I'M DREAMING OF A GREEN CHRISTMAS...
Over the Christmas period, we buy and consume more than at any other time of the year. While the holiday season is a time for celebration and relaxation, it also leads to a big increase in the amount of waste we produce. According to the Australian Retailers Association, Australians are expected to spend more than $50 billion this Christmas. But Christmas doesn’t have to be a burden to the environment!
Here are 5 tips for celebrating a more sustainable Christmas:
1. SIMPLIFY AND BUY LESS
Christmas is the season of giving. Buying gifts for your loved ones is a gesture of thoughtfulness, but keep in mind that not all gifts have to be store-bought. You can give more while spending less by giving gifts that are personal and unique (like these ones) . Another great idea that will decrease spending, stress and waste is having family members draw names and sticking to a 'one gift' rule.
2. SHOP LOCALLY
Buying local food and gifts not only supports small businesses and your local community, it also reduces your carbon footprint. In today’s society, most goods have been transported halfway around the world, which contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Check out local craft fairs and artisan shops for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation and have a story, too!
3. CHOOSE ALTERNATIVES TO COMMERCIAL WRAPPING PAPER
Ditch the rolls of wrapping paper and avoid glossy or metallic gift wrap. Instead, use environmentally friendly gift wrap that is made of fibres such as hemp or recycled paper. There are many options which are cost-free and creative. You could use newspaper, old maps and posters, or reuse last year’s wrapping paper. Make your own gift bags using fabric scraps or use last year’s Christmas cards to make gift tags. Here's some inspiration if you need it.
4. LOWER THE IMPACT OF HOLIDAY LIGHTING
In the past, the house with the most decorative holiday lights used to be considered the 'best', but in terms of an eco-friendly Christmas less is more. Consider making only a small display and reduce your energy consumption by turning off Christmas lights when they aren’t needed. Make sure you are using LED lights for house and Christmas tree lighting, as they use up to 95% less energy than larger, traditional holiday bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors.
5. RECYCLE & REUSE
RECYCLE: Any non-glossy paper wrapping can be shredded for the compost or added to the recycling bins. Save any special gift wrap, ribbons and bows for multiple uses, as well as gift bags and boxes. Did you know: Christmas trees can be recycled too! Live trees that have been cut are a useful material for composting. Look for tree drop-off locations in your neighbourhood.
REUSE: Although it is tempting to buy new Christmas decorations, it is more sustainable to reuse them every year or to make your own using up-cycled materials from recycled materials.