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Green Christmas hacks for the festive season

There are so many quick and easy Christmas hacks to ensure you have a stress-free, environmentally friendly Christmas and help the borough do its bit in tackling climate change.

One of the best things about Christmas is giving gifts – but do you ever feel like you are drowning in a heap of wrapping paper, gridlocked in the holiday traffic as you try and complete your to-buy list, or under siege from a procession of online deliveries at the door?

This year might be an ideal time to look for a simpler, more sustainable alternative to the normal festive indulgence.

Around Ealing caught up with Ealing resident and environmental campaigner Mary Horesh, who was happy to share her top tips on staying sustainable this Christmas.

Mary said: “Christmas is a lovely time to get together with friends and family, but we all can get carried away with the consumerism, waste and indulgence that surrounds this season. But there are so many small things you can do to make a big difference.

“We all have a role to play to help save the planet’s natural resources and having a sustainable Christmas and greener festive season can make a big difference.

Mary has set up the Ealing Repair Café to help reduce consumption and repairing and altering clothes and other household items instead of throwing them out. You can find out more via the group’s Facebook page.

She continues: “My motivation in setting up the cafe was to give practical ways we can all ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.

“Specifically, the repair cafe looks at how to get the best use out of clothes and other household items. By repairing and altering them, you can increase their lifetime use and reduce buying more.

“The trend of fast fashion focuses on speed and low costs in order to deliver frequent new collections, inspired by catwalk looks or celebrity styles, with collections coming out five times a year instead of once. If we think a little bit about our attitudes and behaviour to buying clothes we can be much more sustainable.”

Cutting down on fast fashion is just one way you can help have a greener Christmas. Have a look at Mary’s advice below:

Top tips for a green Christmas

Present wrapping

Paper wrapping paper is wasteful and those papers with metallic or glitter cannot be recycled. There are many alternatives, including furoshiki fabric wrapping using squares of fabric like scarves or left-over material. It is brilliant solution for family celebrations and birthdays (pictured below).

Alternatively, you could reuse gift bags or brown paper, which is made from recycled paper and this can be decorated with home-made stamps and water-based paints.

Mary Horesh with some reusable present wrapping
Crafty Christmas

Give friends and family a personalised gift by making your own presents, such as baking, sweets, jams, bath bombs and soaps., You can save money, keep packaging to a minimum and create a tailor made present, that means so much more. 

Shop local

If it is possible with COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing, why not support shops close to home as an alternative to making long car trips and ordering online?

Not only does provide vital support to the borough’s businesses, it helps reduce your carbon footprint as well. For every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stays in the local economy.

You could also buy gifts or get vouchers for bookshops, restaurants, salons, cinemas, art shops or whatever your family and friends are interested in.

Sustainable fashion

When buying clothes as presents, consider their sustainability. Fast fashion focuses on speed and low costs in order to deliver frequent new collections at a high cost to the planet – instead, you could take your pick from charity shops and vintage boutiques, some of which are now online as opposed to the retail giants, COVID-19 restrictions permitting. You can see some ideas in our story from earlier in the year.

Cut food waste

Christmas dinners and seasonal parties mean that the most wonderful time of the year is often the worst when it comes throwing away leftovers.

Even taking just 10 minutes to plan ahead when considering your Christmas menu can help you prepare better and save more. Do not be tempted by offers on items you don’t need. When you are shopping for your Christmas food, choose things that are light on packaging or buy loose items.

Vegetable box services offer tailored Christmas boxes and farmers markets offer fresh produce with minimum packaging.

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