With Christmas just around the corner – yes it less than a month away – it’s the season to be merrier, spend time with family, receive gifts and eat too much food. Unfortunately it is also a time where we generate a huge amount of waste.
Our waste volume increase by 30% at Christmas, much of that being made up of wrapping paper and plastic packaging.
Each year 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper is used – that the equivalent approximately 50,000 trees.
According to Commonwealth Bank Australian adults spend on average $475 on presents, with half of them being unwanted.
Australians spend an extra $554 million on extra food, with a third going to waste.
It is still possible to enjoy the festive season whilst still being conscious of the environment. You just need to be mindful in your consumption and plan ahead.
Buy a real Christmas tree
Fake trees tend to be make from plastic and manufactured overseas so this impacts their carbon footprint. Real trees apart from the amazing smell you get from them are grown locally. So you are not only helping the local economy but also helping the environment. Christmas trees sold in Australia are grown under sustainable forestry systems. Look out for ‘live’ trees that still have the roots attached so you can plant them after Christmas is over.
Use LED Lights
LED lights consume less energy than other lights. Being more energy efficient they will not only save you money but they are better for the environment. Also think about the amount of strands of lights you are using. The fewer the better.
Be more mindful about the gifts you choose. Think about swapping physical gifts for experiences or donations to the person favourite charity. Don’t just buy for the sake of buying. Buy less, choose local or homemade products that are supporting the local economy or choose items from recycled materials.
Christmas for a lot of people is a time of feasting. Which inevitably leads to a lot of leftovers in bins. Think about what you actually need and how many people you will be feeding. Start making plans for the leftovers. Share the leftovers with neighbours or friends who didn’t host Christmas at their house. Try and source your produce locally to cut down on the food miles and your carbon footprint at Christmas.
Send e-cards instead of Christmas cards
Email cards will not only save tress but you can personalise them as well. If you must send cards, consider charity cards, made make sure they are made on recycled paper.
Create a new tradition
We have decided in my family that instead of buying for everyone the adults would do Secret Santa. We set a monetary limit for the gifts, which cut down on the financial burden that Christmas can often create and you are just buying one gift rather than multiple.
Use alternatives to wrapping paper
Many brands of wrapping paper contains plastic, synthetic inks, metal-based foils or chlorine and is not recyclable. Alternatives to traditionally wrapping paper are brown paper, cloth or tea towels (which double as presents), use your children’s pictures or reuse all those gift bags you have been given throughout the year.
Wishing you all a safe an 'green' festive season.