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A less wasteful Christmas will bring added joy this year.

As Scotland prepares for an unusual festive period filled with firsts, Zero Waste Scotland is encouraging Scots to start their own new tradition this Christmas.

23 Nov 20

The organisation is a launching a campaign to help Scots with practical ideas and tips on small changes to cut our carbon footprint linked to waste, calling on everyone to retain the joy in what for many will be a different festive period.

Many Scots have embraced lifestyle changes that benefit the environment during lockdown¹ – from making the most of food to repairing clothing, and recycling as much as they can.

Now Zero Waste Scotland is challenging the nation to apply that ethos to Christmas and come up with a ‘Christmas first’ that’s good for the planet and spreads a little joy.

Jenny Fraser, consumer campaigns manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“It has been wonderful to see how people across Scotland have continued to do their bit for the planet during lockdown – whether that’s by making or buying reusable face coverings, baking yummy treats from leftover ingredients, upcycling furniture or making the most of every available space in their recycling bins.

“It has been a challenging year for many and lots of people will be experiencing Christmas ‘firsts’ because of circumstances beyond their control this season. We’re encouraging people to take the opportunity to set their own – and we’re excited to hear all about them via the hashtag #ChristmasTrimmings.”

As Scotland’s circular economy expert, Zero Waste Scotland helps consumers and businesses reduce waste and emissions to combat climate change.

The organisation has come up with the following ‘Christmas firsts’ as examples of actions that keep the joy of Christmas without a hefty carbon footprint:

Ask for a second-hand gift

Research from Zero Waste Scotland shows most Scots would be happy to receive a pre-loved gift – but many would be unlikely to buy one for someone else². Why not turn that around this year by asking gift-givers (and Santa) to shop second-hand – either in person where Scottish Government coronavirus guidance allows or on online auction sites likes Gumtree and eBay?; 

Give a gift that keeps on giving

Subscriptions, donations and sponsorship are a great way to share the love without the ‘stuff’ – and support a good cause. Why not invest in a streaming platform like Netflix for the movie buff in your life, subscribe to a comic or magazine, sponsor an animal, or donate to a charity close to a loved one’s heart?;

Make your own wrapping paper

With Scots using upwards of 19,000 miles of wrapping paper in previous years, a DIY effort could be a fun way to cut your carbon footprint down to size. Why not use kids’ drawings to wrap gifts, or if you have received a delivery recently jazz up the brown paper it was stuffed with? Just remember to avoid glitter and foil as paper mixed with these can’t be recycled; 

Have a ‘Christmas dinner conference’

We all know how hard it can be to please everyone, so with smaller gatherings this year it’s the perfect time to get everyone involved in planning the Christmas shopping list. Whether you’re hosting an extended household (following Scottish Government coronavirus guidance) or just the immediate family, why not start a conversation about what you’ll eat come Christmas? Planning ahead will help you buy only what you need and stop good food going to waste.

Zero Waste Scotland is encouraging Scots to share their own ‘Christmas firsts’ on social media using the hashtag #ChristmasTrimmings.
The campaign aims to help everyone in Scotland have a happy Christmas without the waste, whatever way they’re celebrating this year.


Notes For Editors

¹ Research from UK sustainability body WRAP earlier this year suggested Brits were wasting less food during lockdown, despite buying more of it. A survey showed a 34% drop in waste of commonly wasted foods like potatoes, bread, chicken, and milk, while respondents also reported behaviours like checking their cupboards and fridge more before they shop and taking more time to check where food should be stored (Source: Citizens and food during lockdown, WRAP, May 2020).

² Research commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland in 2016 indicated four out of five Scots would be happy to receive a pre-loved gift, but just under two thirds (65%) of those asked said they would be unlikely to buy one for someone else. 

Total sample size was 1002 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov Plc between 29th November and 2nd December 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures were weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+). More information on the Zero Waste Scotland website.

Why is shopping second hand better for the environment?

Shopping second-hand is a win-win. It not only keeps goods in circulation (and out of landfill) for longer, it also bypasses a host of emissions generated in the production of new items – like mining the materials to make them, manufacturing them, packaging them, and transporting them to the shop or to our door.

What’s more, by shopping second-hand consumers can support their local economy and good causes.

Zero Waste Scotland operates Revolve – Scotland’s national quality standard for second-hand. There are currently more than 120 Revolve certified stores in Scotland. The Revolve quality kitemark lets shoppers know they are buying from a credible retailer, and all items are quality and safety checked.

To find your nearest Revolve certified store visit www.revolvereuse.com  

Why is food waste so bad for the environment?

Wasting food is one of the worst things we can do in terms of climate change. Food waste contributes more to Scotland’s waste carbon impacts than any other waste type, accounting for a quarter (25%) of Scotland’s total waste carbon footprint. What’s more, 61% of Scotland’s food waste comes from households.

When it ends up in landfill (instead of being disposed of responsibly in the food waste caddy) it emits methane – a planet-harming greenhouse gas. It’s therefore really important that we recycle the waste we can’t avoid. 

What’s even better however is to eliminate edible food waste in the first place so that only unavoidable food waste – like fruit peel, tea bags, eggshells and bones from meat and fish – ends up in the food waste caddy. Planning ahead is the best way to do that.

Many of us may be cooking Christmas dinner for the first time this year, while others may be cooking for a smaller group than usual. With a little bit of planning it’s easy to cook and serve a perfect meal. Love Food Hate Waste Scotland has done all the work for you, with traditional and modern menu choices, shopping lists, recipes and a planner that makes the cook’s job that little bit more relaxed.

Whether you’re cooking an intimate dinner for two, a family feast for four, or something spectacular for six people, Love Food Haste Waste Scotland on Facebook or Instagram has a food waste free Christmas all wrapped up. 

About Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change.  

Using evidence and insight, our goal is to inform policy, and motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy.  

We are a not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund.

More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/. You can also keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland via our social media channels - Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit our website or follow @scotgovESIF.

For media enquiries contact:   

Harriet Brace, PR Project Manager  

t: 01786 237 342   

m: 07816 226323   

e: harriet.brace@zerowastescotland.org.uk   

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