Christmas is a time of great celebration with family and friends. However, this yearly ritual also means we tend to travel more, buy more and eat more than at any other time of the year.
By making a few small changes to our usual festive routines, we can make a huge impact at reducing waste and our Christmas carbon footprint.
go green with your Christmas tree
Artificial trees require a lot of resources to produce and won’t break down when their time is up. Why not consider a real tree? Many Christmas trees sold in Australia are grown sustainably and help filter air before they’re cut down. Nothing feels more like Christmas than the smell of a real tree standing in your living room. You can even buy trees with live roots to be planted once the festive season is over. Mulching or composting the tree after use is better. Sending the tree to landfill releases methane, just like food scraps. Either way, a real tree is always better than a plastic one.
choose eco-friendly gifts or make your own
Think fair-trade and local when it comes to gifts. With so many talented craftspeople living and working locally, we have access to all sorts of creative goods. Buying local also means you are supporting local businesses and reducing transport emissions from air and road freight. Perhaps you’ve got a handy skill of your own and can surprise friends and family with a batch of home-made fudge or your latest macramé creation?
be energy savvy
We all love a lit up Christmas tree or the dancing reindeer in the front yard. The flip side of these delights is the large energy consumption required to make this fun happen. Choosing LED or fibre optic decorations are great choices as they require minimal electricity. Turning them off during the day and when you go to bed or putting them on a timer can also help to reduce usage. Solar powered Christmas decorations are also becoming very popular as they charge through the day in our glorious Queensland sun.
reduce food waste
A staggering amount of food waste is disposed of each Christmas (our eyes are bigger than our bellies). By carefully planning your Christmas day menu, writing a detailed shopping list and buying mindfully, you can easily reduce next day leftovers. If you do happen to have surplus turkey and salad, there are plenty of creative ways you can use these (no turkey salad sandwiches in sight). Check out our article for more ideas: how not to waste christmas day leftovers
Also, a good composting system will happily turn any leftover food scraps into a rich fertiliser for your veggie patch or flower garden.
Despite our best efforts there’s going to be some disposable plastic, paper and glass accrued over the silly season. If you use disposable cutlery and plates, it’s worth choosing those made from biodegradable bamboo which can be thrown into your compost. You can now recycle your soft plastics through REDcycle who have collection bins at major supermarkets throughout Australia and, since 2019, you can also recycle bottles and cans for a refund through the Queensland Governments Containers for Change scheme. Another great idea is to reuse your greeting cards for kids’ craft or cut out pictures to make your own greeting cards for next year.
The festive season certainly need not be a time of excessive waste. Instead, it can be a great opportunity to learn more about reusing and recycling and teaching future generations about the importance of environmental sustainability.
Enjoy the fun of Christmas guilt free!!
written by Emma H for go natural foods