As the season of giving is upon us, we’ve put together a few tips to help you have a waste wise Christmas.
Make a list
Planning for a low waste Christmas requires a little bit of creativity. So, whether you’re upcycling, recycling or collecting things having a list will help you have less waste and be super prepared. Take a moment to re-evaluate what is most meaningful for you at Christmas, such as ‘time’ with family you haven’t seen in a while or memories with little ones to last them a lifetime. Having a meaningful focus helps keep anything that doesn’t match it, off the list.
With products travelling shorter distances, there’s far less need for packaging to protect them. Shopping local isn’t just good for local businesses but also lessens our impact on the environment.
Gifts of time like volunteering, or memberships for gifts that keep on giving, experiences to enjoy and make memories, these go a long way. Live gifts like plants, terrariums, fruit trees or seedlings for the green thumb in the family, or the baked with love kind - Christmas Afghans or biscoff brownies! And for the office secret santa edition – Keep cups, treats for the snack drawer, a refillable bamboo pen or a bento-style lunch box.
Buying pre-loved not only reduces waste but also the carbon emissions that would otherwise be generated from manufacturing something new. A great place to find hidden treasures, your local op shop is your one stop spot to reuse and recycle all sorts of prezzies.
Tailor your wrapping to personalities - Tea towels for the next master chef, end of roll fabric for the project runway fan, or old magazine pages and paper grocery bags are a few options to help you get creative. Check out this Japanese method of wrapping presents with fabric called furoshiki. You could also ditch the wrapping altogether and put unwrapped pressies in a stocking or gift sack.
Decorate ‘waste’ wisely
A real tree is the most sustainable option however artificial Christmas trees tend to be a more popular choice. These can’t be recycled so the key to keeping it out of the waste is to store and reuse it every year. Or, make your own upcycled tree and opt for natural decorations, buy second hand for a mix of unique finds. Avoid tinsel and glitter, which shed micro-plastics into the environment.
Christmas is all about the whanau coming together and with food always at the centre of every gathering a lot ends up in the waste bin. Plan your meals before you go food shopping. You can also reduce what goes to waste by planning right-sized meals (here’s a handy guide to portion sizes), turn leftovers into the next day’s meals (Christmas ham sandwiches, roast chicken and coleslaw wraps), and why not pack a takeaway box for your guests (#tupperwaregifting)
And lastly… Recycle right
Rinse out glass bottles and pop them in the recycle bin, remove all tape, flatten and place in your recycling bin. Remember to remove the Sellotape from all boxes, as well as any small plastic pieces, so that the boxes can be efficiently recycled.