Five top tips beat the bin bag bulge and cut down on plastic this Christmas

Easy and effective ideas
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  • In my household, Christmas is usually accompanied by bin bags full of wrapping paper, plastic cracker toys and all manner of glitter and tinsel. If you’re trying to reduce plastic waste at Christmas, or just avoid the bulging bin bags, Tombola has rounded up a few tips to help keep plastic to a minimum.

    Related: Christmas Eve box ideas – the festive tradition making the night before magical

    In the UK approximately 100 million black bags full of packaging from toys and gifts are discarded each year. That’s not to mention the 1 billion Christmas cards that contain plastic and glitter that will go in the bin after Christmas.

    Here are five ways to reduce plastic waste at Christmas:

    1. Swap to brown paper

    reduce plastic waste at Christmas

    Image credit: Ti-Media

    Sparkly wrapping paper dripping in glitter, with a foil finish and plastic laminate coating can be so tempting. However, while it might look festive it is often unrecyclable.

    Why not try wrapping papers in brown paper tied with a string instead of sticky tape? Add a sprig of holly or eucalyptus will give your present a rustic and traditional feel. Better yet skip the need to throw anything out by wrapping in a pretty patterned cloth you can reuse.

    2. Make an advent calendar

    Instead of buying an advent calendar which usually has chocolate hidden in plastic behind a cardboard door, why not make your own?

    You can buy little wooden drawer sets from hardware or hobby-craft store and paint them. Alternatively, if you’re not feeling creative you can buy a reusable advent calendar.

    Simply fill with chocolates for your little one to open and enjoy during the countdown.

    3. Ditch the chocolates for reusable gifts

    Christmas is the perfect time to encourage your family to ditch single-use plastic through the medium of gifts.

    Ditch the box of chocolates of bubble bath encased in plastic in favour of a reusable water bottle, coffee mug or food container. Perfect gifts for commuters or those who take their lunch to work.

    reduce plastic waste at Christmas

    Image credit: Tim Young

    4. Make your own Christmas crackers

    Christmas crackers might be one of our favourite parts of Christmas dinner, but they are also a triple threat. Wrapped in plastic, decorated with glitter and usually containing a plastic toy that will end up in the bin by the 26th.

    Instead, make your crackers. Some companies make reusable versions. You can also pick up plastic-free crackers made out of brown kraft paper at Hobbycraft.

    5. Ditch tinsel for paper chains

    reduce plastic waste at christmas

    Image credit: Tim Young

    Tinsel and glitter laden baubles may contribute to all that glitters and shines during the festive season. However, homemade and natural decorations can be just as jolly and kinder to the environment.

    Ditch tinsel in favour of threaded cranberries and paper chains. Foraged woodland finds such as holly and evergreen branches look gorgeous scattered around the house.

    Related: We’re dreaming of a green Christmas this year

    Will you be trying out any of these tips to reduce plastic waste at Christmas?

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