In last week’s blog post, we hoped to inspire you to look for more sustainable gift options this festive season. This week, we’d like to take that a step further and encourage you to embrace a more sustainable Christmas table when you celebrate with your loved ones. As much as we love Christmas, we know that it can be a rather wasteful time of the year, from buying more food than we need, to bags and bags of scrunched up wrapping paper, serviettes, silly hats and plastic packaging. Here’s how to take the next step to celebrating a more sustainable Christmas.
Eliminate single use products
Think paper serviettes, paper towelling, clingwrap, tinfoil, etc. All these items are bought and thrown away, bought and thrown away, bought and thrown away…you get the point. And doesn’t that seem like a waste of money and effort? Moving away from these disposable items can be a challenge, but reducing disposables in your home (and at your Christmas table) will help you focus on what’s essential, save you money, and save you space.
Start small – no paper plates, paper serviettes, plastic straws, plastic cutlery, etc. Don’t have enough cutlery, crockery and reusable serviettes for everyone? Get your friends and relatives to bring some along with them! Worried your beautiful decor plans might be ruined? We say forget formality and create a colourful table that’s big on personality and texture. Mix and match in a clever way – chat to people in advance about what they have, and mix and match colours, textures, sizes and patterns in a fun and creative way. Maybe white dinner plates, with a colourful selection of side plates? Or mix and match flatware, placemats and crockery so that no two settings are the same – for something fun and quirky!
And, here’s an idea – don’t spend your money on tacky crackers with silly little plastic toys. If you’re feeling ambitious and have the time, why not make your own, using loo rolls, and leftover wrapping paper or newspaper, and choose meaningful gifts and treats to put inside each! Here’s how to make your own crackers this festive season.
Reduce food waste
As South Africans, we are a bad bunch of food wasters, wasting more than 200 kg of food per person per year. It would be easy to say, just buy less – because we all know we buy way more food than we actually need, especially during the holiday season. But this really is easier said than done; even I subscribe to the philosophy of rather having too much than too little, when it comes to Christmas dinners. One way to combat this, is to love your leftovers a little bit more. By storing them correctly, and finding creative and delicious ways to use them up, you’ll reduce your food waste, and have some tasty meals for a few days!
Here’s some great resources for coming to terms with our food waste problem, and learning to embrace your leftovers for a more sustainable Christmas:
- Looking for more info on the food waste in South Africa? This article will equip you with some of the facts and figures.
- Sarah Wilson has some great tips for combating food waste in your home – here’s some ideas on how to use leftovers, tailored for the holidays. Our favourite is making vinegar from all the wine dregs at the bottom of the wine bottle.
- And, of course, here’s some recipes to guide you through all those leftovers!
Remember to recycle
Once you start to separate your rubbish, you will notice just how much of what you usually throw away is actually recyclable, which is likely to surprise you, and encourage you to keep going. Start small – learn what is and isn’t recyclable. Then get yourself a recycling bin or box, or even an empty cupboard. Start by collecting easy things, like empty tissue boxes, egg cartons, finished loo rolls, plastic packaging from veggies, and all the stuff we generate over the holidays, like the extra cardboard boxes from all your online shopping! Then figure out where it goes. Some municipalities will collect recycling from your home, or you may need to find a drop-off location.
Here’s a fantastic website, with some great videos on recycling for beginners, and a search function to find recycling drop off points near you.
And lastly, look to support local, where possible. Visit your local farmers’ markets and gift fairs, pop in to your local butcher, and try to support local businesses, farmers and entrepreneurs, to support your local community, and help grow our local economy. A great place to start is right here, with us! We’ve got an amazing selection of festive hampers, from festive meat packs, to beautifully curated gift hampers, and a rather tasty cheese hamper, to help you celebrate a more sustainable Christmas! All the products in our hampers are sourced from local artisans and businesses, and we love supporting them! And we hope you will too!
As you enjoy all the wonderful things that come with the holidays, from tasty treats and delicious meals, to perfect weather, and time spent with loved ones, we hope we’ve inspired you to do so in a more sustainable way. Here’s to a happy, sustainable Christmas!