christmas stocking

12 days of plastic free Christmas: day 9

The festive period brings with it a huge rise in the amount of single-use plastics. Everything from decorations, to wrapping and even some of the food on your Christmas table.

Here at the University of Hull we are asking everyone to take a pledge about reducing their plastic waste at Christmas by providing simple, easy and affordable ways to help minimise plastic waste in the home. Our 12 Days of Plastic-Free Christmas will run from December 1-12 and include, fun and easy to do swaps this Christmas.

Christmas stockings

To some people their favourite childhood memories of Christmas don’t involve massive heaps of presents, or enormous Christmas dinners.  They are all about the delight of opening a Christmas stocking, in the early hours, sitting on the end of their bed and comparing mysterious tiny packages with siblings and cousins. Traditionally these gifts will be small toys, sweets, chocolate, and of course, an orange.  Some people, though, might be left with just a lump of coal.

However, those traditional Christmas stockings are in decline due to the rise of synthetic (plastic) fabric stockings and plastic-tastic fillers, meaning that this is one part of Christmas where single-use plastic is particularly hard to avoid.

Here are four ways to keep this favourite part of Christmas plastic-free:

  1. Re-use it:  it’s a family tradition that goes back several generations that our Christmas stockings are actually big walking socks that are a bit worn out.  You can tie a little bundle of long stripy socks, that get re-used every year, with a parcel label tied around the top of each one with the recipient’s name on.
  2. Reduce it: not everything gets wrapped up and if it is use little bits of wrapping paper left over from doing other presents or what has been salvaged from gifts you’ve already unwrapped.  You can keep a bag of ‘rescued’ wrapping paper and ribbon from previous occasions, which cuts down the amount of new material you need.
  3. Re-imagine it: you can fit a paperback book in most large socks if you try hard enough.
  4. Research it: a few high-street retailers have pioneered plastic-free cosmetics and packaging; try school fairs, craft fairs and Christmas events for little hand-made gifts, and you’ll probably find a whole lot less plastic tat than you would online or on the supermarket shelves.

Author: Kate Smith

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