The festive season is here! Family dinners are a big part of this joyous time, but we all know the chaos that follows as we prep for family visits. Shop Zero has asked me to share some simple tips to help you be a little more sustainable this Christmas.
Buy in Bulk & Package Free
Prepare ahead of time and avoid the rushed shopping that usually takes place the day before Christmas. Not only will you save money, you won’t be inundated by plastic packaging. There are many small, local, ethical businesses that provide high quality produce with no to minimal packaging. Many deliver as well, which is always a bonus when you’re busy entertaining family.
Compost Food Scraps
If you haven’t already started, now is a great time to invest in a Bokashi Bin and compost your kitchen scraps. This small act makes a huge difference reducing greenhouse gas emissions and your overall waste in landfills! A step to living more sustainably made easy. The planet (and garden) thanks you!
Sustainable Home Storage
Glass jars do the job, but these days there are many options available to us: Stasher Bags are multi-purpose silicone bags that have become an essential in my home! I use them to freeze, boil, microwave and store food. But they aren’t limited to my kitchen! I use them as travel toiletry bags, a lunch box, take-away pouches and as a home for my phone and keys when I decide it’s a wonderful day to be at the beach. Whether it’s for yourself or as a gift, Stasher has made sustainable storage effortless. It’s especially useful around small children. So, whether you use them as storage, to prep frozen meals or to extend the life of your leftovers Stashers are the way to go!
Soy Wax Wraps are also great to replace many of the roles plastic cling wrap and foil played in our kitchens. They also make a cute sandwich bag! And at the end of its life, you can compost it.
We still exist in a linear economy and many of us still accumulate annoying pieces of plastic like price tags, stickers or store receipts printed on shiny thermal paper. These items can’t be recycled and to avoid sending them to landfill you can ecobrick these items into a plastic bottle. The bottles must be tightly filled so a full-grown human can stand on it without it showing the slightest dent. Shop Zero is happy to collect your ecobricks and donates them to projects who use them as building materials. Although the ideal is not to create waste at all, at the moment this is the most sustainable solution to an existing problem.
Get Wrapped up in Sustainability
Wrapping gifts for loved ones can be creative and sustainable. I keep a lot of the paper wrapping that came with online orders throughout the year. The paper is often brown and cream in colour, and is also very often recyclable and compostable. It’s also a canvas for unleashing creativity… Whether you create your own stamps to create patterns or free hand with Soy Pastel Crayons, it’s guaranteed that your present will be unique. Shop Zero also provides Seeded Paper Gift Bags that add an extra pinch of joy to the person receiving it as well as beautiful Reusable Fabric Gift Wraps made from off-cuts and upcycled into a sustainable wrapping alternative to traditional paper gift wrap.
Go Greener with Greens
Experiment this festive season with greener dishes and less meat. There are more and more delicious and fun vegan replacements and recipes filling the South African market. Shop Zero has a great selection of Fauxmage nut cheeses and even Vegan Droëwors you can add to cheese plates or incorporate as snacks. Going greener with your diet is good for you and the planet. It’s probably one of the most sustainable things to do this festive season!
In my family gifts are optional, but if that’s a big part of your family traditions then it’s important to make them sustainable. •Purchase experiences instead of things. •Buy second hand gifts. Save money and resources it took to create them. •Make a donation on behalf of someone. There are great projects and organisations that work towards creating a more sustainable tomorrow. • Buy them what they need, something they would appreciate. It could be their Netflix subscription for a month or two, or paying a bill. •If you have to purchase something new, make sure it’s from a sustainable, ethical and local business.
If you’re looking to give gifts to help family and friends on their own zero waste journey, Shop Zero has gifts for every person at any price point and I can recommend these:
R100 and under
Stainless Steel/ Copper /Glass Straw & Straw Cleaning Brush
FreshBags veggie or bread bags
Masterstock Cape Wild Food 50ml bottle
Nourish luxurious body/ face soaps or shampoo bars
R300 and under
Ecoffee/ William Morris reusable bamboo cup
Reusable drinking bottles
Composter: bokashi bin & bran
Kuro-Bo water filters
Tiffin food and picnic storage tin
Book: Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
About the author: Marissa is a zero (or rather low) waster, environmentalist, public speaker and eco consultant. Contact her here to book a consultation or workshop. Give her a follow on Instagram over @lowimpact_rissipit for zero waste inspiration and adorable dog photos.