Christmas is a time for giving, and if you’re typically Maltese, you probably have way too many friends and 27 cousins to buy gifts for.
It’s all fun and games, except for the overdraft you always promise yourself to reduce to less than embarrassing proportions.
But with all the gift buying and activities comes a lot of waste. Gift boxes, wrapping paper, cards, decorations. These generate a significant amount of garbage, and with the world soon looking like the gods just threw up a massive plastic hangover, it’s important to try minimise our waste as best we can.
So it’s very refreshing to see the authorities taking the initiative with an educational campaign addressing waste generated by Christmas activities. The Environment Ministry has just launched a campaign with 12 tips to make this Christmas a tad bit greener.
Over the next three days, we will be rolling out four tips every day that will help you do your part to minimise unnecessary waste.
Tip #1 – Aim for a paperless Christmas
Christmas cards are so very 20th century. Get with the times and opt for an e-card this year. It avoids the stress of having to find a nice one, and it lessens the stress on the environment.
Or better yet, ditch the card altogether and meet that friend for a drink instead. Cards don’t buy rounds, but friends do.
Tip #2 – Ditch the wrapping paper
Gifts don’t have to be wrapped in fancy paper. It’s a myth those pesky wrapping paper corporations made us believe in the past decades.
If you can’t get yourself to not wrap, use simple brown paper, which is the most sustainable and incidentally looks strangely exquisite in its minimalism. An even better option is to contain your excitement when opening gifts and reusing that wrapping for the gifts you will give.
Definitely don’t opt for the shiny, plastic-y stuff we’re accustomed to.
Tip #3 – Carpool
The trifecta of tips. Carpooling gives you three super benefits this season.
First, you have a designated driver, which means you won’t need to hold back from that extra tipple. Drinking excessively is bad for you, but drinking and driving just makes you a danger to society.
Second, it’s much easier to find parking if you are carpooling. And if everyone else is carpooling, it becomes all the more easier. With any luck, you won’t need to park in Naxxar to get to your drinks in Sliema.
Third, the less cars on the road, the less GHG emissions and pollution in general. Just cos you don’t see this pollution, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Tip #4 – Don’t use disposable products during parties
OK so you like to host, which is great because everyone needs friends who like to host. Parties generate a lot of waste. Disposable plates and cups might seem like the easy way out, but the footprint they leave is incredible. Especially if you, like us, have many friends who misplace their disposable cup and go for a new one every damn time they want another drink.
Make the effort to use reusable cups and plates and get your guest to pitch in with the washing up.
You’ve hosted them after all, so it’s the least they can do.