When we travel back to England for Christmas, we don’t fly. Flying is a real hassle, even when it’s the short two & a half hour flight we do from Pula to Manchester. Plus we’re becoming more & more aware of the impact of flying – but, we have to get back some way, and so driving is the best option open to us at the moment. I know that what we’re gaining from not flying, we’re losing by driving, but there’s no viable alternative. So, this year I made a determined effort to try and do what I could to make a tiny contribution to being a bit more ethical at Christmas.

It would be brilliant if we could buy everything locally and be able to walk to independent shops – but we’re not in West Didsbury any more. Where we live now, in northern Istria, driving is unfortunately part and parcel of every day life. So, buying things does mean driving – and sometimes ordering online. Therefore, I decided that rather than wrap presents into paper which was foiled or contained glitter or use that curly shiny ribbon, I’d try and be a bit more “eco” – especially given that our current lifestyle doesn’t easily lend itself to doing this on a grand scale, currently.

So, what did I do? Bought the following –

  • Rolls of brown paper
  • Twine & string from a local garden centre
  • Corrugated cardboard luggage labels
  • Faux sprigs of eucalyptus

And, hey presto! For very little money and using compenents that could be reused and/or recycled, some very pretty packaging. And not a sheet of shiny paper involved…

Like I say, it’s not quite as easy – or as convenient – here in Istria, to be eco on a consistently daily basis. We do recycle as much as we can at home, and we use the public recycling facilities here. We’ve just bought re-usable veg bags (spotted in Sainsbury’s over Xmas) which can be washed, so this also means we’re able to cut down on plastic fruit & veg bags when we go shopping. Bags for life have replaced throwaway plastic bags. We use a water filter jug, so no longer buy plastic bottles of water.

However, because of our location, we are very much reliant on our car. There is no local transport network to speak of, so driving is how get around. We are very conscious of this – but hopefully the small steps we are starting to make, will begin to make a tiny difference.