As the countdown to the festival season has well and truly begun, we’re all looking forward to celebrating with family and friends and enjoying a well-deserved break. Yet with all the food, gifts, decorations, and Christmas cheers, it’s also a season that traditionally results in a lot of waste, to the detriment of our environment. That’s why we’ve gathered a few of our favourite tips to help make this Christmas the most eco-friendly yet!
1. Think quality not quantity
Ever received a gift (or three) that you don’t really want? When shopping for Christmas gifts this year, put time into picking just one or two quality items that will last a long time.
2. Gift an experience
Not all gifts need to be something physical. Gifting an experience helps to reduce demand for physical resources plus it has the added benefit of creating special lifetime memories for your loved ones. Think tickets to a concert or musical, a voucher to their favourite restaurant, a getaway to the Great Barrier Reef or one of our great local islands, or a bucket-list experience like hot air ballooning.
3. Remove packaging
Reduce waste even further by buying gifts with little or no packaging. And, if a fancy festive gift bag comes optional from the store, decline it and place the gift if your reusable shopping bag until you get home to wrap it.
4. Get creative with your gift wrapping
Look for cards and paper made from recycles or FSC-certified paper. Avoid plastic ribbon and tape, foil-backed wrapping and items with glitter as they can’t be recycled. If you’re someone who likes craft or are looking for a school holiday activity for the kids, why not get creative and make wrapping paper or gift tags of your own out of materials that can later be recycled.
If you do receive unwanted gifts, donate them to a local charity or pass them on to another friend (your secret is safe with us).
1. Avoid food waste
While it can be tempting to go above and beyond when it comes to catering for Christmas, be realistic when considering quantities and just how many dishes you actually need. Meal planning and writing a shopping list can be a big help and consider placing a Click and Collect order so you’re not tempted to throw additional food in trolley that you won’t end up using. Don’t be afraid to use your leftovers either – chances are you’ll have enough left over from Christmas to cover Boxing Day without having to buy and cook anything extra.
2. Serve and store food smartly
Use Tupperware or glass containers to serve and store food where possible instead of
cling-wrap, foil trays and cheap plastic serving ware. As tempting as it may be to use disposable plates and cutlery to save washing up, consider the long-term environmental impacts this can have and opt for traditional, reusable cutlery and crockery.
3. Put more plants on the menu
We all know eating more plant-based foods is both better for you and the planet, so why not add more vegetarian options to your festive menu this year? With more and more delicious vegetarian recipes now widely available, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Google, Instagram and free food magazines available from your local supermarket are great places to start looking.
4. Eat seasonally
Make your shopping trolley more sustainable by buying locally produced, seasonal products where possible as it reduces the resources used to grow and transport foods that are out of season. We’re incredibly lucky here in Australia to have all the best summer fruits on offer just in time for Christmas. Think mangoes, cherries, watermelon and more!
1. Decorate the table sustainably
Keep in mind that many traditional Christmas crackers are cheap, full of plastic and not recyclable. If bon-bons are a must at your family Christmas table, look out for FSC-certified versions or reusable DIY crackers. Avoid single-use table cloths and napkins and use cloth versions of both which look prettier and have a much longer lifecycle than their paper equivalents.
2. Set a timer for your lights
Be sure to run your lights on a timer or set an alarm on your phone to remind you to turn them off at night. It’s not only safer but will use less energy.
3. Make your own decorations or re-purpose old ones
Despite what your Instagram feed may try to tell you, you don’t need to buy brand new decorations for your home or tree each year. Instead, buy quality decorations that will last. If you are looking to change up your theme this Christmas, consider making your own decorations or painting old ones a new colour to give them a new lease on life.