Reduce, reuse, recycle and rejoice this holiday season

You’ve made your Christmas card list and invited the guests for a festive lunch, and now it’s time to turn your mind to food, gifts, and decorations: the parts of the holiday season that are largely responsible for it being dubbed ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.

Did you know that these are the elements of the festive season that also make it the most wasteful time of the year?

In Australia, we create a colossal 30 percent more landfill during the Christmas period than at any other time of the year.

A merry time doesn’t have to end in piles of waste, though. With a bit of planning, some imagination, and these handy tips, you’ll be jingling all the way to a sustainable, low-waste Christmas!

 

Reduce food waste – spruce up your leftovers!

Did you know nine in 10 Australians will throw out 25 per cent of the food they’ve bought during the Christmas period?

Your mission this year – and we hope you’ll accept it – is to reduce your festive food waste.

Make a shopping list (and check it twice), have set meal portions in mind and look for packaging-free or BYO packaging options.

On the day, encourage your guests to have seconds rather than piling their plates high with food.

We get it, though – even the best intentions might leave you with a fridge bursting with leftovers come Boxing Day. Lucky for you, the internet is awash with drool-worthy ways of sprucing up yesterday’s yummies for tasty meals today.

Grab your apron and let the inspiration flow!

Find inspiration for fighting food waste, and using up those Christmas leftovers at https://www.ozharvest.org/ fight-food-waste/.

 

Say hello to the homemade, the helpful and the hand-me-down

You heard it here: 2021 is the year of the character-filled, meaningful and low-waste gift!

Whether you’re a tinkerer or sewer, a poet or champion cook; create one-off, handmade gifts for the folks in your life. (Bonus points if your gifts are made from recycled or salvaged materials!)

Or, if you’d rather make a difference than make a pair of socks, show you care by donating to your loved one’s favourite cause.

And don’t forget all the ready-to-be-loved-again gems that lay in wait at your local op shop!

For great ideas on low-waste, DIY Christmas gifts, check out https://www.reusablenation.com/zero-waste-living/the-ultimate-low-to-zero-waste-gift-guide

 

It’s a wrap on wrapping paper

Australians could wrap the Earth’s equator four times with the 150,000km of wrapping paper we use each Christmas.

This year, explore the alternatives you already have on hand for bundling up your gifts – your children’s drawings, old maps, paper bags, fabric squares, pieces of string or ribbon instead of sticky tape. Take a look at this neat tutorial on how to wrap a gift using a piece of fabric, furoshiki-style.

And don’t forget to collect and reuse any wrapping paper you might receive with your gifts – it will be perfect for next year!

 

 

Get real with your Christmas decorations

The best Christmas decorations are the ones you already have…and the next best ones highlight the beauty of the natural world!

If you’re in the market for new Chrissy decorations this year, seek out biodegradable ones: hang dehydrated orange slices, gumnuts, feathers, paper chains, strands of popcorn strung on twine or handmade paper ornaments, then stow them away for next year or put them into your green bin.

Find more green and gorgeous ideas for natural Christmas decorations at https://treading-lightly.com/2016/12/zero-waste-christmas-decorations/.

 

Rock around the recycling bin

If there’s only one thing you do this Christmas, it should be nailing how to dispose of things properly and doing your bit to nip littering and illegal dumping in the bud.

Set out three well-labelled bins for green waste, recycling and rubbish and make sure even your littlest guests know which is which. Find out how to best sort your items for disposal from your local councils website to help you and your guests get things in the right bin, every time.

Make good use of your green bin for food scraps (or use this opportunity to start your own compost bin or worm farm) and most importantly, recycle right – your recycling bin is no place for plastic bags, food, crockery or polystyrene!

Dealing with e-waste is easy

If you’re upgrading electronic goods this Christmas, make sure you send your old electrical items on to a better, recycled life!

Items with a plug, battery or power cord contain valuable – and hazardous – components that shouldn’t end up in landfill or be dumped in bushland or streets. That means e-waste shouldn’t go in any of your household bins, but should rather be disposed of at your nearest drop-off point for recycling.

Visit you local councils website to find your nearest transfer station and other e-waste drop-off points.

And while we’re on the topic of e-waste, have a gander at these great tips for minimising the amount of e-waste you produce.

 

Take your green habits on holidays

Our natural places are wonderful destinations for a holiday jaunt – whether you choose to head to a national park, your local river, favourite camping spot or for a driving holiday down a country road.

One thing’s for sure – the beauty of these places is only maintained if we all do our bit to minimise our waste and dispose of our litter properly.

When you’re packing to head off on vacation, don’t forget to add your reusable cup, water bottle and bags to your suitcase – they’ll make it easier for you to reduce the amount of waste you’re creating while you’re away.

Make good use of the bins provided – remember to sort your waste and keep our recycling bins free of plastic bags – and where you can’t find a bin, pop your litter in your bag and take it home with you to dispose of it there. Dispose of larger household items at your local transfer station – you can find your nearest collection point by visiting your local councils website.

The wildlife will thank you for it!

 

For more information on reducing and disposing of your waste this holiday period, visit your local councils website.