10 Waste-free Christmas tips!
We love Christmas and the holidays, spending time with friends and family is the best, but it's also important not to forget that a lot of unnecessary waste is produced during the festive season. Here are some of our tips on reducing your environmental impact this Christmas.
1 - Consider a real Christmas tree! Plastic trees will eventually end up in landfill and will never breakdown. A real Christmas tree can be planted outside after Christmas, or kept in a pot until next year. If replanting isn’t an option for you, a real tree is still a better option as it will naturally degrade and breakdown as opposed to a plastic one.
2 - Have you considered running your Christmas lights from solar power? There are many options available at hardware stores nowadays that are solar-powered. If this isn’t an option for you remember to switch your Christmas lights off during the day, and also once everyone goes to bed so they are not running all night.
3 - Do a Secret Santa/ Kris Kringle instead of buying presents for everyone in the family/office/friend group; just buy one, and receive one. This reduces a lot of unnecessary consumerism. If you want you can put a limit on the amount spent, or write an anonymous list of presents you would like from your Secret Santa, to stop unwanted presents being bought. This is also great as most people will put more thought and effort into their special secret Santa/ Kris Kringle gift. Really think about the person you are buying for. What kind of person are they? Are they really going to appreciate and get good use out of your gift? Remember quality over quantity!
4 – Regift! – if you have received a gift that isn’t quite to your liking, instead of throwing it straight in the bin, regift it! Maybe you know someone that would love it! Otherwise, there are plenty of charities where you can donate your unwanted gift and ensure people who are less fortunate get a gift this holiday season.
5 – Wrapping paper. Did you know that Australians alone will use over 150,000km's of wrapping paper this Christmas? That's enough to go around the world 4 times! Try to wrap your gifts in recycled or non-dyed paper. Instead of using tape, use string or twine to hold it together! Or maybe a paper box is even better. You could use an old magazine to personalise it. Also, remember to keep your old wrapping paper from your gifts! Fold it up nicely and keep it for next year. Same goes for the ribbon or string. (This last tip can be a bit cringeworthy to some people and I remember my mum doing this every year, but it meant that we always had some spare wrapping paper on hand if we needed it! Clever!)
6 – Stop buying plastic decorations!! Get creative. Homemade decorations out of paper, wood, flowers, or other natural products not only look awesome, but they are also a great family bonding activity. If you already have plastic Christmas decorations from years gone by, look after them and make sure they last. Don’t just go throwing it because you're now plastic-free! Remember to use what you have first! Or at least donate it so that someone less fortunate can decorate their home with some preloved Christmas cheer.
7 – Grocery Shopping- head to your local bulk food store to see which ingredients you can get from there! You may be surprised at what they have, and if one store doesn’t have what you need, there are new stores popping up all over the place now. Do your research and find out how to make it the most economical for you! For fresh produce, head to the local markets where most items are plastic-free. Or if you can’t make it there, choose produce that isn’t wrapped in plastic at the supermarket. If you need to alter a recipe slightly to reduce your plastic, so be it! I’m sure it will still be delicious! Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!!
8 – Consider a plant-based Christmas! Sure, you may not please everyone at the table, but you are not an avocado! Impress them, or yourself, by looking up a favourite Christmas meal, and then research how to make it vegan/plant-based. There are so many recipes and alternative meats out there nowadays that any meal you can have with meat in it, you can have cruelty free!! Maybe you won’t go completely plant-based, but by swapping just a few dishes, the planet, the animals, and your digestive system will thank you!
9 – I feel like most Aussies are pretty good at this one, but keep your leftovers! Don’t throw them out! Enjoy the feast for the days to come! There is nothing better than enjoying a plate of leftovers on boxing day! If you have too much, consider dropping it to your local shelter.
10 – Consider your travel plans. If you're flying somewhere you can ask your airline to offset your carbon emissions for an extra few dollars. Can you carpool with friends? Maybe you could ride a bike or catch public transport? Be mindful, and always remember to never ever drink and drive!
Have a safe and happy holidays from the Mother Nature Is A Babe team!