Top 4 Tips for Waste-Free Festive Decorating

The festive season can often be a time when good intentions – and even good behaviour! – can seem to fly out the window. In our Christmas series, we’ll share tips on how to tread more lightly this year.

In the coming weeks, not only do we tend to eat more, drink more, shop more and travel more we also waste more. The overall result is unpleasant for our wallets and the environment

There’s still time to be a conscious consumer this year though. First up – ensuring your decorations don’t cost the earth.

1. Deck the halls with treasure not trash!

Pom-poms from recycled t-shirts

Photo: Craftaholics Anonymous.

These festive pom-poms were handmade from recycled t-shirts! Photo: Craftaholics Anonymous.

Stop the flow of rubbishy decorations that end up in landfill in January. Create some new family heirlooms by investing in quality decorations.

The other option is to get crafty and make your own from recycled goods. There are heaps of nifty ideas floating around online for how best to upcycle household waste into covetable festive décor.

You could also buy certified Fair trade decorations. You’ll get the satisfaction of knowing your purchase was handmade and that it’s maker received a fair wage.

2. Light up the dark in a more eco-friendly way

LED christmas lights

LED Christmas lights have a friendly glow and a friendlier impact on the environment. Photo: RH Baby and Child.

Fairy lights might make your house a cheery beacon of light but they also consume a ton of energy and add to your electricity bill.

Firstly, don’t leave festive lights on all night. You also should switch them off at the wall during the day.

To minimise your costs – and impact – choose a LED option like these beautiful, teeny tiny LED copper lights. They also make a great gift that for all year round. Transform them into an atmospheric day-to-day item by bunching them together and placing them in a glass jar or vase.

3. Wrap up the practice of wrapping paper

recycled magazine bows

Recycle magazines and gift paper by turning them into these DIY gift bows. Photo: Prudent Baby.

This year choose Christmas music not the rustle of Christmas paper if you are looking for a soundtrack to celebrations.

In 2011, it’s estimated that the UK threw out over 364,000 kilometres of wrapping paper. To put that in perspective, that’s enough paper to run the diameter of the earth 28 times. Now think about the fact that all that paper once came from living trees.

When it comes to wrapping, it’s always better to choose a reusable option then to fill your recycling bin. The recycling process is resource intensive, and when it comes to gift-wrapping, it’s not always possible – many councils won’t take wrapping paper. In addition, many papers contain chlorine and artificial inks so they also can’t go in the compost heap or worm farm.

100% natural hemp cord

Biome stocks a great range of 100% natural hemp cord twine that can be used and reused all year around.

Avoid ribbon unless it’s good quality and likely to used again. Do NOT use sticky tape. Not only is it not biodegradable or recyclable, it also makes the paper difficult to reuse. As an alternative, think about using 100% natural hemp cord twine coloured with earth-friendly dyes. The twine can be reused not only for other gifts or crafting but also is safe to use for cooking or in your garden.

4. Gift a gift within a gift

gift wrapping fabric

This cookbook has been cleverly wrapped in a tea towel. Learn how to do it in this tutorial. Photo: Things for Boys.

Put the gift in a re–usable tin or box or make the wrapping part of the gift using the Japanese furoshiki technique. There are heaps of tutorials online for how you can use things like scarves, tea towels or tablecloths, or printed reusable bags like these ones from Loki to create a chic fabric wrap.

Remember to recycle any cards you receive, or cut them up and turn them into gift tags for next year. Happy decorating!

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