The end of year celebrations are coming, with family gatherings, sharing and special moments. But it is also a time when we consume excessively: we buy, we spend, we drink, we eat and then we throw, all by adopting compulsive behaviors that are not sustainable and non-ecological. For your party to be exceptional and not tainted with a significant environmental impact, follow these few tips!
A Christmas without a tree is like Divali without lights!
The traditional Christmas tree is not really found in the region, so why not replace it with endemic potted trees, or a palm kernel in the garden? If you go to the nursery, choose fir trees or trees with roots to replant after the holidays! If this choice is not possible, consider composting your tree at the end of the festive season. When decorating, ban the use of a "snow effect" spray that will be harmful to the soil. Also, be sure not to burn your tree as it will emit far too much greenhouse gas. As for the plastic tree option, it is not necessarily a bad idea so long as it is enjoyed for several years. Finally, other ecological options are also emerging: pallets or driftwood. These “trees” can be reused each year for maximum wow-effect in your home.
Handmade decorations for a personalized touch
Roll up your sleeves, it is time for a little creativity! Treat yourself to a nice book on handmade decorations or browse the net, you will find tons of ideas! Make your own Santa, snowman, elves, and Christmas garlands with recycled materials. Privilege reusable or compostable decorations based on wood or plants from the garden. Take advantage of these moments to encourage the creativity of your children! Not only will you be surprised but you will also spend some fun and memorable afternoons! Another simple and nice tip: Organize a tree-decorations exchange! Have some friends over with some virgin mojito and homemade cookies and voila; every year, new decorations at no cost!
Let’s try not to overdo lights in this day and age of energy-saving. Turning them on at the last minute could also give a deeper meaning to the festive holidays. However, if you cannot resist the glittering garlands to illuminate your home, consider installing a timer on the socket so as not to leave them unnecessarily lit all night long. For a more authentic feel, traditional candles are a great option, many local designers have those on offer.
Alternative packaging and less waste
During the festive holiday we usually produce twice as much waste than usual, therefore, choosing products sold in bulk over those that are individually packed, is a great step in the right direction. Pay attention to the gift wrapping: shiny, reinforced or wet gift wrappings must be thrown in the normal trash-can as they are not recyclable. If they are still in good condition after unpacking, you can use them the next year.
Think of reusable alternatives, like wrapping gifts in beautiful fabrics or even cardboard boxes (shoe box type) that can be decorated. Packaging made of magazine paper or recycled toilet paper rolls are fun options. For ribbons, use natural materials such as coconut rope, straw, offcuts or fabric strips. Finally, ban the disposable plastic or polystyrene tableware and choose the compostable ones instead, for example those made of bagasse which are now available in Mauritius. Favor drinks served in returnable bottles or glass instead of single use plastic bottles. After the holidays, you can bring your glass items to the Mauritius Glass Gallery, they will have them melted and upcycled into various decorative objects.
The ‘Made in Moris’ label and sustainable presents
Make sure to buy an item that will please the one who receives it, because if it is to be hidden in a cupboard, it is not only money wasted, but also wasted resources for nothing. Choose durable gifts that are made in the right conditions. Beware of products coming from Asia! Instead, shop locally and go the ‘Made in Moris’ way by doing your Christmas shopping in craft markets usually organized all over the island at this time of year. Concept stores are also the trend nowadays! You can find dozens of gifts produced by start-ups and exclusively Mauritian or eco-responsible entrepreneurs. A good idea to support the national and local economy while promoting the short circuit.
Today more and more shops sell children’s toys made of wood. Make sure they are certified from sustainably managed forests (FSC, PEFC), or buy second hand and give a new life to an object that was intended for the closet! You can also make your own gifts, there’s nothing better to show how much you value the person than dedicating your precious time to making their present.
Lastly, the “moments to spend together" gifts, the dematerialized presents for the little ones like an entrance to an amusement park, or movie theater and a subscription to the football club. And for the big kids, shows, concerts, restaurants, travel tickets, subscriptions to online magazines etc. Innovate and make this "annual chore" more enjoyable and memorable by reinventing the exchange of gifts.
Who’s ready for a more responsible and eco-festive season?