In her ongoing attempts to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, our Contracts and Operations Officer Karen has been trying to cut down on plastic cling film and replace it with wax wraps. Read below to see how she got on…

Following on from my efforts to reduce waste, I noticed that while I was reducing as much food waste as possible (well that’s what I tell myself!) I was using large amounts of cling film to wrap left overs or unused food such as salads, cheese, sandwiches etc.

Once used, this wrapping is then disposed of as general non recycling waste. Glass storage containers weren’t always the most convenient option due to space or size required.

Then I came across the food wax wraps, I was a bit sceptical at first but decided to give it a go and bought some at a food and drink festival.

I was amazed at how easy they were to use, how well they sealed everything and they were easy to clean and reuse (and each piece can last up to 18 months).

So rather than buy the ready made wraps again, I bought a kit to see how easy they were to make at home.

The kit came with everything I needed to make 3 different size wraps.

The instructions were easy to follow and didn’t take very long. There were two methods – one was to put the fabric in the oven or the other to use an iron.

I chose the ironing method. All I had to do was cover the ironing board, grate the ready made wax block onto the fabric, cover with greaseproof paper, melt the wax with the iron then use the paint brush to ensure all the fabric was covered with the melted wax and then leave to dry.

Et Voila! The heat of your hands softens the wax and this enables you to mould it around what you are wrapping. It then dries hard and forms a perfect seal. No leaks, no odours!

The only sticking point (literally) was the wax to the grater- was a bit of a nightmare to get the wax off it or clean it afterwards- so next time I will try freezing the wax before I grate it.

Also, you need to cover the ironing board with cloth to prevent any wax getting onto the ironing board. I used a tea towel but that got covered in wax, so again, next time I will use something else.

Uses:

  • They are not only good for wrapping food (by the way, if you want to cover raw meat, you would need to put this in a bowl or something and cover the container, its nor recommended to cover raw meat directly with the wraps as you can only wash them in warm water, otherwise you would melt the wax!)
  • They can also be used as funnels as they are completely waterproof
  • I use them to wrap things like soap or shampoo bars when going away.
  • They can be moulded into a bowl – really handy for picnics etc.
  • I’ve used them to cover jars (especially when someone decides to use the stabbing the lid with a knife to break the seal method of opening- which then leaves the lid unusable!)
  • When they are no longer useful as wraps- they can be used for firelighters
  • They are compostable and biodegradable

I have now found a recipe to make my own wax rather than buy ready made in kit form. There are only three ingredients, beeswax, jojoba oil and pine resin, and of course the cotton material. Old cotton shirts – (well washed of course)- can be used, which will help reduce waste- but shops that sell fabrics sell off roll ends which are really cheap, again avoiding reducing the potential for this to become waste. Win win!  And just thinking- I could go all seasonal and have special Christmas themed wraps (or is that just my excuse to cut up all of Patricks embarrassing Christmas shirts??) Now that is definitely a win win!

I’m still learning about how much wax to use for different sizes of material, and at the moment it’s very much a case of trial and error, but I will get there and hopefully Chez Martin’s could become a cling film free zone!

Our thanks to Karen for telling us about her efforts with wax wrapping and trying to adopt a zero waste lifestyle. Any external links in the article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only. Any opinions expressed are that of individuals not of MRWA.

Hello and welcome to the February 2024 edition of the Zero Waste LCR Food for Thought blog.

This monthly round-up of food-related dates features tips, recipes and facts which aim to help Liverpool City Region residents cut down on food waste to protect our planet for future generations…

Food Waste in Liverpool City Region

According to the Waste Composition Analysis 2021/22 – Kerbside report produced by Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority, food waste across the six districts of Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) makes up an average of 31.6% of all the kerbside collected residual waste collected, which equates to an estimated 134,107 tonnes per annum. Furthermore, it is estimated that 73.2% of all the food in the kerbside collected residual waste is classified as avoidable (meaning it is disposed of packaged or in a prepared but uneaten condition).

The Good News

The good news is that there are methods that residents across the region can introduce to reduce the amount of food waste. Generating less waste is a pivotal component in reducing the effects of climate change. Beyond creating a more sustainable environment, reducing food waste saves money and provides plenty of chances to get creative in the kitchen – even for those who wouldn’t usually dream of cooking.

So, without further ado, dig in and enjoy!


Yorkshire Pudding Day (4 February)

What better way to celebrate the first Sunday of February than making the most of your Sunday roast with a good old fashioned Yorkshire pud?

Well, what if we told you that there’s a gluten-free version which is simple to make and is a great way of utilising milk which needs to be used fast?

The best part: You’d never know they’re gluten free, due to how well they rise in the oven. PLUS, they can be frozen to use later!

Visit the Love Food Hate Waste website for the full recipe.


Chocolate Fondue Day (5 February)

Looking for ways to use up leftover Christmas chocolate? Or maybe you’re just in search of your next sweet treat?

Either way, Monday 5 February could provide the perfect excuse, as it marks the return of Chocolate Fondue Day!

Making a melted chocolate dip to enjoy with marshmallows, diced up cake, fresh fruit or even leftover Christmas pudding doesn’t sound too shabby to us!

There are plenty of chocolate fondue recipes to peruse online and try at home. While you’re here, here are some we have found:


International Frozen Yogurt Day (6 February)

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to use that store-bought yogurt sitting in your fridge in time, then fret no more…

International Frozen Yogurt Day takes place on Tuesday 6 February and is a great way to prevent yogurt from going to waste.

Thanks to this great range of 5-minute fro-yo recipes from Gemma Stafford (aka Gemma’s Bolder Baking), you don’t need to worry about owning an ice cream machine to make this tasty treat. Among the recipes on offer are Strawberry Frozen Yogurt, Pineapple and Coconut Frozen, Chocolate and Banana Frozen Yogurt and Cake Batter Frozen Yogurt. Bon appétit!


National Pizza Day (9 February)

For many, Fridays are always worth celebrating… But Friday 9 February takes it to another level, as it marks the welcome return of National Pizza Day!

Originally celebrated in USA, this annual food date is now renowned the world over, with many choosing to grab a slice of the action at local restaurants or takeaways.

Many others choose to celebrate by going homemade… If you fit within this group, then the Love Food Hate Waste website has several homemade pizza recipes which will top your tastebuds! Among the creative food-saving recipes on offer are Mini Party Pizzas, Quick Ciabatta Pizzas, Quick Pizza Tortilla Chips, Leek & Potato Pizza and Bread-End Crust Mini Pizzas. Bellissimo!


World Pulses Day (10 February)

For fans of peas, beans and lentils, Saturday 10 February is a date that will set pulses racing..

Bad pun aside, World Pulses Day is a designated United Nations global event which recognises the importance of pulses (chickpeas, dry beans, lentils, dry peas and lupins among others) as a global food.

Aside from that, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the versatility of this highly nutritional food group.

Rich in fibre, which can help lower the risk of heart disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes among other health benefits, pulses can be used in many different tasty dishes.

We’ve rounded up 10 recipes from Love Food Hate Waste which can help put certain ingredients to use and create a range of delicious meals:


Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Day (13 February)

Would you flippin’ believe it? It’s that time of year again!

Tuesday 13 February marks the return of Shrove Tuesday – aka Pancake Day – which is a much-loved food date in the UK.

Yes, they are a treat which can be enjoyed all year round, but that doesn’t stop us Brits going crazy for feasting on these flat flavoursome favourites on this dedicated day of pancake worship!

To mark the occasion, we’re delving into the vaults of Love Food Hate Waste via a blog (originally published last year) which can help you to let nothing go to waste this Pancake Day… Find out more here.


Making bread at home is a great way of reducing plastic waste.

Real Bread Week (17 – 25 February)

Saturday 17 – Sunday 25 February welcomes the return of Real Bread Week.

Created by the Real Bread Campaign and beginning life in 2010, #RealBreadWeek encourages and helps people to buy real bread from local, independent bakeries – and to also bake their own real bread at home.

Buying local and baking at home

Buying local bread has several benefits – chief among them is the use of responsibly sourced ingredients, less miles travelled (which is a great way to shrink your carbon footprint) and supporting business within your community.

As for baking bread at home, the main advantage lies in the fact that you are in control of the ingredients you are putting in. This is a healthy way to break away from additives which exist in many pre-packaged store-bought breads. Plus, making your own also saves money!

Using bread makers

Real Bread Week also encourages people to consider using bread makers. As cited on their official web page:

According to research carried out in 2023 for independent not-for-profit organisation Recycle Your Electricals, there might be around 1.4 million bread machines going unused in UK homes. Rather than asking anyone to shell out for a new machine, the Real Bread Campaign suggests people find a second-hand one from a trusted source, such as some charity shops or a reputable dealer that tests used electricals before selling.

As the cost of basic ingredients and energy to run a bread maker are pence, and the skill required to use one is minimal, adopting one is a very affordable and accessible way of more people being able to enjoy Real Bread.

Slow cooker bread

Aside from using a bread-maker, another option which we have championed several times in previous Food for Thought issues is baking bread in a slow cooker*.

Coming in at 15 minutes prep and between 2 hours – 2 hours, 40 minutes cook time, this recipe will provide the perfect bread for your afternoon tea sandwiches. With a springy consistency straight from the slow cooker, or the option to bolster you crust via an extra 5 minutes in the oven, you can customise the bread to your liking.

Visit here to view the slow cooker bread recipe: www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-bread.

If you’re stuck for ideas on what sandwiches to make for your afternoon tea selection, then this list of recipes may help!

*We have opted to share a slow cooker bread, as this is a more energy-efficient way to bake, meaning that it’s less carbon-intensive and therefore less of a contributor towards climate change. However, if you do not have access to a slow cooker at home, there are plenty of oven cooker homemade bread recipes online to explore via a search engine of your choosing! BBC Good Food is generally a good place to start – although, if you’re looking to introduce a twist to your afternoon tea sandwiches, this list of zero waste sourdough discard recipes from the Zero Waste Chef is also handy!

Other bread recipes and storage guidance

Love Food Hate Waste features a whole host of bread recipes which help you to use up ingredients and prevent waste.

They also have a handy guide on how to store, freeze and defrost bread.

Visit here for more information.

Find out more about the Real Bread Week campaign

If you’re keen to find out more about the benefits of real bread and ways you can get involved with #RealBreadWeek, visit sustainweb.org.


Cherry Pie Day (20 February)

Cherry Pie Day takes place on Tuesday 20 February. Aside from being a tasty dessert option, cherry pies offer an avenue to use up cherries and stop them from going to waste.

While many opt to use frozen cherries when baking cherry pies at home, this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction uses real ones, with cherry-pitting advice included!


Cook a Sweet Potato Day (22 February)

Although widely celebrated in the United States, Cook A Sweet Potato Day – which takes place on Thursday 22 February – is a good opportunity to celebrate this highly nutritious and versatile root vegetable.

Roast them, mash them, make fries, make a pie! The opportunities are endless – so much so that you can use them for recipes you’ve possibly may not have even heard of before.

Take this courgette and sweet potato loaf from Love Food Hate Waste, for example. As stated on the website, “a loaf like this is a delicious way to use up eggs and veg and is perfect for sharing”. What’s more, it’s gluten free and can be stored for up to two days in an airtight container in the fridge.


National Toast Day (23 February)

Start your weekend by raising a toast on Friday 23 February…

National Toast Day is back for 2024 and, once again, our friends at Love Food Hate Waste have a range of innovative recipes which are a great way to use up leftover bread.

Among the recipes on offer are Honey French Toast, Garlic Veggies on Toast, Olive Tapenade Toast, Savoury French Toast, and Mushrooms & Tarragon on Buttery Toast.


National Strawberry Day (27 February)

National Strawberry Day takes place on Tuesday 27 February.

A nutritious fruit, rich in antioxidants and great for cooking, making smoothies and juicing, it’s hardly any wonder why strawberries are so popular.

To make sure your strawberries don’t go to waste, we’re sharing Love Food Hate Waste’s guide on how to store berries and save them from going to waste.

The Love Food Hate Waste website also features a delicious strawberry jam recipe which you can try at home. Sounds like a sweet deal to us!


That’s a wrap!

Thank you for taking the time to read our Food for Thought blog – we hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Please note, with the exception of MRWA-published documents, external links feature within this article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.

Hello and Happy New Year from us to you! Welcome to the January 2024 edition of the Zero Waste LCR Food for Thought blog.

This monthly round-up of food-related dates features tips, recipes and facts which aim to help Liverpool City Region residents cut down on food waste to protect our planet for future generations…

Food Waste in Liverpool City Region

According to the Waste Composition Analysis 2021/22 – Kerbside report produced by Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority, food waste across the six districts of Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) makes up an average of 31.6% of all the kerbside collected residual waste collected, which equates to an estimated 134,107 tonnes per annum. Furthermore, it is estimated that 73.2% of all the food in the kerbside collected residual waste is classified as avoidable (meaning it is disposed of packaged or in a prepared but uneaten condition).

The Good News

The good news is that there are methods that residents across the region can introduce to reduce the amount of food waste. Generating less waste is a pivotal component in reducing the effects of climate change. Beyond creating a more sustainable environment, reducing food waste saves money and provides plenty of chances to get creative in the kitchen – even for those who wouldn’t usually dream of cooking.

So, without further ado, dig in and enjoy!


Veganuary (1 – 31 January)

Monday 1 January marks the start of the month-long #Veganuary campaign…

Whether you’re a seasoned vegan, you’re making a New Year’s resolution to eat less meat, or you simply want to explore new food ideas, Veganuary is for everybody.

A look back through the fledgling archives of our Food for Thought blog series (previous editions can be accessed via the Zero Waste LCR Blog) will tell you why veganism is widely considered to be better for the environment – as well as measures we can introduce to stop food waste, such as home composting.

As for Veganuary itself, this non-profit organisation has attracted millions of sign-ups for their one-month vegan pledge since 2014, with the aim of encouraging people to move to a plant-based diet “as a way of protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering, and improving the health of millions of people”.

You can sign up to Veganuary for free via their website – upon doing so, you will receive free resources including a Celebrity Cookbook, a Vote for Veggies Meal Plan, a Budget Meal Plan, a One Pot Meal Plan, and Vegan Starter Kit.


Slow Cooking Month (1 – 31 January)

Another month-long food celebration kicking off on Monday 1 January is Slow Cooking Month.

There are many benefits to slow cooking which can make life easier while helping the environment.

So, why are slow cookers so good?
  • They top up tastes: The extended cooking time involved during the slow cooking has become famous for releasing fuller flavours, enriching many already-loved home recipes.
  • They block the burn: Lower temperatures prevent food from sticking to the pan and burning.
  • They are a great tenderiser for fatty meats: From cheaper cuts of beef to venison, there are many tough cuts of meat which are softened during the slow-cooking process.
  • They free up other appliances: Using the slow cooker can be handy for when you are cooking for gatherings at home, as it frees up other appliances such as the oven and hob.
  • They save on washing up: Theres no need to use multiple pans during the slow-cooking cooking process, which helps lessen the load on your kitchen sink or dishwasher.
  • They are mobile: Whether you’re borrowing your slow cooker to family or friends, you are headed on a self-catered break away or you’re moving house, slow cookers travel well.
  • They are convenient: Once your ingredients are prepped, it’s just a case of chucking them into your slow cooker and waiting for your food to be ready – no need to stand and stir, which is great if you have other things to do around your home. If you’re really dedicated (look away if you’re not a morning person!) you can prep your food and pop it in the slow cooker prior to going to work – that way, you can come home to a ready to serve meal! If you are new to the slow-cooking game, to be on the safe side, we’d recommend trying out your slow cooker on a few settings before leaving it unattended, just to be safe.
  • They save energy: Here’s where the slow cooker’s environmental benefits come in – they use less energy than a conventional oven. This is not only better for the planet (as it’s less carbon-intensive) but it also reduces money spent on your energy bills.
  • They are a great way of using up food which is near its best before or expiry date: This owes to the fact that slow cookers are used for one pot wonders, which often involve chucking a load of random ingredients to make one tasty meal (think soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, rice dishes etc). Not only is this a way of achieving a tasty meal, but you also prevent food from going to waste!

Ready to get started on your slow cooker journey? Visit Love Food Hate Waste and BBC Good Food for a range of recipes and tips!


Leek tops are packed with nutrients and can be upcycled into a tasty treat when fried in tempura batter.

National Tempura Day (7 January)

National Tempura Day is back on Sunday 7 January!

Originating from Japan, tempura is a light golden crispy batter which is typically used to coat fish, shellfish, and vegetables.

The delicious, deep-fried delight can be used for upcycling leek tops and over leftover veggies into delicious treats – a great way to cram in extra nutrients while beating the bin!

This recipe from The Guardian shows you how it’s done – what’s more, this try-at-home dish uses aquafaba (water that has been used to cook chickpeas and other pulses) which is another great way of reducing waste!


Food Diversity Day (13 January)

A relatively new date in the annual food calendar, Food Diversity Day returns for its second year on Saturday 13 January.

Food Diversity Day celebrates the UK’s most endangered foods. The day is inspired by the work of author, Dan Saladino, who travelled around the globe to learn about the world’s most endangered foods.

Saladino’s findings are journalled in his book, Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods and Why We Need To Save Them.

A widely publicised snapshot of Saladino’s research states that of the 6,000 plant species humans have eaten over time, the world now mostly grows and consumes only nine, of which just three – rice, wheat and maize – provide 50 percent of all calories. Add potato, barley, palm oil, soy and sugar (beet and cane) and you have 75 percent of all the calories that fuel our species. Saladino also observes that diversity within these crops is disappearing, as we rely on a smaller and smaller number of high yielding varieties.

Why is food diversity so important?

Food diversity is important for the planet’s health and survival, human health, food security, local economies, soil life, wildlife and insect life.

In short, greater diversity in what we eat creates a more resilient food system.

Want to find out more?

A series of videos from last year’s Food Diversity Day are available via Dan Saladino’s official website.


Hot Sauce Day (22 January)

We’re set for a wintertime sizzler, as Monday 22 January welcomes the return of Hot Sauce Day!

In the spirit of this blog and food waste prevention, we found this Fermented Garlic & Pepper Hot Sauce Recipe from Love Food Hate Waste.

Fermentation is a long process, but the reward is tasty, as seasoned kimchi lovers will testify! Furthermore, fermentation is a great way of saving vegetables from going to waste.


Image credit: The Pesky Vegan

Burns Night (25 January)

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

– The Selkirk Grace, Robert Burns

Whether you’re a Scot or not, Burns Night has become a widespread celebration for many!

The annual occasion is a celebration of the life and work of Scottish poet, Robert Burns – a chance to rejoice in poetry, while indulging in the comfort of food and drink.

The traditional meal of “Haggis, neeps and tatties” is a winter warmer which many have grown accustomed to over the years… In fact, vegan haggis has also become more commonplace in recent years too!

What is haggis?

As described by The Pesky Vegan:

“Often described as Scotland’s national dish, traditional haggis is a meat pudding that consists of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, together with oatmeal, suet, and spices, all cooked inside the stomach of the animal itself. It is usually served alongside neeps (mashed swede or turnip) and tatties (mashed potato).”

While many won’t feel too appetised by the above description, others really love it! However, even meat-eaters may be tempted by the vegan version…

The good news is some local butchers, supermarkets and online retailers sell the vegan alternative alongside traditional haggis.

Or, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can follow The Pesky Vegan’s recipe here.

What shall I do if I have leftovers?

If you’re looking for some post-Burns Night leftovers inspiration, look no further than the Love Food Hate Waste website, which features recipes such as Haggis Burritos, Haggis Nachos and Haggis Pie.


Vegan chocolate brownies are just one of many dairy-free cocoa-based alternatives.

World Vegan Chocolate Day (31 January)

Coinciding with the last day of Veganuary, WVCD (World Vegan Chocolate Day) provides an opportunity to celebrate in style…

Launched in 2022 by the “Vegan Willy Wonka”, Adrian Ling, WVCD was created to show that vegan chocolate can be just as delicious as dairy, with a view to spreading the ethical and environmental benefits brought about by veganism – to create a fairer and more sustainable chocolate industry.

Once widely restricted to dark chocolate, vegans can now enjoy cocoa-based products in a variety of guises such as hot chocolate and truffles.

Household names such as Cadbury’s (via their Plant Bar) and Mars (via vegan Galaxy bars) have also embraced the rise of veganism.

Ling, who is also the CEO of Plamil Foods, encourages people to celebrate WVCD by tasting vegan chocolate, as well as baking with it and gifting it to friends.

In need of some vegan chocolate inspiration? Visit BBC Good Food for a range of recipes including vegan chocolate chip cookies, vegan brownies and vegan millionaire’s shortbread – plus many more!


That’s a wrap!

Thank you for taking the time to read our Food for Thought blog – we hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Please note, with the exception of MRWA-published documents, external links feature within this article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.

Hello and welcome to the December 2023 edition of the Zero Waste LCR Food for Thought blog.

This monthly round-up of food-related dates features tips, recipes and facts which aim to help Liverpool City Region residents cut down on food waste to protect our planet for future generations…

Food Waste in Liverpool City Region

According to the Waste Composition Analysis 2021/22 – Kerbside report produced by Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority, food waste across the six districts of Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) makes up an average of 31.6% of all the kerbside collected residual waste collected, which equates to an estimated 134,107 tonnes per annum. Furthermore, it is estimated that 73.2% of all the food in the kerbside collected residual waste is classified as avoidable (meaning it is disposed of packaged or in a prepared but uneaten condition).

The Good News

The good news is that there are methods that residents across the region can introduce to reduce the amount of food waste. Generating less waste is a pivotal component in reducing the effects of climate change. Beyond creating a more sustainable environment, reducing food waste saves money and provides plenty of chances to get creative in the kitchen – even for those who wouldn’t usually dream of cooking.

So, without further ado, dig in and enjoy!


English Breakfast

English Breakfast Day (Saturday 2 December)

Saturday 2 December marks perhaps one of the most iconic dishes to hail from our country – we, of course, referring to the English breakfast (also commonly known as the “full English”).

Here, we look at a few tips and facts which can help you reduce food waste and shrink your carbon footprint…

Try not to let your eyes get bigger than your belly!

For many in a ravenous condition, the Full English is just too tempting to turn down, due to its hearty variety of comforting foods and flavours.

A Full English typically consists of sausages, bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast.

Aside from the above ingredients, English breakfasts often include additional items such as fried bread, black pudding and hash browns (other potato-based alternatives include diced crispy potatoes, potato rosti or even chips).

Many reading this piece may be in a mouth-watering state just reading that. Others will perhaps be wondering “how on earth could a person eat so much in one sitting?”.

As for us, the first thing that comes to mind is “how do we stop so much food potentially going to waste?”… After all, many would probably be full for a day after eating such a huge amount of food.

Our advice here is simple: Keep your portion sizes sensible! Here are some tips on how you can do so:

  • Opt for one of everything if you need the whole hit of flavours – instead of multiples, plump for one of each where possible (and go smaller on portions such as mushrooms and baked beans).
  • It may seem obvious, but if there are certain foods you don’t enjoy as much as others, then ditch those in favour of the ones you like. You don’t have to have the whole dish as listed. If you’re in a café, diner or restaurant, there’s no need to be shy… You can ask them to leave the items you know you won’t eat off your plate. They won’t be offended, as they will receive requests like this on a regular basis.
  • Eliminate the stodge! Cutting out (or reducing) items such as toasted or fried bread, beans and potato-based foods such as hash browns or chips could help you to beat the bloat!
Cut meat out (if you can)

From a carbon-reducing point of view, cutting down on meat consumption is one of the most effective ways we can combat climate change.

Although the pork which makes up English breakfast favourites such as sausage, bacon and black pudding may be considered as a low impact food, it still has a higher impact than plant-based food.

There are many vegetarian and vegan choices for sausages, bacon and black pudding available at your local supermarket and even in some local butcher shops!

Already established brands such as Quorn and Linda McCartney Foods have in recent years been joined by thriving vegan meat providers such as THIS and Beyond Meat – all of which have tasty alternatives available to try.

That said, if meat alternatives aren’t your thing, the don’t beat yourself up about it.

Like we say, pork is a low impact meat option – although, there are ways we can more environmentally-friendly in our buying choices…

Buy local

Buying pork sausages, bacon and black pudding at your local butcher is often the most sustainable option.

This is because the meat that butchers sell tends to be sourced from local suppliers, meaning less miles travelled. The same local suppliers also veer towards the practice of sustainable farming, which helps to conserve the landscape and reduces the supply chain.

If you are purchasing your pork products from a supermarket instead of your local butcher, then look out for labels such as ‘Organic’, ‘Free Range’ and ‘RSPCA Assured + Outdoor Bred/Reared’.

Buying local is also the best option when it comes to purchasing tomatoes, mushrooms and / or potatoes for your English breakfast. As with butchers, local greengrocers tend to source their produce from local suppliers that practice sustainable farming. They also allow you to pack loose foods into a paper bag (or reusable produce bag) which is a great way of avoiding plastic packaging.

If shopping at a local greengrocer isn’t an option, then look out for the LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) logo or Soil Association logo at the supermarket. These labels offer accreditation which helps shoppers make local, sustainable fruit and vegetable purchases.


Pigs in Blankets

Pigs in Blankets Day (Tuesday 5 December)

Tuesday 5 December marks the celebration of a firm festive favourite… We are, of course, referring to pigs in blankets!

Aside from the points we’ve already covered in the previous ‘English Breakfast Day’ section about sausages and bacon (i.e., buying from local butcher, or looking out for the right labels in the supermarket), buying vegan pigs in blankets is the other advice we’d give…

Once upon time, the concept of vegan pigs in blankets would seem like a pipe dream to some, and absurd to others.

Fast forward to today and the concept is now a fully established realisation. What’s more, vegan pigs in blankets are proving to be a hit!

As well as the benefit of providing a more climate friendly option to their meaty counterparts, vegan pigs in blankets are easy to buy and even easier to eat!

Hailed for their meat-like taste, many supermarkets – including Aldi, Asda, Morrisons and M&S to name a few – are producing their own brand of vegan pigs in blankets, available alongside products from established vegan retailers such as THIS.


Christmas dinner

Christmas Day (Monday 25 December)

Whether Christmas makes you brim like Buddy the Elf or you’re a Santa-hating Scrooge, one thing’s for sure… There’s no time of year that does food quite like Christmas!

But beyond the festive flavours that make us happy at the mere thought, lies a damning fact: During Christmas, we waste so much food!

Festive food waste facts

According to BusinessWaste.co.uk, around 42 million dishes worth of Christmas food ends up in the bin.

The same article states that we throw away 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies and 740,000 portions of Christmas pudding.

Figures also indicate the waste of 17.2 million sprouts, 11.3 million potatoes, 9 million carrots and (despite us lauding their popularity in the previous section of this blog) 7.1 million pigs in blankets.

The impact

Such shocking statistics are a big contributor towards climate change.

Think about it. These figures – in their thousands and their millions – are UK-based only.

If our country alone is stomping such a big carbon footprint on the earth, then imagine the impacts being felt elsewhere.

Curious to find out more about Christmas waste on a global scale? A quick search online will tell you all you need to know.

So, how can we prevent food waste at Christmas?
  1. Plan, plan, plan! Speak to your fellow diners to get a gauge on what Christmas dinner ingredients they do and don’t like so you can make a list. Ask them how much they will realistically eat too – some of us can handle more than others and there’s no shame in it, either way. Perhaps the most sensible advice we can give is don’t go shopping spontaneously on an empty stomach… That is when you run the risk of getting eyes bigger than your belly!
  1. Check what you have in before you make that final dart to the shops: Once you’ve done your planning and you’ve got your shopping list, do one final check before you leave the house. You may already have those gravy granules or that stuffing mix in already. Or, if there are homemade elements to the meal, you may already have the ingredients – just check their expiration dates. If they’re still usable, use them!
  1. Tell guests what you need: Many people have guests over for dinner on Christmas Day. Odds are that they’ll turn up with something for the table – if this is usually the case, tell them in advance to bring things you need. It’s likely you’ll have all the fresh, perishable foods taken care of, so suggest items with a long shelf life. Or just tell them that their company is all you need!
  1. Press the pause button and freeze! Make sure your freezer has some space in it ahead of Christmas Day. You may have excess par-boiled veggies that can be left to cool and then frozen, for instance! For more specific advice, just search the food items you need storage advice on via Love Food Hate Waste’s Food Index.
  1. Laden your loved ones with leftovers: If you have family and friends who can make use of your lovely leftovers, then pop them an airtight container for them to put in the fridge until they’re ready to chow down.
  1. Or, if you’re saving your leftovers for yourself, get creative! Make bubble and squeak. Wrap them up in a giant Yorkshire pud. Make a burrito for all we care! Whatever it takes for you to keep your leftovers out the bin is fine with us (so long as you’re consuming them safely, of course!). Love Food Hate Waste’s Christmas leftovers recipes page is a good place to start for inspiration. For a more extensive list of leftover recipes, visit co.uk.
  1. Compost your uncooked, organic waste: If you have a compost bin, then it’s time to use those vegetable scraps and peelings to feed your soil and fuel your garden. If you don’t have a compost bin, read on to find out how you can get one for free* via our home composting scheme…

compost bin
Home Composting with Zero Waste LCR

Residents across the six districts of Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral) are eligible to become a member of the Home Composting Network, free of charge.

Upon signing up and becoming members, residents will receive a free compost bin*, a ‘How To, guide, composting tips, and subscription to our composting e-newsletter.

Why compost?

Composting is a great way of turning organic waste (including food scraps and garden trimmings) into a rich fertiliser to use on your lawn and plants. Rather than going to residual waste and feeding climate change, these organic materials can be reused to boost productivity in your garden!

Find out more and sign up today at www.zerowastelcr.com/working-towards-zero-waste/get-involved/.

*Free compost bins are subject to limited availability, while stocks last.


That’s a wrap!

Thank you for taking the time to read our Food for Thought blog – we hope you’ve enjoyed it and would like to take this opportunity to wish you and all your loved ones the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

If you are looking for more festive sustainable tips, please visit our #ChooseToReuse blog series. It features advice on how you can reuse, as well as a whole host of other eco-friendly ideas which can help you stop waste, save money and protect the planet.

Please note, with the exception of MRWA-published documents, external links feature within this article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.

Choose to Reuse this ChristmasIt’s the most wonderful time of the year and we are so ready to celebrate! There’s a certain charm and warmth about Christmas that gives us a special tingly feeling inside…

Making merry memories with our loved ones, getting festive with decorations, donning our Christmas jumpers, indulging in tasty treats and tipples and, of course, exchanging gifts.

Here at Zero Waste LCR, our role as Santa’s helpers is to ensure that residents discover ways to celebrate which don’t cost the earth.

Choose to Reuse this Christmas

Stats such as the ones above are why we are making this festive period our best snow fight yet – the reason why we are choosing to reuse, in a bid to tackle climate change.

The clock is ticking, and we are on a Santa dash-style mission to deliver our message as far and wide as we can to residents across all six districts of Liverpool City Region.

Residents of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral – we are inviting you to the place where the spirit of giving meets sustainable living…


The Christmas Good List Guide

Our Good List guide covers a range of Christmas-themed activities – from gifts, gift wrap and greetings cards to Christmas trees and Christmas decorations, there are plenty of ways to get involved.

Aside from choosing to reuse, there are a host of other ideas which are less harmful to the environment, can stop unnecessary waste and save money – all in a way which doesn’t compromise the joy of the holidays…


This blog forms part of our #ChooseToReuse series. Please note, with the exception of MRWA-published documents, external links featured within this article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.


Win a family ticket to go see Jack and the Beanstalk at the Atkinson in Southport!
Competition Time: Win a Family Ticket to go see Jack and the Beanstalk at The Atkinson in Southport

Southport Eco Centre have teamed up with The Atkinson to give residents across the region a chance to win a family ticket to Jack and the Beanstalk on Wednesday 27 December at 7pm.

Play their advent challenge from Friday 1 December – Thursday 14 December for your chance to win!

More information is available here: https://www.southportecocentre.com/christmas.

Good luck!

For many, sharing quality time with our loved ones during the festive season is the real gift of Christmas… But it’s also fair to say that exchanging presents ranks high on the yuletide activities we like to partake in when in the company of family and friends!

According to 2022 research data presented by Finder, the projected average Christmas gift spend in the UK was £430 per person, equating to a total of £20.1 billion.

In the spirit of giving, our #ChooseToReuse Christmas Gifts edition shares some tips which can help to shrink both your spending and your carbon footprint…


Secret Santa is a fun way of sticking to a budget at Christmas.
Secret Santa is a fun way of sticking to a budget at Christmas.

Secret Santa

Before we launch into specific reuse and eco-friendly gift ideas, we’re a sharing a tip which can save you money while preventing waste… We are, of course, referring to Secret Santa!

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, Secret Santa is a tradition in which a group of people are randomly assigned a person to whom they give a gift (usually through picking names out of a hat). The identity of the gift giver remains secret and is usually not revealed until after gifts have been exchanged.

Doing Secret Santa at home is a great way to retain the festive spirit and can prevent you and your loved ones launching yourselves into serious Christmas debt. Agree with your family and/or friends who wants to get involved, throw your names into a hat and decide on a budget to spend on gift recipients. This way, everyone gets a nice gift without breaking the bank!


Shopping for pre-loved items and antiques is a great way of finding quality gifts at a lower price.
Shopping for pre-loved items and antiques is a great way of finding quality gifts at a lower price.

Get them something pre-loved

Getting second-hand (or “pre-loved”) items is a great way of nabbing unique bargains which are as good as new – and, in some cases, completely unused! See our list of tips below:


Pick up items free of charge

Thanks to the emergence of online apps and websites, we are now able to locate items that people are giving away for free.

Such free items are usually available on a pick-up only basis, so our advice here is to ensure that you either share your location via your smartphone’s GPS or use a web filter to indicate where you live and how are far you are willing to go to pick up (the shorter the journey, the better, as this saves you money and reduces carbon emissions).

Check out the following platforms:

Image credit: FabNews.live/Hell Yeah!
Image credit: FabNews.live/Hell Yeah!
Olio

Originally starting life as a food-sharing app, Olio now lists other free non-food items. You can download and sign up for free via Android or iOS to view a whole range of items available near you – or list items of your own which you are willing to give away. The app also features a sale section if you wish to buy or sell products.

Shpock

Perhaps more famed for being a marketplace tool where you can buy and sell goods, Shpock is another app whereby you can pick up and list free items. Just simply type ‘£0’ as a value in the ‘Price’ tab to explore free pre-loved items near you. You can download and sign up for free via Android or iOS.

Preloved

Preloved is an online classified ads tool which features a “Freeloved” section. Again, you can register for free with a view to obtaining free items or listing ones which you are willing to give away. Aside from Freeloved, the option to buy and sell products is also available.

Gumtree

Another online classified ads tool where you can get free items and list them too. The option to buy and sell products is also available.

Craigslist

Craigslist

Yet another online classified ads tool where you can get free items and list them too. The option to buy and sell products is also available.

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace

Exclusive to people who have a Facebook account (if you don’t already have an account, you can sign up for free and just create one to use exclusively for Marketplace). As with previously mentioned platforms, you can get free items and list them too. The option to buy and sell products is also available.


Pre-loved clothes and fashion accessories unearth rare finds and are often good as new.
Pre-loved clothes and fashion accessories unearth rare finds and are often good as new.
Fashion

If you are hoping to buy your loved ones unique or vintage fashion items this Christmas, or you’re looking to sell clothes and accessories of your own, the below resources and platforms are a great place to start:

Our Zero Waste Map is a great resource for finding reuse organisations and charity shops across Merseyside and Halton.
Our Zero Waste Map is a great resource for finding reuse organisations and charity shops across Merseyside and Halton.
Zero Waste LCR Interactive Map

Our zero waste map features plenty of reuse organisations that sell second-hand clothes. Just visit this page, then hit the ‘Select Category’ tab below the map to explore charity shops and reuse organisations near you.

Vinted

Vinted

A great user-friendly app which you can download and sign up for free via Android or iOS. Vinted has become a household name in recent years and is a great way to buy, sell and even swap a wide range of pre-loved clothes (with many rare finds available for purchase).

Vestiaire Collective

Vestiaire Collective

This app specialises exclusively in second-hand designer clothing, allowing you to buy big brands at a lower cost. Again, you can download and sign up for free via Android or iOS.


Second-hand or "pre-loved" books are often in great condition and could be a useful gift or stocking filler for loved ones at Christmas.
Second-hand or “pre-loved” books are often in great condition and could be a useful gift or stocking filler for loved ones at Christmas.
Books

If you have avid readers among your gift recipients to buy for this Christmas, the beauty of buying them a book or two is that it’s hard to go wrong. There are literally millions of titles you can choose from! Just find out what kind of books they are into and then filter your search based on their preferences.

Here are a couple of UK-based* online second-hand book retailers to get you started:

World of Books

World of Books

As described by the World of Books website, this is a platform designed to “offer an affordable, sustainable alternative for bookworms who want to save the money and save the planet”. With over 7 million titles to choose from, economy delivery is free, with “Fast & Tracked” delivery services also available at a cost.

AbeBooks.com

AbeBooks

AbeBooks allows you to discover millions of gently used second-hand books. Their mantra is that “by choosing to shop for used books, you can save money, be sustainable, support independent booksellers, and have access to an unbeatable selection of literature from the past”.

*We have specifically listed UK-based online retailers in the interests of keeping miles travelled as low as possible.


A visit to your local charity shop is a great way of snapping up rare items at a bargain price.
A visit to your local charity shop is a great way of snapping up rare items at a bargain price.
Charity shops

Getting out and visiting local charity shops is a great way to pick up Christmas gifts. Often, you’ll come across rare finds which are in high quality, durable condition.

Items on offer usually include (but are not limited to) clothing, books, toys, ornaments, and kitchenware (as well as furniture and electrical appliances in some cases).

charityshopgirlcsg / Jen Graham
Jen Graham aka ‘The Charity Shop Girl’ is a local social media influencer who is shining a positive spotlight on a pre-loved fashion.

Local Instagram influencers such as @charityshopgirlcsg and @rows.of.rosie are leading the way in terms of charity shop haul inspiration – we recommend checking out their channels for ideas before heading out on your next charity shopping spree!

Looking for charity shops near you? Visit our Zero Waste Map, then hit the ‘Select Category’ tab below the map and select ‘Charity Shops’ to explore outlets near you.


Wooden toys are not only great for a child's development, but are a safer and often more aesthetically-pleasing alternative to their plastic counterparts.
Wooden toys are not only great for a child’s development, but are a safer and often more aesthetically-pleasing alternative to their plastic counterparts.

Choose wooden toys and board games over plastic toys

There are plenty of reasons why wooden toys and board games (which don’t have plastic pieces in them) are a better choice than their plastic counterparts…

According to parent-empowering website GoodTo, wooden toys are:

  • Safer for your child
  • Better for the environment
  • Longer lasting
  • Great enhancers for early education
  • Encouraging for creative play
  • A great way to promote teamwork skills
  • Cheaper in the long run
  • Adaptable (i.e. can be upcycled, repurposed)
  • Better looking

If the above quick pointers aren’t enough to convince you, or if you just want to find out more, then you can read the full article here.


Battery chargers are a great investment which encourage reuse and save money.
Battery chargers are a great investment which encourage reuse and save money.

Buy a universal battery charger and rechargeable batteries

Buying universal battery chargers and rechargeable batteries to accompany an electrical appliance which you are gifting is a nifty tip…

It allows your gift recipient to cut down battery waste, while also saving them money in the long haul.

Perhaps buying yourself a charger and rechargeable batteries to have at home may not be a bad idea either? They could come in handy for any electrical appliances you may receive as gifts. They would also be useful for certain toys if there are little ones at home.

Just remember…

Not all batteries are rechargeable! Once they die, batteries must be disposed of safely.

Placing batteries in your residual waste bin causes life-threatening fires at home, in waste collection vehicles, and at Recycling Centres. Binning batteries also pollutes the environment and is a waste of valuable resources.

Please recycle your batteries at your nearest large supermarket or at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre.


Christmas baking.

Make and bake

If you are looking to cut your budget or you’re unsure of what gifts to give, surprising family and friends with homemade treats is a perfect way to remedy such Christmas conundrums!

Making and baking festive sweets is also a great way to keep the kids entertained…

Homemade chocolate truffles, classic fudge and Christmas Jam are just some recipes which are simple to make and can be packaged as gifts… Either on their own or as part of a festive hamper!


Image credit: BBC Good Food
Christmas Truffles

Not many recipes come easier than this Christmas Truffles recipe from BBC Good Food – however, it is a messy one, so you may want to grab your apron!

All you need to do is:

  • Finely chop up some dark and milk chocolate and place in a bowl.
  • Then, melt double cream and butter in a pan until the butter has melted (you’ll want to take off the heat as soon as the butter has melted, as the mixture is likely to split when stirred in with the chocolate if you go any hotter).
  • Then, pour the mix onto your chopped chocolate, stirring together until your chocolate has melted. At this point, you can either leave the mixture as it is or add other festive flavours such as brandy, Irish Cream or orange zest.
  • What you now have is a lovely ganache, which should be left to cool and then popped in the fridge to chill for 7 hours. You want the ganache to be sturdy but flexible enough to roll into balls. If the mixture is too hard when you take it out, then leave it at room temperature for half an hour or so.
  • Now comes the fun (but messy) part – shaping and coating your truffles! You’ll need to use a flavourless oil on your hands before spooning small heaps of the ganache mixture into your hands and forming into balls, ready for coating. The BBC Good Food video tutorial uses chopped hazel nuts and crushed amoretti biscuits, but you can use other coatings such as cocoa powder, icing, sprinkles or a crushed biscuit of your choice. Speculoos (caramelised) biscuits could add a festive warmth to your flavourings, while something light like a Rich Tea biscuit would add a nice crispy texture. Whatever coating you decide on, just make sure you roll your truffles around so that they’re completely covered.
  • Once coated, place your truffles back in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up. The truffles will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge or a month within the freezer. They can be packaged in a greaseproof-lined gift box – you could even add a gift tag saying “Keep me in the fridge” along with a use-by date and/or home freezing guidelines.

View the full Christmas Truffle method and recipe here: www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/christmas-truffles.


Image credit: BBC Good Food
Image credit: BBC Good Food
Classic Fudge

Moving onto a cleaner but slightly more challenging recipe – yet again, from BBC Good Food – this homemade fudge recipe is another great gift option to consider making.

As stated on the website, this recipe uses:

Aside from the above ingredients, you’re going to need the following utensils:

  • A 20cm square cake tin
  • Baking parchment
  • A saucepan (plus a wooden spoon for stirring)
  • A sugar or probe thermometer
  • A stand mixer or electric handheld whisk

Once you have all of the above ingredients and utensils in place, we advise you follow the step-by-step video tutorial listed at the top of the article.

After you have made your fudge, it will keep up to three weeks in an airtight container, so bear this in mind when it comes to packaging as a gift. You may want to use a fancy container and possibly add a decorative touch – we recommend using reusing jars (just make sure they have a wide rim and that you sterilise them before storing your fudge). If you opt to use glass food containers or Tupperware, then you can always wrap with Kraft paper or a scarf (which can form part of the gift). Whatever container you use, we recommend adding a label with a use-by date written on it.

View the full Classic Fudge method and recipe here: www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/classic-fudge.


Christmas Jam

Our third and final recommendation from BBC Good Food is this Christmas Jam recipe, which has a rich cranberry base and is vegan, dairy-free and egg-free.

For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

*Edible glitter is not a microplastic, making it both safe for consumption and harmless to the environment (as opposed to normal glitter).

You will also need the following utensils:

  • A small plate (to put in the fridge so you can test the jam)
  • A heavy-based saucepan
  • Sterilised jam jar(s) – depending on size (the article recommends 3 x 228ml jars)

Essentially, all you need to do is chuck all the ingredients into the pan (save for the edible glitter, which you stir in later if using), bring to a boil and then simmer for around 30-35 minutes before testing.

Once ready, you leave to cool for 10 minutes and then decant into sterilised jars and seal – it’s as simple as that!

What makes this jam even more appealing is its long shelf life – it will keep for three months if stored in a cool, dark place for three months, or for one month in the fridge once opened.

As with the other recommendations, we suggest adding a label with storage info and an expiration date.

View the full Christmas Jam recipe and method here: www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/christmas-jam.


Gingerbread cookies are full of festive flavour and fun to make at home.
Gingerbread cookies are full of festive flavour and fun to make at home.
Other homemade Christmas food gift ideas

The above recipes are just some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Aside from truffles, fudge and jam, you could also search for the following recipes:

  • Christmas cookies
  • Shortbread biscuits
  • Rocky Road
  • Peppermint bark
  • Gingerbread shapes
  • Mini Christmas cakes
  • Festive chutney

Who knows? You may even add your own twists along the way or come up with a completely new recipe of your own!


Succulent plants are a strong gift choice, as they are low maintenance, look great and bring multiple health benefits.
Succulent plants are a strong gift choice, as they are low maintenance, look great and bring multiple health benefits.

Buy them an indoor plant

Indoor plants are a great gift to buy. Besides from looking pretty, they are long-lasting, durable delights which bring several scientifically proven health benefits…

According to studies highlighted in this article from Healthline, indoor plants may:

  1. Reduce stress levels.
  2. Sharpen your attention.
  3. Be therapeutic.
  4. Help you recover from illness faster.
  5. Boost your productivity.
  6. Improve your whole outlook on work.
  7. Improve the quality of indoor air.

Furthermore, the Royal Horticultural Society states that indoor plants can reduce blood pressure, as well as fatigue and headaches.

Top tips before you buy

 

  • Buying plants that are safe for your gift recipients: If your gift recipient lives with children and / or pets, then not all plants are safe, so you’re best checking this in further detail before completing your purchase. Healthline lists a few plants you many want to avoid buying for people with children and pets here.

 

  • Composting plants at the end of their lifecycle: With the right level of care, indoor houseplants should last for years. Once they do come to end of their lifecycle, however, composting them is a great way of reducing waste, feeding soil and fuelling your garden. Want to learn more about composting? Join our Home Composting Network today to receive a free compost bin* and tips on how to compost your organic waste.

*Please note, compost bins are FREE to residents based in Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) but are subject to limited availability (while stocks last).


Give the gift that keeps on giving

Give someone the gift that keeps on giving this Christmas…

Memberships and courses are great, as they give your gift recipients the opportunity to indulge in a hobby or passion, and in some cases, even allow them to develop new skills!

© National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor
Exploring the footpaths at Foremark, Derbyshire ©National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Giftmembership.co.uk lists gift membership choices in one place for convenient browsing. Whether your loved ones are passionate about history, nature, gardens, culture, or food and drink, there are plenty of options which suit a variety of budgets.

Online make-up tutorials are one of many courses you can gift to fuel loves ones' hobbies and interests.

If you’d prefer to buy them a course instead, Buyagift features a range of online packages available to purchase from as cheap as £5! Yoga, makeup, fashion design, nail technician, British Sign Language, tarot reading and musical instrument courses are just a few of the options which you can gift to family and friends.


Gift them an experience

What’s life without making memories? Instead of physical gifts, buying your loved ones an experience day not only gives them something to look forward to, but also something precious to look back on too!

Whether it’s a meal voucher, a pampering session, a trip to the theatre, or something a bit more out-of-the ordinary such as a hot air balloon ride, feeding animals at the zoo, or even a beekeeping experience, the options are almost endless!

Experience day gift cards are available to purchase online, so it’s worth researching your options before taking the plunge and buying as a gift for your loved ones.


Encourage others to reuse and be more eco-friendly

Buying presents which are reusable or eco-friendly is a great way of helping your gift recipients to protect the environment and, in some cases, save money.

Here is a list of ideas which may be worth pursuing:

Reusable water bottles reduce single use plastics and can save your gift recipients money.
Reusable water bottles

According to Recycling Facts, we generate 15 million single use plastic bottles a day! Thankfully, reusable water bottles are becoming more and more mainstream. Some of them even have in-built water filters!

Travel mugs are handy for drinking coffee on the go, while many coffee retailers now incentivise their use with discounts.
Travel mugs are handy for drinking coffee on the go, while many coffee retailers now incentivise their use with discounts.
Reusable travel mugs

According to various sources including UK Parliament, in the UK we throw away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups per year! Recently, this has been offset by the willingness of coffee retailers to allow customers to use their own reusable mugs. Many coffee shops and retailers even encourage and incentivise reuse cups by offering discounts!

Reusable straws provide a sturdy alternative to paper straws.
Reusable straws provide a sturdy alternative to paper straws.
Reusable straws

These are a great sturdy alternative to use instead of single use paper straws, which have become commonplace since plastic straws were banned in the UK back in 2020.

Tote bags are a trendy alternative which can be gifted as a way to save your loved ones money and reduce single use carrier bags.
Tote bags are a trendy alternative which can be gifted as a way to save your loved ones money and reduce single use carrier bags.
Reusable shopping bags

Trendy tote bags are handy to carry bought items on the go, time and time again. Recent research states that we use 13 billion carrier bags in the UK each year, so embracing more durable and aesthetically pleasing cotton shoppers is generally a good way to go in terms of saving money and the planet!

Reusable produce bags are great gifts for helping your loved ones to store loose veg during their grocery shopping.
Reusable produce bags are great gifts for helping your loved ones to store loose veg during their grocery shopping.
Reusable produce bags

Reusable produce bags are great for storing loose items such as fruits and vegetables. These bags are usually made from breathable materials such as organic cotton and mesh. You can even buy reusable and washable sandwich bags! Reusable produce bags are a great way to cut down every-day plastic waste.

Insulated lunch bags can be gifted as a great alternative to the classic lunch box, as they keep food cool and fresh for longer.
Insulated lunch bags can be gifted as a great alternative to the classic lunch box, as they keep food cool and fresh for longer.
Insulated lunch bags

Insulated lunch bags are a great alternative to the humble lunchbox and a handy gift for children and adults alike! The insulation is a game changer in terms of keeping your lunch cool and fresh.

Gifting infusers as part of a loose leaf tea hamper is a great idea which can reduce microplastic waste caused by some tea bags.
Gifting infusers as part of a loose leaf tea hamper is a great idea which can reduce microplastic waste caused by some tea bags.
Loose leaf tea infusers

Aside from offering a sustainable alternative to tea bags, gifting loose leaf tea infusers along with a batch of loose leaf tea is a presentable little gift bundle for your loved ones to open on Christmas Day.

Solar-powered portable phone chargers are a great eco-friendly gift option which use a free energy source.
Solar-powered portable phone chargers are a great eco-friendly gift option which use a free energy source.
Solar powered portable power banks

Charged by daylight, these power banks can be used to charge your phone and other electric appliances on the go!

Bamboo toothbrushes are a bathroom essential which can help gift recipients reduce plastic pollution.
Bamboo toothbrushes are a bathroom essential which can help gift recipients reduce plastic pollution.
Bamboo toothbrushes

Bamboo toothbrushes are a bathroom essential which will help your gift recipients cut down on plastic pollution. Clean teeth, clean conscience!

Bamboo make up brushes are a great gift which can help to greenify your loved ones' beauty collections.
Bamboo make up brushes are a great gift which can help to greenify your loved ones’ beauty tools.
Bamboo make-up brushes

Bamboo make-up brushes are a durable way to greenify your beauty tools!

Beauty bars are a great alternative to plastic-packaged shower and bath products.
Beauty bars are a great alternative to plastic-packaged shower and bath products.
Eco-friendly beauty bars

Eco friendly beauty bars can be used for hair, face and body, and are packaged without plastics. The zero-waste way to shower, bath and wash at home!

Reusable nappies can be gifted to loved ones who have babies in the family. They can help new parents to reduce waste and save money in the long run.
Reusable nappies can be gifted to loved ones who have babies in the family. They can help new parents to reduce waste and save money in the long run.
Reusable nappies and wipes

Buying for a baby this Christmas? Getting reusable nappies and wipes will not only save the baby’s guardians heaps of money but will also significantly reduce waste. According to WRAP, “by the time one baby is potty trained the baby could use 4,000 to 6,000 disposable nappies. In comparison, a baby only needs around 20 to 30 modern real nappies, and these can also be used by any siblings that come along”. As disposable wet wipes are non-recyclable, getting reusable wipes (or flannels) is also a good way to save money and protect the planet.


Passing on unwanted gifts to loved ones or charity shops is a much better alternative to leaving them in storage or throwing them away.
Passing on unwanted gifts to loved ones or charity shops is a much better alternative to leaving them in storage or throwing them away.

Pass it on

Received a gift you don’t need but don’t want to ask for the receipt? Return it for and exchange, re-gift it if someone else would love it, sell it online or feel great and donate it to charity!


This blog forms part of our #ChooseToReuse series. Please note, with the exception of MRWA-published documents, external links featured within this article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.

Over 1 million Christmas cards are thrown away each year.Christmas cards are easy to buy, write and send… But sadly, they’re even easier to throw away!

For many, they are tradition, seen as a small gesture which goes a long way. But the reality is that these small, kind gestures have a big, harmful impact on climate change.

Our #ChooseToReuse Christmas Cards edition takes a closer look at how we can bid season’s greeting in a more eco-friendly way…


Know your Recycle Rights

There are many Christmas cards that use glitter, plastic and dyes, which means that they are not recyclable.

If you receive cards which fit the above description, please do not put them in your recycling collections. Instead, you can dispose of them in your local council kerbside residual bin. Or better still, keep hold of them to reuse as gift tags next year (more on that further down…)


So, what shall I do if I want to send a Christmas card?

If you just can’t shake the tradition of sending Christmas cards, then our advice is to make eco-friendly purchases.

When it comes to buying Christmas cards which are recyclable, make sure they are 100% paper or card.

©: Forest Stewardship Council
©: Forest Stewardship Council

Another good indicator to look out for is that most recyclable cards will have the Forest Stewardship Council stamp on them, which certifies that the paper has been sustainably produced.


Homemade Christmas card

Go homemade!

Going homemade is a great way of reusing materials and saving money. Here are a few suggestions of how you can make eco-friendly choices when it comes to making homemade Christmas cards…

  • Reuse and repurpose: Raid the cupboards to see if you have any old stationery knocking about. As well as standard sheets of cardboard and paper, cardboard boxes and paper plates are handy items you can use.
  • Use recycled paper or cardboard: These materials are made from post-consumer waste, which essentially means that they have been made from paper that has been used and then recycled. This reduces the number of trees that need to be cut down to make new paper products.
  • Steer away from glitter, dyes and plastics: Using coloured pencils is the best route to choose when making your homemade cards – although, vegetable inks and paints can also be used if you feel like getting extra creative!

Digital Christmas card alternatives (to save time and money)

  • Free design websites and apps: Using free online graphic design tools such as Canva and Fotor are a great alternative to traditional cards, as they feature a range of ready-made Christmas card templates which can be customised as you please (both from a visual perspective and also in terms of personalised messages). Once you are happy with your design and message, download and send via email or social media messaging platforms. You can do all that in the time it would take you to head out to the shops (let alone writing, sealing and posting your cards) – what’s more, you’ll be shaving spend off your Christmas shopping budget!
  • Make a video message: This is such a fun idea! Truly embrace the spirit of Christmas – don your best Christmas-themed attire among the festive backdrop of your home… You can either say a few words to the camera with your favourite yuletide tunes playing quietly in the background, or you can belt out a verse or two yourself! Whether it’s a modern classic or a traditional Christmas carol, the choice is yours. If you’re dosed up on Christmas spirt, Santa snacks or a festive tipple, we won’t judge (so long as you stay on The Good List).
  • Arrange a video call: If a pre-meditated message isn’t your thing, then arranging video calls with those who would usually be on your Christmas card list is a great way of exchanging greetings. Nothing says “I’m thinking of you” more than the gift of time.

The above are just a few ideas to help you beat the bin in terms of Christmas card waste. We know that digital isn’t for everybody, but if you’re technically savvy, then adopting these methods can save you time and money.


Save Christmas cards you receive to make gift tags for next year

This is a simple hack which will extend the life of your received Christmas cards and will also save you money for next year!

Check out the below video tutorial from crafting influencer, Jessie Katz Greenberg, to learn how you can create DIY gift tags…


This blog forms part of our #ChooseToReuse series. Please note, with the exception of MRWA-published documents, external links featured within this article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.

Addressing gift-wrapping habits is such a simple and effective way to be more environmentally savvy at Christmas time.

Our #ChooseToReuse Gift Wrap edition provides advice on sustainable choices we can make when wrapping gifts this year…


Switch to Kraft paper

Making the switch to Kraft paper (brown recycling paper) will not only save heaps of wrapping paper going into the residual waste, but it also offers scope to get creative…

A touch of creativity could be as simple as including some string or festive fabric to bound the gift.

If that still seems a little understated, then adding festive stamps and old Christmas decorations are great ways of enhancing your brown recycling paper gift wrap.

Why switch to Kraft paper?

We recommend switching to Kraft paper on the basis that most decorative Christmas gift wrap contains plastics and glitters – meaning that they are not recyclable!

Some Kraft paper does come readily decorated with Christmas patterns and motifs, so it’s always worth keeping an eye out in store or searching online.


Know your Recycle Rights

So, now we know what paper is best to go for in terms of boosting our sustainability efforts, equally as handy to know is how to discard of the gift wrap that we receive…

If it’s Kraft paper, then you’d think it would just be case of placing straight into your home recycling – however, an important thing to note is that all sticky tape and decorations must be removed before making this step. If sticky tape and decorations aren’t removed, then this will contaminate your recycling (which essentially means materials will needlessly go to waste).


How can I tell if gift wrap is recyclable?

The simplest way to determine if gift wrap is recyclable is to look out for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo (pictured above).

However, you can also do the scrunch test:

  1. Take some wrapping paper and scrunch it in your hand.
  2. If it springs back, it has a plastic coating (plastic has a memory and that’s why it bounces back) and should not be recycled.
  3. Wrapping that does not spring back is the one you should recycle, as it is purely paper.

Plan ahead to ensure you’re discarding of your gift wrap properly

We all recognise the scene of the black bin bag in the middle of the room, stuffed as fat as Santa’s sack with ripped wrapping paper!

Instead of putting all the paper into one bin bag, use two – one for recycling and one for waste. This method is a smart way of recycling the right gift wrap and preventing unnecessary waste.


More eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas

There are other sustainable ways of wrapping gifts which will look great under the tree and help you reduce waste this Christmas! See some suggestions below…

  • Reuse gift wrap: If you don’t already do this, then start saving for next year. Unwrapping presents carefully, neatly folding the paper and then storing for next year is a great way of saving your money… And the planet!
  • Use newspapers or magazines: If you’re really smart with this method, you can wrap gifts in a way which features images of your loved ones’ favourite celebrities, or pictures relating to their hobbies! This magazine gift wrapping tutorial on Brit + Co Guides not only shows you how it’s done, but also how good it looks!
  • Use Christmas scarves to wrap your gifts: The great thing about this idea is that using Christmas scarves (or any other scarves or fabrics for that matter) as ‘gift wrap’ forms part of the gift, and they can be reused over and over again! There is a Japanese technique called Furoshiki which is basically a much easier form of origami that uses fabric instead of paper. There are tons of tutorials online which can help you learn Furoshiki – here are a couple from Pointful Things to get you started…


This blog forms part of our #ChooseToReuse series. Please note, with the exception of MRWA-published documents, external links featured within this article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.

The Christmas Tree is more than just a festive symbol! Nothing quite tops these beacons of merriment (with the literal exception of fairies, angels and stars, of course).

Our #ChooseToReuse Christmas Tree edition provides you with sustainable tips which can help you to branch our environmentally…


Picking natural Christmas trees is a fun festive family tradition

Natural Christmas Trees

For those of us who pick up natural (or “real”) Christmas trees, coming home with a fresh, live one is a family tradition which fills our homes with a natural seasonal scent and brings unbridled joy.

Beyond the advantages of being tree-mendously traditional and effusing festive fragrances, real Christmas trees are better for the environment.

What makes real Christmas trees better for the environment?
  • They are grown to be harvested and are also compostable – whereas their artificial counterparts don’t go anywhere fast once they inevitably end up in landfill.
  • They are beacons of biodiversity – in the years it takes to grow a real Christmas tree, they provide a habitat for wildlife to thrive in. Research has found that the growth cycle of Christmas trees attracts up to 40 different bird species!
Where should I buy my real Christmas tree?

Buying real Christmas trees that are UK-grown is a sure way of keeping your carbon footprint low.

Choosing to buy locally is viewed as the best option, as it reduces the miles travelled, while The Soil Association state that organic independent retailers or farm shops are more likely to opt for growers who totally avoid the use of harmful pesticides on their farms.

There are a number of local providers in and around Liverpool City Region that sell UK-grown trees. We have listed a few below:

Potted Christmas trees
Potted Christmas trees come in all shapes in sizes. They are a lot heavier than cut trees, so buying one under 5ft is recommended for ease of movement.
Potted Christmas trees come in all shapes in sizes. They are a lot heavier than cut trees, so buying one under 5ft is recommended for ease of movement.

According to The Carbon Trust:

“Potted trees (with roots) are able to be re-used, spreading the carbon footprint over multiple years and potentially avoiding transport emissions, making them a more sustainable option if you’re after a real Christmas tree.”

With regards to caring for potted trees, The Royal Horticultural Society advises that potted trees should be brought indoors as late as possible – ideally, the weekend before (or a few days before) Christmas Day.

Potted trees should be displayed in a cool room to reduce stress and damage, and should be kept in the house no longer than 12 days. If your potted tree begins to look sad, putting it back outside sooner rather than later is the best option to increase its health and longevity.

You can then either plant the tree out in the garden after Christmas, or you can grow it on in a container and reuse next year – visit the official Royal Horticultural Society for further guidance on how to do this.

Rent a Christmas tree

Renting live Christmas trees is also an option worth considering, thanks to online retailers who deliver across the UK.

Pros: Rent-a-tree schemes usually include delivery and collection, with the guarantee that your real Christmas tree won’t end up in landfill.

Cons: This option can be more costly and is likely to result in extra miles travelled. You also don’t get the benefit of seeing the tree up close and personal before paying your rental fee.

Responsible reuse and disposal of real Christmas trees

If your real Christmas tree is not potted with roots and has been cut, then it cannot be replanted.

However, the good news is that there are several ways you can prevent your real Christmas tree from going to landfill – this is important, as real trees decompose and produce methane gas, which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Here are the options you can pursue when disposing of your real Christmas tree responsibly:

  • Recycle at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre – find the nearest one to you via the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority website.
  • Use your local Council’s green waste collection service – some districts do charge, and operate their green waste kerbside collections at different times of the year, so be sure to check directly in your area: Halton Borough Council, Knowsley Council, Liverpool City Council, Sefton Council, St Helens Borough Council, Wirral Council
  • Start a new compost pile – trim and stack your Christmas tree branches four to six inches high and start adding your kitchen scraps thereafter. The vegetable peelings from your Christmas dinner may be a good place to start!
  • Shake off your pines – cutting off branches and shaking dead pine needles onto lawns, flowerbeds and plants is a great way to keep your garden well fertilised. This owes to the fact that pine needles don’t collect mould and decompose slowly, which are perfect characteristics that help to enrichen soil!
  • Embrace biodiversity – take your Christmas tree outside into the garden and either leave in its stand or place on its side so that it can act as a shelter for bugs and birds during the winter months.
  • Safely burn your tree – chopping up your tree and safely burning in your fire pit or chimenea emits the carbon dioxide that it stored up when it was growing, so there is no net increase!

Artificial Trees

Those of us who use artificial trees in our homes laud them for their ability to create a streamlined aesthetic, as well as for their convenient, low-maintenance nature… What’s more, if you look after them properly, they can be reused for years on end!



The above statistic from the UK government indicates that reusing artificial Christmas trees is a crucial component towards protecting the environment.

As stated by The Soil Association:

“Most artificial trees are made in China, with the dual environmental impact of being made from plastic, PVC and metal, and then shipped overseas.

However, it isn’t just the manufacturing that racks up their carbon footprint. Artificial Christmas trees aren’t recyclable, so when they’re inevitably thrown away, they end up in landfill, going nowhere fast.

According to the Carbon Trust, a two-metre artificial tree has a carbon footprint of around 40kg, more than ten times that of a real tree that’s burned after Christmas.”

But it’s not all bad news.

The Carbon Trust states that an artificial tree used over multiple years (7-20 times depending on the weight and different materials in the tree) is actually better for the environment than buying a new, commercially grown tree every year.

So, while the artificial tree route is not the primary recommendation, it can be a good solution if you treat it as a long-term investment.

If you keep your artificial tree in good condition but no longer can use it, donating to a local charity to reuse or sell is the best option.


This blog forms part of our #ChooseToReuse series. Please note, with the exception of MRWA-published documents, external links featured within this article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.

Once you’re decided on your Christmas tree, it’s time to get the decorations sorted!

Our #ChooseToReuse Christmas Decorations edition features a list of eco-friendly ideas for how you can add a touch of festive fancy to your tree and home this Christmas…


LED string lights are not only brighter than incandescent ones, but they save energy and money too. With the right treatment, hey can be used for years on end!
LED string lights are not only brighter than incandescent ones, but they save energy and money too. With the right treatment, hey can be used for years on end!

LED Christmas Lights

If you have yet to make the switch to LED Christmas lights, then now is the time to do it!

Why? Because LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights use up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent lights and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors.

As well as being kinder to the environment, LED lights are also kinder to your bank balance too. According to research from Which?*, using one string of LED lights on your tree for six hours per day over a two-month period would cost as little as 51p per day on average.

It goes without saying, the more lights you use and the longer that you use them for will use more energy and cost more money – so this is something to bear in mind when choosing how to light up your Christmas tree and/or other parts of your home.

*Worthy to note – the same Which? article also revealed that there are certain LED light settings which you can save on energy and costs, so it’s definitely worth a look!


Homemade Christmas Decorations

Homemade Christmas decorations are a great way to reduce waste, save money and spend some quality time getting creative.

Whether you’re crafting on your own, with friends or with family, DIY deccies are a fun activity for both adults and children alike!

There are so many different innovative decoration ideas available to explore online. Here are a few from us to get your creative juices flowing…

Using brown string gives your cardboard star garland a more rustic aesthetic, but jewellery wire can be used if you prefer a cleaner look.
Using brown string gives your cardboard star garland a more rustic aesthetic, but jewellery wire can be used if you prefer a cleaner look.
Cardboard Star Garland

Before you pop that cardboard box into the recycling, why not transform it into something that will add a bit of festive magic to your Christmas tree?

We tried this this cardboard star decoration from northpole.com and it did not disappoint!

The article advises to use the following supplies:

  • Printable template (download here)*
  • Cutting mat
  • X-Acto**
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Pin
  • Cardboard, plus extra to protect painting surface
  • Gold spray paint***
  • Fishing line (or other clear string)****
  • Optional: hot glue gun & glue sticks

*Instead of the helpful printable template supplied in the source article, we cheated and used a star holepunch – these are available to buy at craft and stationery stores or online.

**X-Acto is just a brand of craft knife recommended by the source article. You can use any craft knife you like. Just make sure your blade is sharp and that you have some spares if you plan to make loads of stars, as blades can become blunted if overused.

***Instead of gold spray paint, we opted to use gold acrylic paint and a small artist brush to cut down our use of aerosols. If you do opt for spray paint, just be sure to recycle it at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre (or, if you live in St Helens, you can place empty aerosols into your white bag which gets collected from home). Also worthy to note is that although acrylic paint is deemed to be less harmful than lead-based or oil-based paints, there are alternatives out there that are friendlier for the environment (mainly and namely watercolours).

****Instead of fishing wire or other clear string, we opted for brown string. This is because we decided to use our cardboard stars to make a garland, rather than individual hanging decorations.

Aside from the above customisations to our supplies list, we followed the method as listed and ended up with the following carboard star chain…

Using brown string gives your cardboard star garland a more rustic aesthetic, but jewellery wire can be used if you prefer a cleaner look.
Using brown string gives your cardboard star garland a more rustic aesthetic, but jewellery wire can be used if you prefer a cleaner look.

Not a bad place to get us star-ted, on our DIY decoration journey, eh?


Making your own salt dough decorations at home is a fun and rewarding activity for children and adults alike.
Making your own salt dough decorations at home is a fun and rewarding activity for children and adults alike.
Salt Dough Christmas Tree Decorations

Making salt dough shapes is not only a great way to create customisable ornaments, but is a fun, cost-cutting activity for people of all ages!

Salt dough is made using only three ingredients – plain flour, salt and water.

It takes 10 minutes to prepare and once the dough mixture is made up, you can use it to make whatever shapes you desire!

You could make a homemade paper template (such as a star or Christmas tree shape) and a craft knife to cut around – although, using cookie cutters is a less time-consuming method. Christmas-themed cookie cutters are available to buy in various stores and online.

Once you have cut your dough and baked it – we baked ours at a low heat for three hours – it’s simply a case of allowing it to cool before painting the shapes to your liking.

We followed this simple recipe from BBC Good Food and ended up with the below Christmas decorations…

<yoastmark class=

We opted to make smaller shapes, as we knew anything bigger may look a little over-bearing for our tiny Christmas tree.

We glued two of the same shape back-to-back to give each ornament extra sturdiness – we did this with a glue gun, gluing jewellery wire between each shape so we could use them as hanging ornaments for our tree.

If you have a larger tree (the tree we used is only 3-feet), then it may be worth thinking about making the shapes a little bigger, so that they don’t get lost in the aesthetic.

One last observation we thought worth sharing – we made too many shapes to fit in the oven when baking. The leftover shapes were subsequently put to one side. When we revisited them a few days later, they had solidified, so there was no need for us to bake them. This saved us time, as well as money on our energy bill!


Other Great DIY Christmas Decoration Ideas

Cardboard stars and salt dough shapes were just two DIY decorations we tried at home, with a little help from some friends. It was a fun way to socialise and although we’re sure that the legacy of great artists such as Da Vinci, Van Gogh and Turner will remain unthreatened by our work, we were all pleasantly surprised with the outcome of our efforts.

Here are some other ideas which we’re thinking of trying ourselves in future (and which may interest you too)…


Image credit: Coley Kuyper Art
Image credit: Coley Kuyper Art
Festive DIY Toilet Roll Tube Crafts

The humble toilet roll tube is one of the best everyday items you can use to make Christmas decorations… It’s amazing how these usually dull and grey objects can be customised and upcycled into something festive for your home.

Whether you’re opting for something simple or elaborate, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing…

Just remember, if you opt to create a toilet roll tube decoration which uses glitter or plastic, then these items can’t be placed in your kerbside recycling collections. The best thing to do would be to keep them safe to be reused next year. However, if they get a little tatty and can’t be reused, then place them in your residual waste bin at home.


Image credit: Surviving a Teacher's Salary
Image credit: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary
Santa Claus in a Chimney

Kicking off our DIY toilet roll tube crafts is this simple yet effective Santa Clause decoration from survivingateacherssalary.com

As stated on the website, “this adorable Santa Claus Toilet Paper Tube Christmas craft for kids is great for preschool and older kids! All you’ll need is a recycled toilet paper tube (or cut paper towel roll), red, black and white paint, and a red piece of card stock or construction paper”.

Visit here to find out more: https://www.survivingateacherssalary.com/santa-claus-toilet-paper-tube-christmas-craft-for-kids/.


Cut-Out Christmas Trees

Originally shared during the height of the pandemic back in 2020, this cut-out Christmas Tree decoration from Coley Kuyper Art can be made as an individual ornament for your mantle piece – or as part of a collection (or “forest”, as the article states).

Items you’ll need to create your toilet roll Christmas Trees include:

– Empty toilet roll tubes and/or kitchen roll tubes

– A marker or pencil for sketching tree shapes

– Craft paint of choice

– Scissors

Visit here to find out how you can make your own cut-out Christmas Trees at home: https://coleykuyperart.com/blogs/blog/diy-toilet-paper-roll-christmas-tree-forrest.


Image credit: A Mom's Impression
Image credit: A Mom’s Impression
Christmas Elves

What would Christmas be without Santa’s little helpers?

This next DIY toilet roll tube craft from A Mom’s Impression is a tribute to elves and uses the following supplies:

  • Toilet Paper Tubes
  • Felt
  • Glitter Foam Sheet*
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pom Poms
  • Glitter Tape*
  • Paint Markers

*Instead of glitter foam sheets and glitter tape, a more-environmentally friendly way to add colour would be to use watercolour paints.

Find out how you can make your own Christmas Elf toilet roll tube decorations at home here: https://amomsimpression.com/easy-kids-christmas-crafts/.


Eco-friendly Christmas crackers are better for the environment as they contain non-recyclable materials such as plastics, dyes and glitters.

Eco-Friendly Christmas Crackers

While Christmas crackers are a well-loved tradition for a lot of people, the reality is that the cheap and easy-to-buy nature of these snap-tastic festive table decorations means that they are highly wasteful.

According to research from BusinessWaste.co.uk, it’s estimated that over 40 million Christmas crackers end up in the bin on Christmas day – furthermore, a survey found that 99% of individuals throw their Christmas cracker gift in the bin at the end of the day!

Aside from that, crackers usually contain foil, glitter or plastic which means they cannot be recycled after use.

However, there are a range of eco-friendly Christmas cracker options available to purchase in various stores and online. Eco-friendly Christmas crackers are often made from 100% recycled paper or reusable fabric.

Or, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can have a go at making some yourself! Check out the below two-minute craft from Diane in Denmark. This simple method allows you to reuse items such as toilet / kitchen roll inners and scraps of Christmas gift wrap. It’s easy to make, fun for kids and zero waste… What’s not to love?


Image credit: nationaltrust.org.uk
Image credit: nationaltrust.org.uk

Reusable Advent Calendars

What makes being a day closer to Christmas even more exciting? Getting a little treat for your troubles along the way!

Fun for both children and adults, Advent calendars are a great way to count down to Christmas Day.

BUT… Just like the previously covered topic of Christmas crackers, they can be highly wasteful due to their disposable nature and the levels of packaging that they contain.

According to research from BusinessWaste.co.uk, around 5 million advent calendars contain single-use plastics – furthermore, advent calendars have around 38 times as much packaging per gram of chocolate compared to a standard chocolate bar.

This level of waste is a huge contributor towards climate change. Thankfully, though, there is a way we can tackle this… By choosing a reusable Advent calendar!

Available via a range of local, high street and online retailers, reusable advent calendars are easy enough to buy… But also fun to make!

There are plenty of different ideas you can try listed on Pinterest, as well as a range of online tutorials. You can even buy DIY reusable Advent calendar kits if you don’t already have the required materials at home.

Once your reusable Advent calendar is in place, you can fill with whatever prizes you wish. Life Before Plastic has a great range of ideas including:

  • Small toys and trinkets
  • Handwritten notes or inspirational quotes
  • Eco-friendly treats like FairTrade chocolates or organic sweets
  • Mini skincare or beauty products
  • Craft supplies for DIY holiday decorations
  • Sustainable and reusable items like bamboo toothbrushes or reusable shopping bags

Natural Christmas Wreaths

Creating your own Christmas wreath is a great way to make use of natural resources lying around in your garden or local park.

Woodland Trust’s Foraging for Natural Christmas Decorations guide is a good reference point for finding out what to collect and where.

As well as offering top guidance on materials, they also have this handy tutorial on how you can make your natural Christmas wreath at home…

 

Beyond Christmas wreaths, Woodland Trust have other online video tutorials including how to make Seasonal DIY Twig Centerpieces, DIY Hanging Tree Branches, and DIY Table Setting Decorations.


This blog forms part of our #ChooseToReuse series. Please note, with the exception of MRWA-published documents, external links featured within this article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.