The most wonderful time of the year is well and truly on its way! Even though this is a special period full of happiness and love, we all tend to go a little overboard with our consumption which can be extremely harmful to our planet. Each year in Australia alone, around 11 billion dollars is spent on presents, and most of which likely end up in landfill! According to ABC News, the amount of waste we produce overall increases by around 50% at Christmas. By being more mindful during the festive period, we can not only reduce the impact on our wallets but most importantly, on the environment too.
From Christmas tree options to decorations and gifts, within this article we will share our top tips to enjoy a more eco-friendly & sustainable Christmas.
6 tips for a more sustainable Christmas:
1) Opt for a sustainable Christmas tree
Trust us, we know how much joy a Christmas tree can bring to your home. However, once the celebrations are over, there’s nothing sadder than the sight of Christmas trees piled up on the streets, ready to head to landfill. When it comes to choosing your tree, remember to not only take into consideration the size, but more importantly the source. Be sure to opt for a locally grown tree and dispose of it correctly. Many councils and charities offer a recycling scheme where they will collect your tree and shred it for further use. Some sustainable Christmas tree providers even offer a rental service which allows them to replant the trees each year. Alternatively, if you prefer fake Christmas trees, try to buy one second-hand. In order for a plastic tree to have a lower environmental impact than a real tree, you must reuse it for at least 10 years.
2) Decorate mindfully
When it comes to decorations, simply being mindful of the materials they’re made from can make a huge difference. Avoid buying plastic ornaments and instead opt for decorations that are made of wood, wool, recycled glass, hemp or other natural materials that are durable and recyclable. It’s also a great idea to buy second-hand ornaments or get crafty and make your own! Decking your halls with homemade DIY decorations is a fantastic way of getting the whole family in the Christmas spirit and creating memorable ornaments that you’ll want to treasure forever. But again, remember to use natural or recyclable materials and avoid using plastic! Why not make a game of it and see how creative each member of the family can be with something they find around the house! (Think toilet paper rolls, scrap pieces of paper, empty mason jars etc.)
3) Be energy efficient with eco-friendly Christmas lights
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the twinkly lights brightening up our streets and homes. However, you may not feel so festive once your electricity bill comes in at the end of the month! Moreover, Christmas lights can be an enormous drain on resources. Remember to turn off all of your lights when you go out and go to bed. An even better solution when it comes to Christmas lights is to choose LED lights as these can use up to 95% less energy and are much more durable.
4) Wrap sustainably
Australians use more than 150,000km of wrapping paper during Christmas – that’s enough to wrap around Earth’s equator nearly 4 times! Unfortunately, the majority of wrapping papers on the market aren’t recyclable due to the plastic coating. The glitter that can be found on some also pollutes our oceans and can end up being ingested by animals which can be fatal. Be mindful about the Christmas paper you use; a simple switch would be to use recyclable brown paper, which in our opinion looks super cute anyway. Alternatively you could wrap your Christmas gifts in old newspapers, magazines or use a fabric remnant – an old tea towel or silky headscarf perhaps! Remember to seal your wrapped presents with recyclable adhesive tape, string or a ribbon. If you already have non-recyclable tape at home, simply be sure to remove this before putting the paper in the recycling bin.
5) Be mindful of food waste
We all love to stuff ourselves silly on Christmas day (and rightfully so!) However, every year in Australia, nearly 5 million tonnes of food goes straight into landfill. So, this year, when you are putting together your food shopping list, try to be as realistic as possible and only buy what you know will be eaten. Of course, some leftovers are inevitable but there’s nothing better than having your food sorted for the week, right? Especially on those ‘in between’ days after Christmas and before New Year! Be sure to make the most out of your Christmas leftovers as opposed to simply throwing them away. Roast turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce are one of our top joys of the festive period! Or why not make a pie with your leftover meat and veg? (We’re drooling just thinking of it..) Additionally don’t forget to store your fruit and vegetables in a produce bag to keep them fresh for longer. Veggie Saver will keep your Christmas veggies crisp for weeks, even your chopped up leftovers!
6) Give greener gifts
The whole magic of Christmas is showing our loved ones just how much they mean to us and making them smile with that special gift. However, gift giving has become a little out of hand over the years, with too many dollars being spent and too much waste being produced. Plastic Oceans state that approximately 100 million black bags full of packaging from gifts are discarded each year. What’s more is that many unwanted gifts (an estimation of 20 million) are also thrown away into landfill.
This year, and for years to follow, why not show the love for your friends, family, and the planet by choosing greener and more sustainable gifts? Think carefully about the presents you buy. Don’t just buy things for the sake of it – remember, quality over quantity, always! Opt for durable gifts that have meaning and a purpose, that your loved ones will not only be able to treasure forever, but will be able to use regularly. Take into consideration the materials of the item itself, as well as the packaging it comes in (plastic-free is best). Ready to go Christmas shopping? Don’t forget to take your reusable bag with you to avoid single-use plastic ones!
Are you looking for a sustainable Christmas gift?
Veggie Saver makes the perfect stocking filler or Secret Santa gift for those who love cooking and taking care of the planet. It’s a multi-award winning, 100% natural, reusable & compostable produce bag. It is scientifically proven to keep fruit and veggies fresh for WEEKS, not only helping to improve meals, but also helping to reduce waste, plastic pollution, and the number of trips to the store! Your loved one will sure to be grateful every time they reach for their fresh and crisp vegetables in the fridge. Shop today!