Have a very GREEN Christmas with these eco-friendly tips!
“Australians are expected to spend about $10 billion on food over the Christmas period, but a staggering 35 per cent will be wasted and end up as landfill.” ABC News.
“A recent Australian survey by McCrindle Research has shown that 78.5% of Australians have received a present that they didn’t want. 13.7% of people will throw away these unwanted presents – meaning they go unused from manufacturer to landfill.” Clean Up Australia.
I know ‘statistics’ are a grey area, but I certainly believe there is a lot of waste happening at Christmas time. When you think that most people buy at least a couple of presents, multiplied by everyone in Australia, it’s not too hard to figure out, that is a whole lot of paper, cards and packaging right there!
This whole over-consumption thing started bothering me a few years ago. We are by no means perfect, but by thinking ahead and opting for the most environmentally friendly options, we are doing our little bit.
Here are some of my top eco-friendly tips for having a greener Christmas this year.
I have taken to sending mostly email greetings on Christmas Eve every year. I usually jazz it up a bit and include some photos of the kids and the dog in their Christmas gear so it’s a bit more special! You can even Elf Yourself and give the rellies a bit of a laugh.
If you still want to send cards, purchase some eco-friendly Christmas cards, like these from Australian company, Earth Greetings.
Make sure all your cards go in the recycling bin after Christmas or donate to your local childcare, kindy or school for crafts. Alternatively, you could keep them and upcycle them into various craft projects next year.
Save postage bags and packing material throughout the year to reuse at Christmas time. Read more here.
There are so many alternatives to paper for wrapping gifts, from fabric and kids’ artwork to reusable bags. Check out a few here.
Plan your Christmas menus ahead and try not to overcater – there is only so much you can fit in your tummy! Make sure you get the leftovers back in the fridge quickly and have a plan for them. If you won’t eat them within three days, then freeze or giveaway. Find out where in your area will take leftover food. Compost what you can as well.
Ditch the disposables
I know disposable crockery and cutlery is really handy and saves so much work. But, they really have an impact on the planet, particularly if they are not bio-degradable. If you are having lots of people over, grab some extra crockery and cutlery from the op shop. You can always donate it back later or pop it away in a box for next time you entertain.
If you want to go disposable, investigate some green options like these biodegradable. compostable palm leaf ones. I think they look so much more stylish than plastic plates too!
Charity gifts are fabulous for the person who has everything and they really make a difference to those in need.
If you are giving battery operated presents, consider also adding a battery charger and rechargeable batteries. When upgrading electrical items for Christmas gifts, make sure you recycle the old electronics. Find out where you can recycle near you, here. Electronic waste is fast becoming a huge problem in this country.
A gift card is always a good gift and it’s not wasted as the recipient can buy exactly what they want or need. To make it a bit more thoughtful, whack it in a home-made snow globe!! My favourite idea this year from The Creative Mama.
I don’t get the idea of buying an entire set of new decorations every year! I just use the same ones I have had for over ten years. Buy quality ones that will last and take care of them. I love this idea of using egg cartons to store them – we also use shoe boxes padded with recycled tissue paper.
Have you ever thought of buying pre-loved Christmas decorations? Try op shops and local buy swap and sell sites.
You can also make your own Christmas decorations. Kelli from Be a Fun Mum has some fabulous ideas here.
When the Natural New Age Dad and I were first together, we didn’t have a tree. So I hung some cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices and walnuts from some branches with lots of tartan ribbon. Simple, but still festive! Take a look at Red Tart Art to see how to do the orange slices.
You can also source fair-trade and recycled Christmas decorations if you aren’t gifted in the crafty department.
Although I am not a fan of plastic, a good quality tree will last you for years! If you like to go fresh, check out this great Aussie company The Eco Christmas Tree where you can rent a tree or buy and keep a fresh tree in a pot. If you have a fresh tree, you could compost it or use it for bark chips on the garden when Christmas is over.
You could also get creative and make your own Christmas Tree with recycled materials!
Make your own with toilet rolls like this idea from Totally Green Crafts or make a wooden or fabric one that you can re-use every year.
I could go on forever – there are so many great eco-friendly ways to have a very green Christmas! It just takes a little creative thinking.
Tell me, what are you best eco-friendly tips for Christmas?