How to Have a More Sustainable Christmas

by Chrissy Xuereb Warrington

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us – preparations, decorations, lights, and music are in full swing. And although it truly is a wonderful time, it can also be quite environmentally unfriendly, but there are many ways that we can change that! 

First of all, let’s remember the order of the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Too often, people focus on recycling, however that should be the last resort. We should first look to reduce, and then reuse whenever possible. 

So how can we go about that? 

Here are some ideas and examples on how to have a more sustainable Christmas in Malta this year:

Don’t Overbuy or Waste Food

Here in Malta, we’re known for our love for food – and at Christmastime, we always take it up a notch! When preparing to host a big lunch, it’s very easy to overbuy which can unfortunately lead to wasting. Good planning can help to prevent this and always aim to satisfy, not to stuff! And if there are plenty of leftovers nonetheless, be sure to make the most of them by freezing, distributing, or even donating if possible. Of course this doesn’t count if the food has already been reheated – but then you could always leave it out for the stray cats to enjoy! 😁

Use Cloth Napkins

So you’re hosting and are preparing your perfect table setup… Why not swap regular napkins for cloth ones? They’re sturdier, great for decorating, waste less, consume more, and can be used over and over again for different occasions! It’s a win-win!

Shop Local

Whether we’re talking about food produce or gifts, buying local is a great way to help the environment. Aside from there generally being less packaging when shopping locally, thus reducing waste significantly, you are also helping to reduce transportation pollution and costs, and supporting local businesses (i.e., families) too! 

Opt for Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

Did you know that a lot of wrapping paper isn’t actually recyclable? Here’s how to test it: get a piece of the wrapping paper that you have and crumple it up into a ball, and then let go. If it remains crumpled, it can most likely be recycled – but if it opens up, it can’t; and neither can anything with foil or glitter. Opt for a more eco-friendly option such as reusing newspapers, old maps or printouts, bags, boxes, or even fabric! If you don’t have any of these available and need to make a purchase, opt for brown or recyclable paper or reusable gift bags. Decorate your wrapping with cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices, pine cones, tree cuttings, natural string and fabric ribbons and we guarantee beautiful (and scented) results!

Rethink Your Greeting Cards

While Christmas cards are usually made from paper, similarly to wrapping paper, many of them can’t be recycled due to them containing other components such as glitter, foil, plastic, and ribbons. E-cards are a great way to eliminate waste altogether, but if that’s not your thing, you could always opt for cards made from post-consumer recycled paper, plantable cards, or create your own using old cards or recycled paper! 

Reconsider Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackers are a fun tradition – but ask yourself: do you really need a paper crown, a riddle or joke, and a small plastic toy? And will you just be tossing them into the bin at the end of the day? Many elements from Christmas crackers are non-recyclable or just downright wasteful (and useless), but if you don’t want to eliminate them altogether, why not opt for more eco-friendly versions such as reusable or recyclable ones? You could even get creative and make your own DIY crackers – bonus points if you make reusable ones! 

As you can see, there are many ways – simple yet effective ways – in which you can have a more sustainable Christmas in Malta this year. 

Do you do any of these already? And do you have any other ideas? Be sure to let us know!

Happy Prepping!