My 12 Waste Free Hacks of Christmas

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the craziness of Christmas festivities! It always seems to creep up on us so quickly, making way for quick, rash and excessive shopping choices, over catering and gross food wastage!

We become so consumed by all the buzz we neglect the most beautiful gift of all…Mama Earth.

Get Earthed with these 12 tips to help you soften your footprint on our planet this Christmas:

1.GET EARTHY WITH YOUR GIFT WRAPPING

I hold onto any wrapping/string/ribbons/gift bags and packaging or paper used to wrap flowers – that way I never have to buy wrapping paper! Brown paper and newspaper are amazing and so simple for presents and you can pretty them up with brown string or a few sprigs of dried flowers or Christmas bush leaves!

Another idea is to wrap your gift in fabric or a scarf you have at home or even pick up some off-cuts from an Op Shop!

A lot of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable particularly the shiny plastic kind! It’s all about creating this circular behaviour where we keep re-using and re-purposing products/materials that already exist = less in landfill, less in our oceans, less harming our wildlife.

 2. GET BAKING & DITCH THE PLASTIC WRAPPED TREATS

Try to avoid grabbing the “easy and convenient” box of individually wrapped chocolates and make your own plastic-free treats! If you want chocolate coated almonds buy them loose at the bulk health food store and pop them in an empty jar from home and tie brown string in a bow! Or instead of buying Christmas classics like rocky road and rum balls look at the recipe and substitute the ingredients that you would normally buy in plastic at the big supermarkets and pick up your supplies in your produce bags or paper bags from health stores instead!

IMG_20181109_121817_126 copy.jpg

3. MAKE THOUGHTFUL GIFT CHOICES

When buying gifts ask yourself:

  • Is it something you know they actually need/want or have mentioned?

  • Is it a thoughtful, long-lasting, quality gift or are you just going for single-use/throw away stocking-stuffers? That will end up polluting Earth in landfill?

  • Assess the packaging, is it riddled with plastic? Is there a package-free alternative?

  • Is there an experience-based gift that would be more meaningful & memorable than the physical thing/product you’re choosing?

 

4. GIFT AN EXPERIENCE

We are drowning in things. Consumerism is at an all-time high and Christmas consumerism is out of control. Life is about experiences so why not consider gifting concert/festival tickets, a spa/pamper treatment, a voucher to attend a course such as Spanish/craft/dancing/music lessons, a snorkelling/dive adventure, or you could book a camp site/cabin as a getaway – get creative!

5.  GIFT LIFE. GIFT A PLANT

How amazing are plants?! I’m so onboard with the indoor plant trend making a comeback. So why not gift a little greening calm energy? Or make a DIY succulent bowl? Oh the options!

 

 6.  INVEST IN HIGH QUALITY DECORATIONS

I know people get excited by all the festive vibes and feel the need to buy new Christmas trees and new decorations each year and throwing out “old” decorations. If you do need a new tree or decorations please go for quality over cheap – invest in beautiful products that will last forever and that you will love forever. You’ll save money in the long run! Or add a little festive sparkle to an indoor plant you already have at home!

And there are also many really beautifully designed plastic-free tree and house decorations made from reclaimed wood and paper. Again get creative, look locally at boutique stores and markets and beyond the big guys like Big W, K Mart etc.

 

7.  BUY LOCAL AND BUY WITH INTENTION

Farmers & Craft Markets are the perfect spot to uncover some really special gems that are both locally and sustainably made. Learn the story behind the creators/artists/designers you are buying from and share this with who you’re gifting to. It’s so important we support those around us. Let’s build a supportive community!

 

8.  COLLECT & RETURN USED BOTTLES & CANS

With QLD now joining NSW in introducing Return & Earn style recycling stations across the state, Christmas is the perfect time to take responsibility for the products you purchase and consume. Containers For Change in QLD and Return & Earn in NSW and VIC allow you to receive 10c for every eligible plastic bottle, glass bottle and can you return to redeem as retail vouchers, money onto your account or to donate to charity. Check these links for the locations of drop-off locations!

https://www.containersforchange.com.au/where-can-i-return

https://returnandearn.org.au/return-points/

 

9.  HAVE YOURSELF A STRAWLESS CHRISTMAS

Shake it up by decorating your festive cocktails at home with fresh fruit, berries and herbs and not indestructible plastic straws! Ask yourself if you really need straws at all or is it just habit? Choose to refuse but if you really are feeling straw-y please opt for the bamboo, metal or paper kind! Just Google for inspiration like these from Country Living!

10. MINIMISE SINGLE-USE PLATES, CUPS & CUTLERY

If you’re hosting a big Christmas Day at home please don’t give into the trap of convenience and resort to throw-away plastic plates & cutlery. If you don’t have enough to serve everyone simply ask your guests to bring along some plates/glasses/cutlery from home to help out!

If you’re out and about picnic-ing, BYO plates and cutlery from home, pop the dirty dishes into a bucket/container and wash up later! Yes it’s not as convenient as throwing them in the bin but these single-use items we use for just a few minutes are made of materials designed to last forever! And  your laziness is not fair on our planet.

11.       USE CONTAINERS FOR LEFTOVERS

If you haven’t already picked up some beeswax wraps (a reusable natural alternative to cling wrap and plastic zip locks) opt for containers to store half-cut fruit & vege and leftovers in. Resist the urge to reach for cling wrap and think how else you can store leftovers waste-free!

 

12.  CUT DOWN ON FOOD WASTE

It’s not just presents that we go crazy for but the amount of food bought over Christmas is so insane! It’s just a couple of days but we act as though the world is ending. Then we realise it actually isn’t and have all this leftover food, a lot of which gets thrown out!

Again think good quality, homemade, fresh food over excessive, quick and pre-packaged food – quality over quantity will have the tummies happy and our ocean creatures smiling!

Kate Baker