I find, that a 'Zero Waste' or 'Sustainable' christmas means a reductionist way of thinking; and that perhaps it can come across repeatedly negative, and off putting for many. No this, and don't do that. And while it is true, it is encouraging minimising our consumption, of everything from energy, to christmas presents [though let's be real, did we really need all that stuff to begin with..]. But perhaps by having a more positive language, we might inspire more people to try?
My dad once told me, change means opportunity. And with our sudden - global - epiphany on the very real impacts of our consumption never so prominently at the forefront, it is time to make some changes. It may be hard, but it will most certainly be an opportunity.
An opportunity to be more meaningful and more positively impactful on your planet, simply by choosing more thoughtfully.
Here are some suggestions for you, on how to celebrate this festive season with less of the 'waste' stuff, and more of the 'durable' stuff.
Rent a Christmas tree:
Rent a Tree during the festive period and once the season is over they come back and collect the trees to be planted.
While public transport in London is generally pretty great - comparatively - we all know it can run into its own series of problems. So, here are some Plan B [Pedal Me], C [Kapten], and D [Green Tomato Cars] s, hailing zero-emission modes of transport.
We love a DIY christmas project:
- How about some dried orange slices for something more sustainable and unique.
- DIY Paper snow flakes [anyone else getting childhood flashbacks].
- Home made Wreath s using cinnamon sticks, leather cord, fabric straps, and forged twigs, leaves, holly, pinecones
- DIY wrapping paper and cards with a Potato Stamp [yes, this is also for adults. Only the coolest ones, though].
Unwrapping the truth about shiny, foiled, glittery wrapping paper: it is not recyclable. 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away each year, which is equivalent to traveling around the world 9 times. Here’s how not to add to this statistic, but how to have an amazingly satisfying time trying some less wasteful alternatives.
- Used wrapping and ribbon, leftover fabric, tea towels - why not add a second [re-]usable gift - tote bags, produce bags, boxes that are trendy and easy to reuse, such as from Agnes LDN.
- Recyclable paper like butchers or kraft paper, or Re-Wrapped. Even reusable paper from ReThink Wrap.
- Seed Paper from Loop Loop made from post consumer materials and completely home - garden - compostable. Plus in a few weeks time, your packaging grows into wildflowers or herbs, with a little TLC.
- E-Christmas cards to reduce on paper all together. You could also try the old fashioned face to face [spoken word, or poem?].
We couldn't, not... some sustainable, thoughtful gift ideas for your loved ones, that make a difference to you, and the planet.
- UpCircle: every beauty product start with an upcycled ingredient. Body scrub using rescued coffee grounds sourced from London Coffee Shops, or Soap Bars made from repurposed chai spices
[read our blog post with Anna the co-founder, here].
- Haekels: bio-contributing packaging [basically packaging which, after use, gives back to the earth, rather than taking from and harming it], celebrating natural resources like seaweed, growing in abundance in Margate, and simply beautifully and brilliantly crafted.
- Content Beauty for all things sustainable beauty, makeup, hair and skin care, such as RMS beauty: organic skin care that actually heals and nourishes skin. Even refills.
- Acala online shop for organic and natural health and beauty products [vegan too], all packaged responsibly, plastic free and zero waste where possible.
- Lush: packaging free cosmetics, from fun bath-bombs to shampoo bars that are handmade, plastic free, against animal testing and regularly offering limited edition products to raise money for good causes.
- Sol cup: plastic and BPA-Free, sexy and sleek reusable cups.
- Soma: the reusable water bottle that gives back to water projects.
- Clement knives: knives forged from plastic and metal waste from the Thames River, in London.
- Patch plants: transform someone's bedroom with a succulent or a palm that will last a lifetime [plant-saviness permitting], instead of flowers [albeit pretty] that only last a week or two. Bonus, proof that plants have massive health benefits, from decreasing carbon dioxide and increasing mental health.
- CHOCOLATE ALWAYS WINS [in my humble opinion]. Especially when it's absolutely DELICIOUS and sustainably packaged [for once] like Pump Street Chocolate in Orford, and so lovingly created and small-batch like Heist Chocolate in Wales. There's also the 'chocolate box' option, but a significantly more interesting version by new brand Palm, 100% cacao coated deliciousness. We personally love chocolate in drinking form, and hands-down, the best in the British market is from the just launched Calm Cocoa; varieties come in reusable glass jars or compostable bags.
- Self-curated hampers are a sure way to show you've thought about the intended receiver, and no better place to source a variety of delicious and sustainable produce then at the legendary Borough Market. [Hint, perfect place to pickup some nibs etc. Oat, Almond and Honey Granola made from pulp, just saying...].
- Birdsong: clothes for women who dress in protest, of waste, of over water consumption and pollution, and for women's rights.
- Juta Shoes: beautiful shoes and slippers made from surplus fabrics, and supporting disadvantaged women in the process.
- Lucy and Yak: handmade, ethical and sustainable clothing.
- Been Bags: beautiful, sustaiable accessories made from materials that would otherwise be thrown away, made in London.
- The tote project: tote bag to help empower survivors of sex trafficking.
- Pact coffee: ethically sourced, better-tasting coffee, roasted with care and delivered in bags and pods as it's needed
- Odd Box: wonky, surplus, fruit and veg. delivered to your door.
- Who Gives a Crap: 100% recycled toilet paper that doesn't cost the earth.
The Gift of Time: Christmas IOUs
Presents don't have to mean spending big bucks. Whether it's the promise of a back rub, or a cake and coffee date. Letting the kids have a sleepover, babysitting for a friend's little ones, or making someone dinner; your time could be the best present you ever give.
The Experience Gift:
- Cooking Classes for foodies and non foodies alike: from the legendary doughnuts at Bread Ahead or foodie Borough Market Kitchen, or for the sensitive digestive system ones, The Happy Tummy Co. course on the fundamentals of fermenting grains. Then there are the wine tastings and Greek Cooking workshops to be had at Oliveology, or the zero wate cooking workshops with Elysia.
- Life Drawing Classes: for all levels with Adrian Dutton, or at any hour of the day with the Royal Drawing School. There are also unique and still life drawing classes with Line and Honey which also include some soulful music, a glass of wine and a nibble. Or if all that is too much pressure, go rogue and untutored at Covent Garden Life Drawing classes.
- Pottery, how on-trend: try your hand at 'throwing clay' with Turning Earth. Note, 8-12 week courses so recommend for someone who's akin to commitment.
- Tickets to a show: not as pricey as you might think, and creates all of the memories for less of the wrapping. London's also rife with live jazz - TIP late night tickets for Ronnie Scott's are only £10 - and comedy clubs, such as Laugh Out Loud and Knock 2 Bag.
- Foraging: in London, with John the Poacher. See what this city has to offer [note. it will blow your MIND].
- Chocolate Ecstasy Tours. Chocolate. Ecstasy. Tours. Guided, includes history [and steps, if you're counting] and chocolate. Do we need to say more.
- Get away for the weekend: I recently came across The Landmark Trust:. A charity that rescues and literally 'upcycles' beautiful and unique British properties, across the country, that would otherwise have been lost.
Phew, that was a long'un. So many ideas. We hope we have inspired you with abundance as you take on a 'Zero Waste', 'Sustainable' festive season. Less is so, so much more.
Wishing you a wonderful festive Making season to you and yours, our lovely readers and supporters. And remember to tag us if anything from this post that inspired you! - Chloë x