What if Christmas were all about experiences? Time together? Any maybe a few, valued, long-lasting new items?
Sharon Keilthy, founder of Ireland’s eco toystore Jiminy.ie, shares her ideas for a green Christmas – share yours below in comments!
Advent calendars don’t have to involve several layers of plastic! You can make or buy fill-it-yourself Advent calendars (think experiences, or puzzle pieces, family photos, in-jokes, instead of plastic toys or plastic-encased treats!), or an increasing number of plastic-free Advent calendars.
The higher quality the toy, the more likely it will be resold in condition good enough to gift! Browse:
Look for toys made from recycled materials, or plants – wood, bioplastic, bamboo. 90% of a toy’s carbon footprint is what it’s made of; its packaging and how far it has travelled are the other 10%. As Ireland’s eco toystore, Jiminy.ie specialises in sustainably-made new toys, but you’ll also find some in most toystores – and it’s a nice micro-activism to ask for the ‘eco section’ even if the response is a blank look!
Plastic-coated (shiny / metallic / glittery) wrapping paper can’t be recycled, but matt “normal paper” wrapping paper can! If you can tear it, it’s recyclable.
Look for wrapping paper that’s been recycled and can be recycled again.
What’s better, a real tree, a fake tree, or a cardboard tree?
…Please, please don’t buy a new artificial tree.
But…”a new plastic reusable tree is best if you use it for 5 years or more” – you’ve heard that before, right? I don’t believe it, and here’s why:
The New York Times quotes Mr. O’Connor of the N.C.T.A (American association for sellers of real trees) as rejecting the study’s findings, saying it was “fall-off-your-horse simple that a tree made out of oil, turned into PVC plastic in China and shipped over on a boat, cannot be better than growing a real tree.”
Companies and associations have in the past spread misinformation to support their own agendas. E.g.: March 1988, Du Pont Chair Richard E. Heckert to the United States Senate, “…scientific evidence does not point to the need for dramatic CFC emission reductions. There is no available measure of the contribution of CFCs to any observed ozone change…” (source)
This video lacks data / legible sources but it’s accurate (to my knowledge), it makes the points well, and is nicely shareable!
Traditional Christmas crackers have been the source of an hour’s fun and then gone to landfill. In Ireland we estimate that over 10 million are pulled every year! Laid end-to-end, they would stretch from here to the North Pole!
So reusable Christmas crackers are a refreshing change to this (like with the Advents, fill with family in-jokes, photos, “Who Am I” game cards, home-made treats), or more and more shops are stocking plastic-free crackers.
More veggies, less meat. ‘Just enough food’ and freezing leftovers to minimise waste. We’re not experts in this area so just flagging it as one to think about!
The biggest thing we can all do for our planet this Christmas is to stay local or travel over land and sea. Every flight we skip is a huge Christmas gift to our planet, even if we off-set. Our planet needs us to plant the “off-set” trees and also skip the flight 🙂
Founder & CEO
Inspiring a playfully sustainable future!
www.jiminy.ie | @jiminy.ie | +353 1 851 2047
As seen on: RTE News (watch) | Late Late Toy Show | Irish Times 100 Retailers
Winner: Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Impact Award 2022, Business Spirit Award 2020
1st runner-up: Small Business Website of the Year 2021 (Digital Business Ireland)
Awardee: Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Impact Programme 2022, Let Toys Be Toys inclusive toystore Toymark