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3 weeks to Christmas – ZERO plastics Christmas

There are 3 weeks before Christmas-Zero Plastic Christmas

The long-awaited time has arrived! Lights, decorations, positive energy, family and friends gatherings, Christmas carols, and gifts.

But for everyone who yearns for an immaterial Christmas and is determined to avoid plastic at all costs, this is not an easy task! Even for plastics experts, it is not easy to avoid it in every project and every situation. Even food, water, and salt were found to be contaminated with microplastics.

Regardless of whether plastic is added intentionally or unintentionally, for our health and the planet, it is worthwhile to work hard to reduce its presence in our lives, because less plastic means less fossil fuels are extracted and less carbon dioxide emission. This also means avoiding the use of bioplastics, because simply replacing a wasted material with another is not a reliable solution to plastic pollution.

But let's dive into the big and small details of our lives and Christmas preparations, which can really make a difference.

Before we start discussing the details, we should discuss a difficult problem: when we try to get rid of plastic products this Christmas, how to deal with the legacy plastics that we already have in our lives? Christmas decorations are a good example. Considering that in many cases we are faced with the existence of durable products-even if they are mainly made of plastic-the best choice for the environment will be to reuse them as much as possible and for as long as possible. If possible, repair them and try to extend their life. This can be easily applied to Christmas trees and their decorations, lighting elements and other types of decorations used for Christmas.

For those who happen to start writing their own stories at Christmas, the best option is definitely to reuse things to create an innovative and unique Christmas tree and matching decorations. For those who feel that they lack inspiration, a simple online search can solve the problem.

Prepare a do-it-yourself moment with your kids, family or friends, which will definitely be remembered for a long time (and it is very likely that you will "spread" to a wider audience in a plastic-free manner). Making this suggestion in the office is also a very good idea and a time for team building. Everyone can bring some natural elements-wood, leaves, branches, fruits, etc.-and create their own decorative elements for the "company" tree.

Avoid the traditional "Christmas snow", which is basically plastic and is not welcome to visit your home. Use cotton instead (preferably organically produced), and don’t forget to save it for Christmas.

Gifts may be a bigger problem...or not. If children are involved, looking for gifts made of natural fibers (wood, paper, textiles) may be a good starting point. It is better to start providing experiences instead of things, or to reduce the number of gifts by allowing everyone to contribute to more meaningful gifts. This may be a challenge, but it is worth the extra effort!

For adults, you can bake some biscuits or candies at any time and then put them in a reusable glass jar, or provide a picture of the kids in a homemade photo frame or postcard. It is a fun time for children preparing it, grandparents, uncles and aunts will be very happy.

Regarding food, try to buy locally produced and seasonal food from a store or market. You can use your own bag or recipient and buy in bulk, and pay attention to the quantity to avoid food waste and minimize all upstream impacts of food production ( Some have an impact on the use of plastics). For a more sustainable overall Christmas approach, try to reduce the amount of meat, especially beef-if you buy it, please don't pack it.

No mention of New Year, no Christmas post is complete. May 2019 is a year of ever-changing waste practices, and I hope you start with a new zero-waste solution. It doesn't matter whether it is big or small. Once you feel the taste of a zero-waste will want nothing.

Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2019!

Hungry for more zero-waste Christmas tips? Check out "Zero Waste Austria" ideas on zero waste gifts!

Christmas is coming soon! Stay tuned for the weekly advent calendar, which contains useful tips to make it #ZeroWaste Christmas. ? Austria’s zero waste tells us about gifts: you don’t need to buy them, to make them more interesting and sustainable. ? @greenpeace #makesmthng

-Zero Waste Europe (@zerowasteeurope) December 1, 2018

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