Seems a little odd to be thinking of Christmas this far out but in order to reduce waste for Christmas you need to do a little bit of planning. Here are a few ideas on how to reduce waste this Christmas (and will help save $ too):
- Christmas Cards – Christmas Cards are the first Christmas task to think about (especially with looming postal dates for overseas friends and family (only a couple of weeks to go). The Packaging Accord estimates that 68 million christmas cards were sent last year which is a lot of trees! Look through your house for any unused Christmas cards and send those, or save last year’s Christmas cards and use the front as your card or make your own cards out of card, fabric, buttons, felt, paint, crayons – what ever is already in your house. If you have children involve them too. They can draw Christmas designs on each of the cards. If you need to buy Christmas cards and envelopes buy those made from recycled paper, made with vegetable dyes and can be composted. Try FernbirdEcostore or Vanilla Soul.
- Any left over food goes into the compost bin. Cooked meats are great for sandwiches for lunches following Christmas day or maybe have a vegetarian Christmas for even lower environmental impact (don’t forget to go organic and free range as much as possible especially the Turkey).
- Use old Christmas Cards as present tags.
- For zero waste Christmas Cards send e-cards instead. Try Paperless Post.
- Wrapping paper – use what you have already, use recycled paper or use newspaper. Only wrapping paper that can be recycled or composted (as most traditional Christmas paper can’t be recycled or composted due to the gloss on the paper and the inks).
- Or try furoshiki – the Japanese tradition of wrapping your presents in reusable cloth.
- Give presents with zero to minimal packaging such as “experience” presents or vegetable seedlings, potted plants or baking.
- Bake and make your own candy.
- Buy a potted Christmas tree that you can reuse over and over for a few years. If you buy a cut down tree remember to put in your Green Bin (if it fits!) or take it to one of the ecodepots in Christchurch (or your local refuse station).
- Use only the decorations you have already or make decorations out of paper bits and old material.
- Buy vintage, second hand or regift an old present.
- Or better yet buy a product that has recycled content – made from something else. Some great ideas here from Mapua Trading Co.
- If you need extra plates, cups and cutlery use compostable products not plastic.
- Make your own crackers. Start saving old toilet paper or paper towel rolls, use old wrapping paper, tissue and ribbon for the outside. You can pick up cracker making kits at local craft stores that will have the cracker element and then add some fair trade chocolate and hand write some jokes or quotes ( there are plenty on the Internet). Then the paper, cardboard rolls and outer wrapping can go in the compost bin.
Christmas is more about family, food and being together than having to worry about giving each other more “stuff” covered in wasted packaging. Give a gift because you care but give a gift that is also careful on the environment. A little bit of planning now will make a difference and create a healthier Christmas that everyone will enjoy. Remember to first reduce your consumption, then reuse what you have already and then recycle.
Love this 12 days to a greener Christmas from the Hawkes Bay Regional Council too.
Tags: Christmas, christmas cards, consumption, diverting waste from landfill, environmental sustainability, furoshiki, landfill, mapua trading co, paperless post, plastics, presents, recycling, reduce, reuse, second hand, vintage, waste, wrapping paper