Christmas is a time for spending time with loved ones, celebrating tradition and, of course, giving. In this time of many celebrations and gifts, there are a few simple ways you can reduce your environmental footprint while still eating, drinking and being merry. Check out these 5 eco-friendly tips for a more sustainable Christmas.
1.Ditch the straws
From Christmas-themed cocktails to creamy eggnog, there are so many delicious beverages to sip on this the festive season. However, just like any time of year, it’s important to slurp sustainably. Rather than buying packets of plastic straws, invest in a couple of high-quality metal or bamboo ones from your local grocery, department or homewares store. Not only can these actually add to your Christmas aesthetic (especially if they’re silver or gold!), but you can reuse them time and time again. Cost-effective and sustainable.
Nothing feels quite as special as receiving a beautifully wrapped gift for Christmas. To wrap your presents more sustainably, consider grabbing some reusable gift bags or boxes from your local grocery store or newsagency. Other eco-friendly wrapping materials to consider are brown paper, fabric and recycled tissue paper. You may also choose to ditch the sticky tape and use ribbon or string to secure your wrapping instead. On the flipside, when you receive a gift wrapped in paper, try to keep it so you can re-use it on future gifts.
3. Return your plastic
From toy packaging for the kids’ presents to the wrapping on your Christmas cake, this time of year tends to come with a lot of excess plastic. While it can be unrealistic to eliminate it altogether, you can manage how you consume and dispose of it. Many Woolworths and Coles have Redcycle bins that allow you to return your soft plastics and ensure it doesn’t go to landfill. You can dispose of anything that can be scrunched into a ball, including plastic shopping bags, chocolate and snack bar wrappers, bread cases and more. You can find your local Redcycle bin here.
4. Lower the lights
The festive season is one of the most beautiful times of the year, as the streets are illuminated with sparkling Christmas lights. But while many neighbours are in friendly competition over who has most dazzling display, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to Christmas lights. The energy used for lighting accounts for a huge amount of Australia’s fossil fuel production, so it’s best to avoid going overboard with your Christmas lights. Try to only have your Christmas lights on when you really need them, as using them for 4 hours compared to 10 reduces your running costs signifcantly.
5. Shop smart
Planning goes a long way when it comes to having a more sustainable Christmas. Most of us have a lot going on at this time of year, so it pays to make lists and shop early where possible. Being intentional about the presents you’re going to buy the people in your life (or even just asking them what they want!) can avoid last-minute purchases that lead to the item being thrown out. Before you go shopping, create a specific shopping list and make a plan of which shops you’re going to hit. You can also browse store catalogues or ask the friendly store staff for suggestions on age-appropriate gifts.
Shopping mindfully is important for Christmas food shopping, too. Try to go in with a list to help you buy only what you need. You may also choose to ‘click and collect’ your purchases at your local grocery store, so you can order what you need and skip the queue. It’s also important to try to remember to bring your reusable shopping bags to the grocery store — try keeping them in your car or wrapping it up and popping it in your handbag.
Being more sustainable at Christmas time doesn’t have to mean losing old traditions — it often just means creating new ones! By following these 5 tips for a more eco-friendly festive season, you can easily reduce your excess waste and be kinder to the environment.