🎄 Tis the season to be less wasteful! 🎄
We Can Be So Wasteful During The Holidays
The holiday season is a time to come together with friends & family, though this year it may look a little different. Were you aware that in America during the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year a household will throw away 25% more trash?! That is equivalent to 25 million tons of garbage! Even worse, in the UK an extra 30% of rubbish is produced and discarded throughout the festive period when compared with the rest of the year.
Last year we put out a simple blog to help you avoid plastic during the holiday season. This year we are taking it a step further.
We at Ocean Helper are ready to help you reduce waste this holiday season, if we all take steps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill then we will be closer to a cleaner ocean and healthier environment. The quote below has never been so relevant:
Zero Waste Decorations
Decorations seem to make up a big part of the holiday season, many of us have that one day dedicated to decorating our houses, all ready to celebrate the holidays.
Did you know that you can recycle old broken lights? These can be recycled at household recycling centres with other electronics and should not be sent to landfill.
When clearing out old decorations that no longer fit or are suited to your colour scheme we suggest donating or repainting. Most charity shops will accept decorations in good/ used condition and it can be a fun project to repaint or update any disused decorations to give them new life.
One of my favourite homemade decorations is making Christmas trees, stars and snowflakes out of ice lolly sticks. During the hot summer my partner eats lots of ice lollies and we save up the the sticks for crafting at Christmas. I then glue them together in the shapes of xmas trees, stars and snowflakes before painting them and adding decorations such as sequins & pompoms left over from other art projects.
Another homemade decorations to try is dried citrus fruits, oranges are the most popular at this time of year. Simply slice oranges (or your citrus of choice) to about 1cm in thickness, spread out on a rack and bake in the oven at 120 C or 250 F for 2 - 3 hours, turning 2 or 3 times and ensure you keep an eye on them. Pull them out and allow them to cool before threading with ribbon and hanging!
Are you enjoying some blustery winter walks in the woods? Try collecting some twigs and sticks to craft your own 100% natural decorations at home. You can tie them together with rope to create really pretty and natural star shapes. You can also collect pinecones and fir leaves to make your own wreath to hang on your door.
Looking for some more zero waste decorations that you can make yourself? Here is a fantastic video on making your own at home out of all natural items:
Zero Waste Gift Wrapping
One of the big offenders each year is wrapping paper, with an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper being thrown away each year! There are a number of ways that you can avoid adding to the trash:
Wrap gifts with paper that you have on hand, for example newspaper, tissue paper or even music sheets. My grandmother once gave me a present wrapped in an atlas because she didn't have any wrapping paper to hand! So you can get really creative with it.
If you are feeling a little crafty then you could make your own stamps and wrap your gifts in brown paper and decorate with stamps or drawings.
Reusable fabrics are also an option. This is a practice that is common in Japan, you can get inventive and use old (clean) table cloths, silk or clothing.
Zero Waste Food Tips & Recipes
TIP A: Plan in advance and prepare for leftovers. Our top tip is to be prepared, know how many people you are cooking for and avoid buying too much & creating a lot of waste. If you are having guests ask them to bring some containers to take food home in.
1) Leftover Cheeseboard Toastie
This recipe idea comes from The Habitat Blog - Zero Waste Christmas Leftover Recipes By Social Pantry, by Stephanie Dobrijevic and is one that I cannot wait to try on boxing day!
What you will need:
How to make:
- Heat up frying pan or griddle.
- Butter all sides of the bread and cook on griddle/ frying pan until golden brown.
- Pile the chosen cheese onto the toasted bread and place under the grill for about 3 minutes, until the cheese is nicely melted.
- Remove from grill and add your chutney or cranberry sauce.
- Serve with all the other wonderful leftovers you have.
TIP B: When buying your food shop locally, head down to the markets to get your fresh fruit and veg, plastic wrap free!
2) Leftover Turkey Curry
This recipe comes from Delicious Magazine, if you don't have turkey leftover from your holiday meal, then you can make some easy substitute (we will include them below).
What you will need:
How to make:
- Heat the butter in a deep pan, then add the onion and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they are soft.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute before stirring in the curry paste & cooking for a further 2 minutes.
- Pour in the stock & leave to simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Next stir in the turkey & sprouts before adding the cream, nigella seeds and chutney.
- Cook, stirring, until heated through, but be careful not to boil it or the cream will split.
- Season and serve in bowls, if you have left over bread then serve with that.
TIP C: Bake your own good! Try your hand at baking this year and avoid the supermarkets prepackaged baked goods, you'll be amazed at home great homemade foods taste PLUS they make really thoughtful gifts.