopping bag in your bag, coat pocket or car at all times to avoid being caught out by impromptu shopping trips or the odd stocking filler picked up on your lunch break.

Reusable fruit and veg bags

Amongst all the festivities, there’s a lot of cooking to be done and a lot of fruit and veg to be bought to provide mains and puddings for the whole family! Make sure you have a reusable fruit and veg bag for those many, many, MANY trips to shop for sprouts, potatoes, apples, oranges… the shopping list is never ending!

Don’t overbuy!

Though it may feel like you are cooking for the masses, make sure you keep your head when buying food for the festive period. Most shops are only closed for two days, and while we are normally sensible shoppers, we suddenly find ourselves wondering whether we should buy one more celebrations tin or whether four bags of potatoes will be enough for ten people. Take a breath and be savvy with your shopping - it will be alright on the night!

Use recycled wrapping paper and Christmas cards

Did you know that an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are thrown away every Christmas? The majority of this will be of the glittery or foiled variety which cannot be recycled. The same goes for Christmas cards, of which one billion are thrown in the bin instead of being recycled!

This Christmas, wrap presents in reusable gift wraps or recycled brown paper and give recycled greetings cards to reduce waste. Though brown paper might not be as pretty, you can use festive ink stamps or reusable ribbon (just remember to grab it off of the recipient after opening!) to make your gifts look special under the tree. You can even cut up old Christmas cards and use them as gift tags this year so that all those beautiful designs don’t go to waste!

TOP TIP: To find out whether the gift wrap already in your cupboards can be recycled, do the scrunch test – scrunch up the paper and if it stays scrunched, it is recyclable, but if it keeps its shape, it is not.

Buy a gift or experience that they’ll actually use

The festive period is a time for showing people you care with thoughtful gifts exchanged between friends and family. However, this leads to many of us buying gifts for the sake of it, with an estimated £700 million being spent on unwanted presents in the UK each year!

This year, before picking up any old toiletry set or wasting money on something they won’t use, find out what your loved one really needs. This could be a helping hand with the grocery shopping one month, a babysitter for date night one weekend, or simply something special that they’ve had their eye on for a while but haven’t been able to afford.

Further, with lockdown still fresh in our minds, many of us value quality time spent with loved ones over material objects. Get them an experience to remember – it’s zero waste, and those happy memories don’t have a sell by date!

Buy zero-waste gifts

However, if you’re wanting to fill a stocking or surprise your friends and family with a thoughtful gift, why not sow the seed of sustainable living by buying them a zero-waste or ethical gift? From soy candles and shampoo and conditioner bars to reusable cotton pads, coffee cups and water bottles, sustainable household items are easy to find and can even save the recipient money in the long run – not to mention the fact that make lovely, thoughtful gifts. You never know – it might kickstart their eco-friendly journey!

Is a new home on your Christmas list this year? Use this list to save your pennies this Christmas, ready to buy in 2022! Book a valuation today so you can start the New Year with a bang.

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