Zero Waste Christmas Food Shopping and Gifting Ideas
We get asked a lot where we shop and how can we cut out plastic from our daily lives, especially at Christmas. So, we thought it would be useful to put together a quick zero waste Christmas shopping guide. We have tried to cover most areas so hopefully you will find a few good plastic free Christmas tips and useful links.
Plastic Free Food Shopping
Most obvious first stop is your local greengrocer, but if like us you don’t have one in your town (crying shame) then check out websites like Oddbox, they are a veg box delivery scheme that also help fight the food waste problem by selling all the surplus wonky veg that would get rejected by supermarket. There wonky veg boxes start from £8.99 and you get 10% off your first order if you sign up to their newsletter. I also think this would be a nice Christmas present, the gift that keeps on giving if you gifted a month of veg box deliveries, perfect for any friends or family looking to cut down on the plastic in their lives.
We are really lucky to have Stroud Community Supported Agriculture on our doorstep, so get our veg box from them every week. There are loads of CSA projects up and down the UK, check out the CSA website to find your closest farm. This is real plastic free, local shopping. Ours have loads of events on and if you fancy getting your hands dirty they love members to come along and help out. A really lovely way of getting to know your community better.
I was always a bit worried about going into our local butcher and asking if I could have our meat put in the container I bought with me, I thought they would scoff and make me feel like a bit of an idiot, how wrong was I! At the beginning of this year I popped in with my tub and then proceeded to have a 30 minute chat about how much they were doing to try and cut down on their plastic use and waste in general. They even stocked paper bags with a wax coating for anyone who didn’t want the plastic bags but had forgotten their own container. So, I would urge you to visit your local butcher and even your supermarket meat counter, as it is so accepted now, you have no fear of feeling like a weirdo. Our butcher explained that pretty much all of their meat comes in on crates so they can then butcher it, they only then put it in plastic bags when they give it to the customer to take home, so you are doing them a favour really if you bring your own tub.
Need rice for leftover turkey curry? Coffee or tea for all the guests you will be putting the kettle on for? Or flour to bake some last-minute mince pies? Hopefully you have already checked out our Zero Waste Shopping Map, we have plotted as many of the plastic free, loose and zero waste shops in the UK. More and more are opening every week so please let us know if you know of a store that is not on our map. If you have a loose shop near you, check out our pouch tutorial video for using one of our reusable food wraps to store grains, pasta, rice etc. that you buy from the stores. They are a lot easier and way more lightweight than carrying glass jars or Tupperware containers to collect your food stuffs in. If you don’t have a store near you, check out The Plastic Free Pantry, it’s really easy, just order online and it all gets delivered in paper bags that you can use in your compost bin, or send back to them so they can use for your next delivery
Plastic Free Christmas Presents
Household Bits and Bobs
If you are yet to buy most of your Christmas presents and can’t face buying a bunch of things that you know they won’t use/like, then why not just go down the useful route and put together a plastic free hamper, fill it with refill household cleaning products, refill shampoo and conditioner, a bar of soap, bamboo toothbrushes, maybe a stainless steel drinks bottle? It may well be the most practical/slightly boring gift they receive, but rest assured they will definitely use it and it will hopefully set them on making some positive plastic free changes in their lives. To find your nearest Zero Waste shop check out our Zero Waste Shopping Map, they are all small independents so having you rock up and get all your Christmas presents from them will be a huge boost to them and your local high street.
Below are some links to some other great Christmas ideas from small businesses trying to do good for the world.
Buy a Bee Brick a really unique and British made product that is working tirelessly to support or bee population.
Jenga For Oceans: Yes, it is Jenga but made using 100% recycled fishing nets. All packaging is recyclable and renewable.
The Book: “How To Give Up Plastic” by, Will McCallum. A great book full of tips to help you on your plastic free journey.
You could even buy them one of our gift tokens so they can buy one ( or a couple) of our Beeswax Wraps the fabulous alternative to clingfilm, handmade in the UK ;) They are great reusable sandwich wraps and with a little bit of love will definitely be used all the way to Christmas next year!
We also have a blog post showing you how to make toothpaste, deodorant and lip balm, so if you want to gift some lovely homemade items then take a look. They are all super easy to make and are such a thoughtful gift.
Online Plastic Free Shopping Tip:
If you are ordering on line from a small business you could send a message to them asking not to ship and wrap your item in any plastic. If you didn’t send a message a head of time and your item came wrapped in plastic you could send a friendly email to that company asking if they could look into sending their items without the use of plastic. We had this happen at our workshop. We were getting some of our envelopes with plastic attached to them. We contacted the company and asked if they were able to send us out envelopes with no plastic. They looked into it and now don’t use plastic for any of their packaging! It may seem small and insignificant but sometimes it only takes the one email or phone call to talk to someone for change!
Before we learnt how to make beeswax wraps we made up-cycled Christmas boxes and bags out of old sheet music and picture books that Carly picked up from the charity shop she used to volunteer at. We named our business Wrappers Delight! It never took off but we did become masters of making origami boxes. You can learn how to make these boxes on our tutorials page, just make one box slightly bigger that the other and you will have a base and a lid that fit perfectly together. It sounds complicated but actually, once you have done 2 or 3 it becomes pretty satisfying. We would tie our boxes with a bit of string, they looked so beautiful and everyone kept them to keep little keepsakes in.
Well we hope that has been useful and we hope you have a lovely Plastic Free Christmas!
Carly & Fran x