Five top tips for an environmentally friendly winter season
The theme for Global Recycling Day 2020 is #RecyclingHeroes – recognising the people, places and activities that showcase what an important role recycling plays in creating an environmentally stable planet. We can all be #RecyclingHeroes this festive season, and we’ve created five suggestions that we can all implement in our own homes and with friends and family this season:
- Send eco-friendly cards
Look for ways to send religious holiday and festive cards with zero environmental impact such as e-cards or eco-friendly cards instead? Plantable cards are also growing in popularity, where recipients are gifted with plant seed embedded cards that can be sowed in the spring. Cards should also be recycled or composted after they have been used, if the material allows for it. For cards that cannot be recycled, they can instead be repurposed or even made into decorations for future celebrations.
- Rethink home decorations
If you’re looking to buy new decorations, search for designs made from brass, glass or natural materials such as wood and other plant life – avoiding ones made from plastic.
In the US there are plenty of schemes to ‘adopt a Christmas tree’ which is an alternative to purchasing plastic ones each year. These trees can be used and decorated over the festive period and then can be given back to farms to be replanted in January. If you do decide to buy your own tree, they can be recycled into chippings for parks and woodland areas after the holidays rather than thrown away.
For other religious celebrations such as the Hindu festival of Diwali or Chinese New Year, make rather than buy, your decorations. Decorative door hangings popular at Diwali time, known as toran, can be handmade from left over craft papers, fresh flowers and mango leaves, and why not make Chinese paper lanterns, banners and signs from recyclable paper.
- Consciously cut back on plastic waste
In 2018, China used 9.4 million tonnes of packaging material, with India also generating around 5.6 million tonnes of plastic waste each year – there is clear potential to tackle waste reduction on a global scale. We can all make an effort during the holiday season to reduce the amount of plastic used and purchased. For example, avoiding purchasing Christmas crackers, New Year’s Eve party poppers and plastic gifts will all help in reducing the carbon footprint.
- Rethink gifting
We can all rethink present buying during the holidays and all year round, including birthdays. Experiential gifts are becoming more and more popular, with gifts of days out and unique experiences preferred over packaged presents.
- Choosing the right wrapping paper
Many of us don’t realise that most wrapping paper rolls contain elements that can’t be recycled such as glitter, foil and plastic. instead look for recyclable and sustainable options such as cloth, brown paper or tissue, which can easily be recycled.
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 Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-singles-day-pollution/on-singles-day-green-groups-warn-of-chinas-surge-in-packaging-waste-idUSKBN1XL0A4
 PHYS: https://phys.org/news/2019-10-plastic-recycling-india.html