December, the Friday of the year, is here. Enter also the festive season. It’s time to kick back and relax, spend time with family and friends, and give and receive gifts. It is also a time to share what we have with others.
But this season can also turn out to be one of the most wasteful in terms of items that we buy, sometimes on impulse, that can leave a dent on our budgets, and also in terms of the waste we can generate. Although we have been spared the extreme commercialism surrounding Christmas in our islands, we should still pay some mind to our actions this season.
For instance everything we buy, which we end up not using be it food or products, and the accompanying plastic bags, packaging and wrapping paper, adds to the waste that needs to be collected and sent to the landfill. Here are a few simple things that can help us have a very merry but also eco-friendly festive season.
If you are shopping for Christmas at the supermarket or local shop, why don’t you forego the plastic bags altogether and bring reusable carrier bags or baskets from home? We cannot say enough about how awful plastic bags are for the environment and for wildlife. Encourage family and friends to use reusable bags or baskets by gifting them some this Christmas.
Throwing a party for friends and family? Tempted to use disposable plates, spoons, forks and napkins because who wants to wash up after a party?. We know it’s a drag, but wash up. Because all these “conveniences” are also incredibly wasteful. They cost money and add to the garbage that has to be thrown away. If you are buying, better invest in good cutlery that you can use every year.
Are you thrifty? Then we know you have saved up wrappings from birthdays, christenings, baptisms, confirmations and even last year’s Christmas. You can re-use these to dress up your gifts – in fact if you are clever enough you can turn a Valentine’s love heart into a Christmas cherub. Or use newspaper or any used paper and sass it up with your wrapping paper or old cards for packaging. Even broken pieces of jewellery can be used. Get the kids involved, they love to be creative.
If you are one to put up a Christmas tree, re-use your tree or if you’ve bought a new one, keep it carefully for the coming years. And if you have Christmas lights, try not to keep them on all the time to save energy.
Here is the big one. Trash, especially after our beach parties. This one is simple. Put it in its place – in the garbage cans. Place bottles in a convenient location for those who collect them.
You will eat too much, this we know. You will need some exercise, this we know too. So don’t spend too much time in front of the TV. Go out, take a walk, breathe in the lovely nature around us. Stay healthy.