You don’t need to leave a carbon footprint the size of the North Pole to enjoy the holiday season. Find out how you can have a sustainable Christmas that won’t cost the earth.
1. Buy sustainably
Buying locally reduces the need for long-distance transportation which, in turn, helps reduce greenhouse emissions. Shop at local markets vintage stores and craft fairs, and check certifications to buy Australian-made.
2. Re-gift unwanted presents
There’s much chatter on the etiquette of re-gifting, but what’s to discuss? Don’t let your unwanted gifts go to waste: re-gift, donate to charity, or sell online via eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.
3. Waste not, want not
Use the unwanted fruit and vegetable scraps from your Christmas cooking to start your own compost heap. Clean-Up Australia has some great tips on how to get started.
4. Buy less
Instead of buying presents for all your friends and family members, opt for a Secret Santa. Not only will it mean you’re minimising the amount of waste but it will also help minimise your stress levels with less Christmas shopping.
5. Lighten up
Christmas lights left on for 10 hours produce enough CO2 to inflate 12 balloons. Turn off lights when they’re not being used or try to only keep them on for a few hours each night. LED lights are also a better option than traditional Christmas lights, and use up to 95% less energy.
6. Minimise battery use
Although batteries contain toxic chemicals and are not bio-degradable, they are recyclable. Clean-Up Australia’s comprehensive fact sheet will show you the best way to recycle batteries to minimise their environmental impact.
7. Wrap it up
Cut down on unnecessary waste when wrapping presents by making your own gift wrap from recycled fabric, newspaper or comic strips. Tie gifts with string or ribbons which can later be reused.
8. Save your leftovers
Instead of binning unwanted Christmas leftovers, freeze them or use them to make other meals for the days to follow.
9. Get crafty
Handmade gifts can have a huge sentimental value. Bake Christmas cookies, use recycled jars or vintage tins for packaging, or even produce an artwork for a loved one. Websites like Pinterest are full of easy-to-make homemade gift ideas.
10. Think big, act small
The best thing about Christmas is spending time with loved ones and looking back on the year that’s passed. Christmas doesn’t need to cost the earth – consider your impact, and celebrate sensibly and sustainably.