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.
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.
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.