My top 12 tips for a no-waste Holiday Season

Sandra Slawinski 13th December 2019 0 comments

It is that joyous time of the year where we wrap ourselves in warm fuzzy clothes, listen to Christmas carols and sip hot chocolate in front of the fireplace.and reflect back over the year  gone ( soo fast). This year I ‘ve been on a bit of a no-waste journey and in January I will share my successes and failures. Here already a few easy tips on reducing your waste this season.


  1. This year I am not putting a Christmas tree as trees available to me on town ve their roots cut off. Instead I went for a few smaller little trees that I can replant in my planters on my urban terrace. My mom also brought me some cut branches of holy and evergreens, once done they will go in my compost bin.
  2. Over the years I accumulated quite a lot of Christmas ornaments and baubles, I made a selection of what I use this season. The rest is packed and stored for next time. If you are DIY inclined than have a go decorating with cinnamon sticks, dried slices of citrus, beautiful leaves, strands of popcorn or cranberries.
  3. If you are desperate for a new look, why not host a Christmas ornament swap afternoon tea: invite friends, family and neighbors to bring along any Christmas ornaments they wish to swap.


4. More and more ethical brands are offering beautiful and desired items for the home, kids and fashion  Have a look online and find brands near you to minimize on the shipping footprint as well. In Belgium these brands are readily available:

    • for the home, check out Dille & Kamille (HERE)
    • for the kids, check out Mister Tody (HERE)
    • for fashion, check out the website fair fashion HERE

5. Give vintage! I am a huge fan of some old and something new, meaning the combination of both make sit fresh. Check out thrift stores, antique markets, car booth/garage sales and vintages stores like Pele Mele (HERE).

6. Homemade gifts are very popular, especially if you talented in making jams, chutneys, serving dishes, wood carvings, … You make it, you gift it!

7. Gift wrapping is also something to consider. I ‘ve stepped away from using gift wrapping paper and now apply the Japanese technique of furoshiki, wrapping in cloth. Check out the KonMari method HERE)  I use a lovely kitchen towel or scarf, both are than part of the gifts.


8. Buy seasonal, ALWAYS! I know it is my pet peeve but if you eat what is in season in your neck of the woods than it will benefit everyone! This season why not source your food from local, organic and small vendors. Forget the large super stores and support the small producers and neighborhood shops.

9. We tend to over-buy, over-eat basically over-indulge; buy what you need. Plan menus a head of time and make a list to avoid impulse buys.

10. Use leftovers! Get inspirations online from chefs and food bloggers on how to use leftovers and turn them into gourmet meals.

Basic principles are:

    • any poultry or meat leftover, make a stew, add it to an omelet
    • any vegetables leftover, make a winter salad, make a casserole, make a soup
    • any sauce leftover ( really???), add it to a casserole
    • add to anything leftover, pasta, boulghour, couscous or rice

Check out these 2 recipes:

      • My hardy winter minestrone soup, click HERE
      • My comfort food, click HERE

11. Freeze for later! A lot of leftovers can be put in freezer for later. Remember, don’t freeze anything you can’t reheat without curdling or splitting like cream based preparations .

12. Share! There might be a nearby local for you to share food with some less fortunate neighbors.

For more ideas on going zero-waste check out a few of these:  GoingZeroWaste  , WeHateToWasteEcoCycle , LeefmilieuBrussel

Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals