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Turn the yule 'tide' on plastic this Christmas

Posted: Thursday 13th December 2018 by LivingSeas

Natural wrapping paper and ribbonNatural wrapping paper and ribbon

With growing concerns about the huge problem of plastic pollution, filling up our seas and harming both the environment and our wildlife, how can we reduce our festive plastic waste and enjoy a merry green Christmas? Maeve Foley, our Living Seas trainee, offers some top tips.

With all our excess shopping, wrapping, decorating and eating at Christmas, we tend to use a lot more single-use plastics and create a huge amount of waste, most of which is not even recycled.

Last year in the UK, the plastic waste we threw out at Christmas time was estimated to weigh the equivalent of more than 3.3million emperor penguins!

We also go through 227,000 miles of wrapping paper – which is often lined with plastic or microplastics in the form of glitter.

As well as this, we use a whopping 300,000 tonnes of card packaging – that’s the same as the weight of 2 million reindeer!

So, what can we do?

Here are some tips to help you reduce your plastic waste this Christmas:

1. Buy a real Christmas tree instead of a plastic one which can take hundreds or thousands years to decompose.

2. Give less ‘stuff’ and more experiences. Why not make a homemade gift instead, buy an experience or gift wild by giving the gift of Ulster Wildlife membership?

3. Avoid presents wrapped in plastic packaging – look for gifts with cardboard packaging or no packaging at all. Our online shop has some great ideas for plastic-free stocking fillers. 

4. Decorate your house and tree with natural, non-plastic materials such as pinecones, sprigs of holly, mistletoe, berries and cinnamon sticks.

5. Skip the shiny wrapping paper and plastic bows. Why not wrap your gifts in brown parcel paper, old maps or sea charts and use natural string instead?

6. Be a responsible cocktail drinker. Say no to plastic straws when out for Christmas cocktails or why not bring a stainless steel straw with you?

7. Use your reusable bags when doing your Christmas shopping.

8. Be a greener coffee drinker. Why not sit in and have a mug, or if taking away remember to bring your refillable coffee cup – in many stores, you will get a discount for doing so!

9. Rethink your Christmas partyware. Getting together with family and friends? Avoid single-use plastics including cutlery, Styrofoam plates or cups and opt for real partyware instead.

10. Buy loose fruit and vegetables instead of those in plastic packaging when getting your groceries.

Wishing you a merry green Christmas!

Maeve Foley
Living Seas Trainee


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