Tuesday, 6 January 2009

That was Christmas...

As the waste blog world is summarising its collective Christmases, I thought I would join in!

We had a pretty low-key Christmas, thinking we would try it at home on our own this year - it was nice, although the family visiting season is now much extended into January. I'm not counting those as Christmas (is that cheating? :)

Our tree is plastic (gasp) but was bought back in hubby's bachelor days and therefore nothing to do with me :) It's decent quality, and will see us through several more years, so I think for now we'll leave the pine needles on the trees in the woods, and not on our carpet. We splashed out on decorations and bought 2 (count 'em) new baubles, loose, which were wrapped in tissue paper. What we didn't do was put our unwanted old decorations on Freecycle - next year!

Pressies given were mainly home baked goodies (gingerbread and shortbread) in cardboard gift boxes. There was barely any non-recyclable waste apart from some butter wrappers and a sugar bag. I chose to use greaseproof paper when packing them, to avoid greasy marks on the gift boxes and make them reusable, but that itself can't be recycled. Choices! We also gave some charity gifts from Good Gifts, gift vouchers, and books.

We'd asked for no pressies, still got a few but they were remarkably good on the whole and included a pretty tin with home made fudge (yum!) and a large Toblerone with cardboard and foil packaging (well thought out, Alex!). Other things like silicone bakeware, a running top and some books all had minimal or no packaging, mostly cardboard. However, special mention has to go to the best and worst packaged items:
  • Best: six bottles of good beer from my brother, in a re-used cardboard box, packed with recycled brown paper packing. A consumable present in fully recyclable packaging and wrapping! Bonus points for delivering it in a reusable hessian bag.
  • Worst: sad to say it was a Hotel Chocolat Dark Chocolate Immersion box from hubby. Six tablets each of six types of plain chocolate... all individually wrapped in plastic, held in a plastic tray, in a cardboard box that was wrapped in film. (Note that the packaging is not fully shown on the website...)
I do appreciate that the flavour is the key with the chocolate (the box came with tasting notes) and so you wouldn't want the types affecting each other - there were ginger, orange and chilli flavours as well as three types of "just chocolate". And the chocolate is absolutely heavenly (yes, there is some left! On twelfth night!). But it is a little bit of a shame to see so much packaging and I have to confess to a brief twinge of disappointment on seeing it (the packaging, not the chocolate). Now that sounds rather mean, and I have to stress that it's no reflection whatsoever on the giver - the scale of packaging simply wasn't apparent until opening. And I suppose if anything I am even more determined to savour and enjoy the contents so that the packaging was not in vain ;)

Food was also a reasonable success. All the fruit and veg came from the greengrocer in paper bags or no bags at all. We visited another local butcher for all our meat, and so there was a small amount of thin plastic waste but no trays or other packaging. We bought a turkey crown and boned ham, so there was minimal food waste there - in fact minimal food waste overall. I didn't get around to making mince pies or bread, so we bought those and a few other sweet and treat bits, and therefore had a few bits of plastic to deal with.

I haven't weighed it all but in a qualitative sense I feel like it's not a bad showing. A bit more planning next year and I'll get those mince pies and snacks sorted too :)

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