Here are our five top tips for reducing household waste during the silly season, to help you go green over the Christmas break!
1. DON’T BE FOOLED. SHINY WRAPPING IS NOT SO PRETTY WHEN IT ENDS UP IN LANDFILL
One of the biggest mistakes people make around the Christmas period isn’t to do with the gifts themselves, but what we choose to wrap them in. Most of the glossy gift wrap we use at Christmas time can’t be recycled, so while it may look pretty sitting under the tree, it’s pretty awful for the environment.
Don’t fret, there are other ways you can wrap your presents and still surprise your loved ones. Old newspapers and paper grocery bags are your best bet but if you wanted to get a bit more creative you could buy a tote bag (which is a Christmas present in itself!).
2. DON’T FAKE IT. BUY A LIVE TREE
While plastic trees can be used year from year, they are made from petroleum products (PVC) which means when they are sent to landfills, they can last forever.
Live trees are a much better option as they are grown on tree farms and replanted regularly. They contribute to air quality when they are growing and a whopping ninety percent are recycled into mulch.
Also, live trees smell like Christmas… enough said.
3. DON’T GO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING WHILE YOU ARE HUNGRY
Christmas grocery shopping while you are hungry is never a good idea as you’ll inevitably end up overfilling your trolley with things you don’t need.
To minimise food waste, plan a menu and shop with a list of food items – this will help minimise the amount of rogue food items that creep into your trolley. Good for the environment and good for your waist line – win-win situation!
If you do end up with leftovers, send your guests home with plates and plates of food, cram your freezer to bursting point, eat ham sandwiches for the whole of January or gift unopened food to a local homeless shelter.
4. CONVENIENCE ISN’T ALWAYS KING
Plastic plates, cutlery and cups are convenient when you are hosting a big group of guests, but they aren’t so convenient when they end up in landfill and can’t be recycled.
Instead of using plastic plates this Christmas, you can use either “real” tableware (doesn’t have to be fancy!) or paper-based uncoated tableware which is biodegradable.
5. BIN RESPONSIBLY
Remembering what goes in which bin can be a bit challenging after you’ve had a few Christmas bevvies, but important nonetheless.
Brush up on what can and cannot be recycled – a common mistake is putting recyclables in a plastic bag and then into a recycling bin.
NSW also has a container deposit scheme, Return and Earn, which allows people to take eligible drink containers to an approved NSW Collection point for a 10-cent refund.
Authorised by Tara McCarthy, Level 8, 28 Margaret Street, Sydney NSW 2000
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