Let’s avoid, reduce, re-use, recycle and compost this Christmas!

With Christmas just around the corner, here’s some great ways you can avoid, reduce, re-use, recycle and compost waste, which can save you time and money too!


Avoid

Research for Gumtree in 2017 stated that we are wasting a staggering $620 million on unwanted gifts! Seven out of ten Australians received at least one unwanted gift at Christmas which equates more than 60 million unwanted gifts. So find out what your recipients really want. Choose an experience to enjoy together such as dinner and a night out at the movies or a charity gift such as Oxfam’s gift of goats.

Avoid buying an advent calendar filled with excess packaging of individually wrapped chocolates and adopt a reverse advent Calendar instead.  Each day in the month leading up to Christmas, add an item to a box, such food, toiletries and good quality toys. Try to get plastic free items with recyclable packaging. Then on Christmas eve donate the box to a Charity.

Avoid plastic and choose a live Christmas tree instead of a plastic one. It will fill your home with a lovely fresh pine scent. Then when Christmas is over, you can mulch or cut up the tree and place it in your green lidded bin.

We all love pulling Christmas crackers, but then end up with a pile of small plastic novelty toys, that nobody actually wants!  Avoid this by making your own plastic free Christmas crackers with recycled cards, paper and fill them with plastic free or homemade goodies. Avoid the waste but not the fun by playing a funny board game, you may end up with twice the laughs and half the waste.

Christmas is a time when we prepare and eat lots of delicious food…but let’s not waste it! 

Many people are unaware that food waste is a significant contributor to climate change due to the methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is produced from rotting food in landfill. In addition, all the resources and energy that went into the production and transportation of the food we throw out will be wasted. These are important reasons to keep food waste to a minimum.(1)

Plan your festive feast Avoid wasting food by planning ahead and serving smaller portions. If you love food but hate waste, leftovers can be eaten cold or are easy to re-heat the next day – you’ll be able to put your feet up on Boxing Day, which is also National Leftovers Day! Saving leftovers for Boxing Day is the number one way Aussies claim to reduce waste at Christmas according to Planet Ark.(2)

A bit of portion control: Letting people serve themselves and storing leftovers properly all help avoid food going to landfill and reduce your food bill. Cooking too much food is one of the main reasons food goes to waste.(3)

Serve more vegies: As a general rule meat has a larger environmental impact in its production than fruit, vegetables and grains. It’s also easier to compost your own fruit and vegetable scraps at home through your compost bin or worm farm.(4)

Ronnie Kahn, founder of OzHarvest provides four easy steps we can take to help avoid and reduce food waste:

  • Look at what’s in your fridge and pantry before going shopping for more and plan your meals.
  • Buy only what you need. Make a shopping list and avoid the deals.
  • Store food in airtight containers, keep fruit and veg in the fridge and freeze food near its use-by date.
  • Cook with what you have, use ingredients up and love your leftovers.(5)

Reduce

Rather than getting everyone a present, just be present. The time you spend with family and friends is much more valuable!

Embrace the Kris Kringle method and purchase one good gift per person, rather than lots of gifts for everyone. This will save you time, money and waste.

Provide rechargeable batteries and a recharger pack with any battery operated gifts. It will save money and ensure that less batteries are used. Batteries can be recycled at ALDI, Battery World and IKEA stores. Check with your Council as they may also offer battery recycling.


Choose to Re-use

Buy good quality decorations that can be reused for many years to come. Or why not make your own using reused Christmas paper and cards, cardboard or natural materials such as pinecones and gumnuts? This is also a great holiday activity for children.

Purchase pre-loved gifts and items made from recycled materials.


Recycle

Remember to recycle the following items:

bottles and jars (plastic and glass)
cans
cardboard boxes (crush them down to make more room in the bin)
milk, juice and custard cartons
cards
foil trays (give then a quick clean first)
foil wrappers (scrunched into a fist sized ball)
tins

 Christmas wrapping (paper only – no cellophane or plastic wrapping please! If you can’t rip it, you can’t recycle it in the yellow recycle bin. Cellophane can be recycled in the REDCycle bins found at Coles and Woolworths

Make sure all containers are empty and clean before placing them in the recycle bin.


Compost

Compost your fruit and vegetable scraps in your own compost bin or worm farm.

Place all food scraps including meat, seafood, bones and dairy, unwanted left-overs or spoilt food in your green lidded Food and Garden Organics/FOGO bin.


References:

1-4: Planet Ark’s 12 Do’s of Christmas: https://planetark.org/news/display/521 5: OzHarvest Fight Food Waste: https://www.ozharvest.org/fightfoodwaste/what-to-do/