x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Celebration the eco-friendly way

How to celebrate Christmas without adding to piles of rubbish.

There is a less happy aspect to the many private celebrations common at this festive time of year: a dramatic jump in the amount of rubbish produced. Wrapping paper and packaging from gifts contribute to much of the waste, but so do the paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery people like to use for ease of cleaning when entertaining during the festive season.

One way to improve the situation is to use plates made of recyclable materials that will break down when they get to landfill. Organic Foods & Cafe in Dubai Mall offers Organic Source's 100-per-cent recyclable, non-toxic water- and oil-resistant line, reasonably priced at Dh10 for 20 plates and Dh4.50 for 10 bowls. Just make sure you throw them into a biodegradable refuse bag - leaving out the plastic cutlery and cups.

The smartest and most sustainable "green" entertaining option, however, may be one adopted long ago by some friends who hold a boisterous annual Christmas party back in Toronto. They invested in a cheap and plain set of two dozen glasses, a stack of plates and bunch of extra cutlery that can be used over and over and stowed away in boxes for the rest of the year. Sure it's a little more work doing the washing up, but an added benefit is that most people prefer crockery, proper utensils and real glasses - even the plain, cheaper versions you might find in a picnic basket - to their flimsy, disposable counterparts.

You could go all the way to complete your responsible party package and invest in a bunch of cloth napkins - even better if they are of the organic, fair-trade, natural-dye variety. Use paper napkins if you must, but try to search out the unbleached, 100 per cent post-consumer recycled variety.