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A Greener Festive Season – How to make small, mindful changes in your home this holiday.

Date: 22nd Dec 2019
Written by: Jennifer Coffin-Grey
Category: Eco-Warrior

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and here we are running about, desperately sorting out last minute gifts, wrapping goodies, preparing food, fixing lights and journeying to see our loved ones.

Often in this state of rush, we forget to consider what’s most important; our carbon footprint. As awareness of our worlds climate emergency increases, more retailers and brands are adapting their products to be more sustainable and earth friendly. At Blue Betty, we consistently remind each other to #justbegin. These holidays you too can #justbegin a more eco-festive season by being mindful about the way your family celebrates.

If you are wondering how on this glorious earth could you possibly celebrate an eco-friendly Christmas? Then keep reading for some tips.

Let’s start tall. The traditional Christmas tree.

Its’ not my preference of tree, but I do notice that many families still use those very iconic green (or white) plastic trees, the ones that live in the garage for 11 months of the year. Being an eco-conscious consumer, I try to avoid plastic were possible, But here we are with this situation of the plastic Christmas tree. I do see the perks, it obviously lasts longer, it’s cheaper and you don’t have to to worry about accidentally taking home a small snake or two from the forests.

The negative is that it promotes the production and consumption of plastics. When we trade in the old plastic one for a new plastic one, can we recycle the old? The answer is no, these plastic trees are made of PVC which is a difficult plastic to recycle. In my favour, the real tree has always made my festive season more jolly, there is just so much more life in the real thing. I just want to leave you with the thought that “a tree made out of oil, turned into PVC plastic in China and shipped over on a boat, cannot be better than growing a real tree.” So when the time comes for your new tree, maybe you will consider to go plastic free?

On a less sensitive note, let’s talk about those jolly decorations. Single-use plastic is not ideal, so if you are saving your plastic ornaments for many generations to come, then good on you. However, if you are buying new festive frills for you house and tree, be mindful and think organic. A very popular Christmas decoration that many households use is TInsel. Your either a Tinselist or an Anti-Tinselist. Tinsel is one of the most unfriendly festive decoration yet, it is made up of plastic and harmful chemicals that may contain lead. Tinsel cannot be recycled. My advice, purchase decorations that are made of natural and earth friendly materials such as papers, woods, glass or clay. You could even get creative and make your own, Pinterest has a million and one ideas! Homemade decoration is so on trend!

Plastic Trees and Tinsel wraps is not the only thing on our sustainable festive list. Our star problem with celebration, is gifting and expense. This part of the festive season has us taking out small bank loans and hoping our 13th cheque is not a Spa Voucher (although much needed), am I right?

In this modern world we live in, our wish lists grow greedy with tangible, branded, trending goods. This time of the year can be expensive, and personally, I cannot afford to go buying lavish gifts for every family member. There are many ways to make gifting affordable and earth friendly. A tip on affordability: convince your family and/or friends to run *secret Santa. This means you only have to buy one gift, and it’s okay to spend a little more. Seek out organic brands and purchase something eco-friendly such as a bamboo mug, an organic hemp shirt, maybe reef-friendly vegan suncream. This is such a fun and clever way for all group sizes.

You could skip the store and make your own gifts. DIY gifting is so much more personal and healthy for everyone. This year the only thing I have purchased are wooden picture frames. I am using my questionable art skills and painting each person something small and personal. If DIY is not your thing and you would rather buy gifts, we urge you to support earth-friendly, organic brands, and not the brands that still use harmful chemicals and plastics that contribute to large amounts of waste in our oceans.

Its almost a wrap…

Gift wrapping is either your friend or foe, either way that gift wrapping paper you thought was cute, is probably non-recyclable and harmful to our earth. Most wrapping paper is highly inked with chemicals and because of the ink, you cannot recycle the paper. So what happens? The paper is thrown away, along with our summer diets, and wasted. The papers harmful inks leach into the earth and poison our drinking water, our seas and vegetation. This is not an ideal situation.

An earth friendly tip from us; is to use paper that can be recycled, plain paper with a bright coloured string can look on-trend and super cute. On another note, use twine and string instead of sticky tape and glue, it’s a more eco-conscious step towards your sustainable festive season. Now that’s a wrap.

I hope after reading this, you might be more mindful these holidays and think of our oceans first. Remember it’s not about how much you change, or how big a difference you make, it’s about the small steps and the mindfulness to #justbegin, because small conscious decisions are better than none at all.

I’m Taking on a greener festive season, are you?

Small change maker,
Jen

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