Tag

plastic free

Arts & Crafts, Life & Style

10 Zero-Waste Christmas Decorations to DIY

Today I’m sharing with you ten plastic-free and zero-waste Christmas decorations for you to make.

As I mentioned in this month’s newsletter, I, like so many others, am keenly looking forward to celebrating the festive season. More so than ever. Whilst we may not be seeing our extended family this year, we’re definitely compensating by decking the halls like never before. 

If you’re also looking to decorate your home a little more, then perhaps some of these zero-waste Christmas decorations, made from natural and compostable materials, will be up your street.

Before I begin, please, don’t bin your existing decorations just because they’re made of plastic. Remember, as with most items, the most eco-friendly Christmas decorations are the ones you already own. Re-using what we already have is the absolute pinnacle of zero-waste. So, if you’ve got reams of tinsel and plastic baubles galore from Christmases gone by, then decorate using them with abandon! I’ve got plastic baubles on my tree from when I was a kid, and they bring me SO much joy. I’m hoping that one day they might bring my kids joy too.

The Zero-Waste Christmas Decorations to DIY

Disclaimer over, let’s move on to the decorations! Here are 10 of my favourite eco-friendly Christmas decorations to make:

Dried Orange Garland

10 zero-waste Christmas decorations made using natural and compostable materials.

Dried orange slices are pure Instagram catnip, and for good reason – they are stunningly effective. The good news is that if you want your house to look and smell amazing for Christmas, then these garlands are so easy to make. Follow House of Jade Interiors for the full tutorial.

A word of advice. Reserve the dried oranges for indoor decorations only. What I’ve found is that if you use them on outdoor decorations the oranges rehydrate and start to rot. However, if you keep them indoors, and then after Christmas store them in an airtight container, such as a jar or old Tupperware box, then you can use your dried oranges year after year.

Salt Dough Stars

Homemade Salt dough decorations

Salt dough ornaments aren’t just for kids, although you can certainly get your kids involved in making them.

This simple yet stylish Christmas scented salt dough garland can be made by following Rocky Hedge Farm’s easy tutorial. If you have any stars leftover, individual stars would also look amazing hanging on your tree or used in your gift wrapping.

As before, it’s best to use salt dough decorations for indoor decor only. And when you take your decorations down it’s best to store salt dough ornaments in an airtight container. Again, if exposed to moisture they can go damp and rot in storage.

Crochet Stars

Crochet stars pattern for a zero-waste Christmas

If you are a keen crocheter, then this one’s for you. If you have any odds and ends of wool leftover from other projects, then try making these beautiful crochet stars. The free pattern is available from Persia Lou.

Origami Star Garland

Fun eco-friendly Christmas crafts to try

If you have a collection of paper – perhaps saved from deliveries and old wrapping paper – then this plastic-free origami stars tutorial from Girl About Townhouse is one to follow. You’ll be seeing stars in no time!

Foliage Candle Holders

10 Christmas decorations made using natural and compostable materials.

I love the complete and utter simplicity of these candle holders from Traumzuhause. If you’ve got some empty wine bottles and some greenery then voila, an instant zero-waste Christmas decoration. Snippings from your Christmas tree would work, as would some ivy, rosemary, or eucalyptus. Skill level zero. My kind of craft!

Paper Bag Stars

10 Christmas decorations made using natural and compostable materials.

Got a bunch of paper bags that you are never going to use? Make these beautiful zero-waste paper bag stars with this tutorial from The Merry Thought. I would add that if you secure the final bag with a paperclip or two, then you will be able to fold your star flat and reuse your stars year after year.

Orange Peel Garland

Zero-waste Christmas craft ideas

This sweet and simple orange peel garland from Circle of Pine Trees is a lovely plastic-free craft idea. Just remember the rules for dried fruit!

Popcorn & Cranberry Garland

Eco-friendly Christmas crafts

If you want an easy zero-waste Christmas decoration, then try this Cranberry and popcorn garland from Mountain Cravings. That is if you don’t eat all the popcorn first!

An important note. I wouldn’t use this garland outdoors, as you’ll attract a host of wildlife. This is no bad thing in itself, but it’s important to bear in mind that popcorn fills birds up with little nutritional benefit, at a time of year when they should be eating fat and protein-rich foods to be able to survive the winter.

Pinecone Garland

Sustainable Christmas decorations to make, using natural and compostable materials

This pine cone garland from Decor Adventures is another great decoration that can be used year after year. I personally would omit the glitter, as regular glitter is a microplastic. What’s more, it turns out even the stuff labelled as eco-friendly glitter is not great for the environment. However, even without the sparkles, this plastic-free garland will still look great on your mantlepiece this festive season.

Rosemary Wreath Garland

Eco-friendly Christmas decorations to DIY

Finally, this mini wreath garland from The Merry Thought is another easy zero-waste make for the festive season. Make it using rosemary, and it will fill your home with a lovely scent.

Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I’m off to get busy with some plastic-free crafting!

If you have any other zero-waste Christmas decorations ideas, then please do share with the Moral Fibres community in the comments below. I’d love to hear!

Food & Drink, Kitchen Staples

Over 30 Plastic-Free Snack Ideas

Are you looking to reduce the plastic from your snack habit? I have put together over 30 plastic-free snack ideas to keep your taste buds and your bin happy! 

This article originally appeared on Kempii – a great site with advice and products to reduce waste – and we thought it would be great to share here too as part of Plastic-Free July.

My Favourite Plastic-Free Snack Ideas

Fruit

how to keep cut apple fresh

The original plastic-free snack. You would think that fruit should be a simple and cheap zero-waste snack. However, buying loose fruit is, depending on where you shop, a little tricky. What’s more, buying loose can often be pricier compared to prepackaged fruit. Sometimes the plastic packaging is there to prolong the lifespan of the fruit, preventing food waste. It’s certainly a minefield, and you can only do what you can.

If you have the choice then opt for the most seasonal and local fruit you can find – here’s a handy month-by-month guide if you’re stuck for ideas. Seasonal fruit is often the cheapest and the tastiest option. Whereas out of season fruit has normally been grown energy intensively in heated hothouses and is low on flavour.

If there are slim pickings at your local shop, then bananas, despite travelling a long distance to reach us, have a surprisingly low carbon footprint. They are grown in natural sunlight, which means that no energy-intensive hot-housing is required. And unlike softer fruits, like grapes, berries, and kiwi fruit, they keep well, so although they are often grown thousands of miles from where they are sold, they are transported by boats, which is less energy-intensive than air freighting produce.

Make it special: slather your fruit in a nut butter or chocolate spread. This could be homemade or shop-bought (in a glass jar) – whatever works for you.

Vegetables

Over 30 plastic-free snack ideas

Again, another of the original plastic-free snack ideas! Depending on the season, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, and pea pods make for great low effort raw snacks. Again check out the month-by-month guide to what’s in season before you head to the shops.

To help ensure your vegetables don’t go to waste, prepare ahead by peeling and chopping your vegetables into batons. Then store your vegetables in a reusable tub for healthy snacking on the go, or to keep to hand in the fridge for when hunger strikes. It’s often easier to reach for a healthy snack if you’ve done all the hard work in advance!

Make it special: dip your vegetables in a homemade hummus or dip to liven things up a bit.

Zero-Waste Smoothies

plastic-free smoothie ideas

Smoothies are a great way to use up fruit and vegetables that are going off, and can even be frozen in jars or your old tupperware containers. Just take your smoothie out of the freezer the night before, defrost in the fridge, and it’ll be ready for morning.

You can create a smoothie out of almost whatever you have to hand – for inspiration check out the BBC’s Good Food recipe guide.

Bulk Plastic-Free Snacks

popcorn - one of many plastic-free snack ideas

If you have a bulk shop near you then here are some suggestions of plastic-free snack ideas that you can pick up next time you are shopping:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate covered treats such as raisins and nuts
  • Rice crackers
  • Granola
  • Popcorn

If you don’t have a bulk shop in your vicinity then bulk shop what you can at your local supermarket. Lidl is good for loose nuts, and some Holland and Barrett shops do have a small bulk section.

Apart from those options, plastic-free snacks are definitely trickier. Things you can do instead are to shop smarter. Instead of buying individual boxes of raisins, for example, buy a big bag of raisins that you can divide up into small reusable tubs. One big bag of popcorn kernels lasts longer than a bag of pre-popped popcorn. A big sharing bag of crisps, that again can be divided up into smaller reusable tubs uses less plastic than buying individual bags of crisps.

Plastic-Free Sweets

zero-waste snack ideas

Sweet shops may sadly be few and far between these days, but some high streets do have an elusive sweet shop. Here you can fill up a paper bag full of your favourite sweet treats – some may even let you use your own container. The hardest part is deciding which sweets to pick!

Got a kids party coming up? Neary’s Sweets sell bulk plastic-free boxes of sweets and they ship without plastic too. This is a great option for party snacks and for filling party bags with. 

If chocolate is more your thing then many chocolate bars are plastic-free. The good news is you don’t have to go far – some can easily be bought from your local supermarket or corner shop if you’re in desperate need of a quick sugar rush!

There is also a growing variety of chocolatiers, selling online and in specialist shops, that cater to vegan, organic, palm-oil free, and gluten-free diets, depending on your preferences. 

Seed and Bean is a particular favourite. Accredited as the most ethical chocolate producer in Britain by the Good Shopper Guide, not only is their chocolate fairtrade and organic, but the paper outer wrapper is recyclable and the inner wrapper can be composted at home.

Zero-Waste Snack Ideas to Bake or Make

zero waste crisps recipe

Finally, let’s not forget the snacks that can be baked or made at home. Some favourite snacks to make include:

  • Granola
  • Hummus
  • Popcorn
  • Crisps – this is a great recipe for zero-waste crisps (pictured above)
  • Roasted Seeds
  • Muffins
  • Biscuits
  • Scones
  • Kale Crisps
  • Tortilla Crisps
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Bread
  • Flapjacks

I’ve suggested some simple snack ideas here that you can bake or make with relatively little effort, but really, the sky’s the limit here. The internet is your friend – search for recipes or even try searching for a recipe based on what leftovers you have on the excellent Love Food Hate Waste recipe finder to help you reduce your food waste. 

Despite our best efforts, sometimes food does go bad. With most food that has gone bad, sadly it has to go straight into your composter, however if you’ve got some black bananas then don’t throw them out. Black bananas are super sweet and completely edible. This vegan banana bread recipe works best with the blackest bananas you can stomach – as the blacker the banana the sweeter it is. So if you forgot about those bananas languishing at the bottom of the fruit bowl don’t fret, consider yourself in luck! 

I’ve suggested over 30 plastic-free snack ideas here, but there are loads more out there too. Do share your favourite snacks in the comments below.