How to have a more sustainable Christmas.
We chat to Way to Waste about how you can have a more sustainable Christmas:
‘Tis the season of excess and frivolity! The season where even the most passionate waste warriors might slip. The next few months are a process of steadily acquiring Christmassy things for the big day, followed by weeks of trying to then get rid of it all again. We get it. Which is why we’ve come up with some tips for having a more sustainable Christmas:
- It doesn’t feel like Christmas until the tree is up, but the big question is: real or fake? If you’re environmentally conscious this can be a real head-spin. On the one hand, a real tree is a renewable resource and recycles carbon dioxide. But a plastic tree lasts for years. The real question you need to ask yourself when choosing is where did the real/fake tree come from and what happens to it at the end of its life. Can you recycle parts of the plastic tree? Will your real tree go to compost or landfill? Consider the whole lifecycle and make a decision that aligns with your values.
- Let’s talk about the pressies! Gift wrapping is one of my absolute favourite Christmas activities, but unfortunately is also one of the biggest source of waste. Why not try wrapping in recycled paper, such as your child’s artwork or old newspapers? Or cloth wrapping, such as a scarf or tea-towel which can be part of the gift? Even repurposed old bedlinen cut into scraps can be a good alternative. And remember when you’re cleaning up after the big day, paper gift wrapping can be recycled but things like cellophane and bubble wrap will need to go to soft plastics collection (Redcycle at Woolworths).
- Now that we’ve discussed wrapping and unwrapping the gifts, let’s talk about the gifts themselves. Finding that perfect something for your friends and family can be super stressful – sometimes we nail it, other times not so much.. So consider asking your friends and family what it is they want this Christmas. If you do have unwanted gifts after the big day, you can regift, return, donate or recycle.
- Decorate mindfully. Switch to energy efficient LED Christmas lighting, buy in-season flowers for around the house, and reuse your Christmas decorations such as tinsel as much as possible before sending to landfill.
- It just wouldn’t be Christmas if you didn’t have to roll me out the door at the end of the day from over-eating.. so let’s talk about food. Serve in-season, locally sourced produce. “Food miles” (the distance food has travelled from producer to consumer) has a massive impact on the environment. This is intensified during the festive season. Do you really need the Christmas ham, turkey and the salmon? Consider serving your food buffet-style so people can choose their portion size and therefore reduce waste. That way, you can save the leftovers for the next day when you reeeeeally don’t feel like moving from the couch!
- And finally – after the big day is over, take the time to sort your Christmas waste properly. Stow away any Christmas decorations and paper to reuse for next year and recycle the rest. Compost any food waste and if you use a bokashi bin system you can compost any meat scraps too. Glass bottles and aluminium cans are recyclable so pop them in your kerbside recycle bin. Things like chocolate wrappers, ice-cream wrappers and confectionary wrappers can be recycled through your soft plastics collection (Redcycle at Woolworths).
Wishing you all a very eco-friendly, merry Christmas!