#2 Cut the Waste; decorations, wrappings, single use plastics and disposables.
There is no doubt that we live in a throw away world. All sorts of things are thrown away, sadly sometimes even people! But today I want to talk about the waste of paper, cardboard, decorations, disposables and single use items, which guess what?? All end up in land fill.
There is no doubt that most of the paper products we use have been made from recycled paper, and that is a good thing but it will not hurt to be mindful of our waste and make an effort to reduce. In our minds we connect Christmas with a time of abundance and extravagance; there is so much happening that we often cut corners and just throw out stuff that at other times we would take the time to recycle or reuse.
Decorations; there is no need to buy new shiny, glitzy decorations each year; pack them up and use them again and again. Part of my Christmas joy is the decorating of tree and home and for me it is always a walk down memory lane as I unpack and put out my Christmas treasures, which all tell a story of Christmas’ past. Gifts from work colleagues and Secret Santas from folks I no longer see and in some cases have lost touch with, but they are remembered and blessed as I unpack the Nativity Scene or that special angel, wreath, candle, stars, trees and Santa. Some of my decorations have been bought on overseas trips, some were gifted, some came from op shops but they all come with a story, a history, a memory, a value; and for me this has so much more joy than going to the nearest shop and buying that big bag of tinsel and baubles and putting it all in the bin after Christmas Day. So this is my suggestion, build your own story and treasury of Christmas joy; there is something really grounding and comforting as each year it is told; just like the story of Christmas itself!
Wrappings, I know, paper is cheap. But don’t you think the 150,000 klms used in Australia alone is a bit extreme? So, can you dispense with the wrapping altogether? Does your gift come in a nice box already? Does it just need to be presented with ribbons? Can it be slipped into an envelope? Maybe your gift is too big to wrap, just a bow will do. What about wrapping in a tea towel or Christmas fabric which can be reused? The message is clear, reduce the wrapping paper. If some things need to be wrapped, try simple brown paper or plain coloured papers like gold, silver, red which can be multipurpose and wrap other gifts through out the year. Go for a unique presentation and just look for ways to cut the waste and ways to recycle or reuse.
Single use plastics; how much Glad Wrap do you expect to use? Probably lots! My last purchased 30 metre roll of Glad Wrap has lasted just short of 3 years. So, how to reduce? Use lidded containers and bowls, silicone food covers which just go on and on, bees wax wraps and covers, brown paper bags and cloth napkins to wrap, store and transport food. Be mindful, just because something is cheap to buy does not mean it is good for the environment. And the same goes for all the disposable whatevers; plates, bowls, cutlery. Washing up is not such a big deal; in fact washing up together with family or friends is one of the great relationship builders; do not underestimate its importance or its ability to bless both people and planet.
I think we have the idea! Reduce the waste! Reduce the landfill! Reduce your burden on the planet! Not hard really. Next blog we will look at the second principle of celebrating a Christmas which blesses both people and planet # Take Less of Everything!