Singapore – More and more individuals, families and communities are embracing a zero-waste lifestyle. It’s not about the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) anymore. This has expanded to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot; what a feasible zero-waste lifestyle is all about.
Now that it’s Christmas time, there is an increase in spending. Whether it’s through decorations, meals or gifts, there would be some non-biodegradable waste that is bound to get mixed up in the trash pile. Luckily, there are ways to avoid a guilty conscience and reduce our carbon footprint. The following are simple tips and tricks to having a zero waste Christmas this year that will leave everyone on the planet merry.
Does it really need to be a real fir tree? Today, there are many Christmas tree options that are reusable and not disposable. Just decorate them well and they turn out as beautiful as the real ones minus the waste. After all, the spirit of Christmas is not dependent on the tree.
Think out of the box
Instead of a gift in a box, how about the gift of memories. Singapore’s biggest carnival, Prudential Marina Bay Carnival which will open from Dec 22 until Mar 24, 2019, is a great way to spend time with loved ones this Christmas. Other events such as Hansel & Gretel’s Winter Adventure for those who love the cold, Singapore Dog Festival: A Canine Christmas for dog-lovers, and A $ingapore Carol for those who are into musicals are options to choose from. Surely there are activities to suit everyone’s interests during this season.
Shameless plug gifts
For those who want to share their zero-waste lifestyle with others, it can be done through gifts. Whether it’s through reusable cups, bamboo straws, eco-friendly skincare and beauty products, or sustainable jewellery, these gifts can serve as a smooth way to introduce and convince others about the 5Rs.
This option is for the artsy and the bakers. Even if you aren’t one, the ideas are endless and the steps are so simple to follow that anyone can do it.
If your friends have a sweet tooth, how about buying some nuts and chocolates (those that don’t have individual plastic packaging), putting them in mason jars and decorating it with a festive theme. Upakt is a great place to start when looking for gift ideas.
Succulents are also a popular gift nowadays. This is an example of a present that will last and something that is very easy to maintain. Candy Floriculture offers a wide variety of plants. Their succies are priced at S$3.50 a piece or 3 for S$10.
There are times when we want to host a party but don’t have enough partyware for everyone. Instead of purchasing plastic plates, cups and utensils, why not go for elegant, recycled and sustainable partyware. Eco U is an example of a shop that offers these kinds of products.
For a zero-waste Christmas feast at home without actually cooking, there is the option to order in through catering companies such as Grain Catering. Basically, they’re a very eco-conscious online restaurant that you can contact for a meal to be delivered at your home or someone else’s.
Another option would be doing your grocery shopping in places like Organic Grocer so that you can be sure the products you are purchasing and using for your feasts will make mother nature smile along with your guests. Do remember to bring your own shopping bag to avoid single-use plastic bags.
“It’s time to open the presents.” During Christmas parties, this phrase usually means a lot of wrapping paper that will be torn and thrown away. But that could be avoided. Introducing the Japanese tradition of cloth wrapping called Furoshiki. Instead of paper, fabrics will be used to wrap gifts. They are not only pleasing to the eye but also completely reusable. It is a gift in itself.
Hopefully, the tips presented above are simple and easy enough to be consciously adapted in the choices we make during this Christmas season.
For those who are intrigued by a zero-waste lifestyle and would love to find out more, there is a guide for Singaporeans called ZeroWasteSG.