“Buy less, choose well, make it last.” – Vivienne Westwood
While Christmas is the most magical time of the year with all the alcohol, food and gift giving, it’s also one of the most wasteful. It’s easy to overdo everything at Christmas time. From overspending on unnecessary gifts and overeating (do calories even count at Christmas?!) it really adds up to a destructive time of year as far as wastage is concerned. In fact, our waste increases by around 30% at Christmas time. Even just thinking about all of that wrapping paper that ends up in the bin, packaging and food that goes uneaten is enough to make anyone want to cancel Christmas! But making your Chrissy more sustainable is easier that you think. With some extra effort you can reduce your environmental impact this holiday season.
We truly believe in the power of little changes that collectively equal one BIG change. We’ve put together a few simple changes you and your family can incorporate this Christmas that is totally fuss free.
But first, just in case you aren’t inspired to make the change just yet, here are Australia’s Christmas waste facts for you:
- Australians are now collectively spending around $11 billion a yearon Christmas gifts.
- Aussies receive over 20 millionunwanted gifts at Christmas time.
- 86% of Aussiesfind Christmas puts a strain on their finances, with buying Christmas gifts reported as the major cause (66%) of this pressure.
- Australians use more than 150,000km of wrapping paperduring Christmas – enough to wrap around Earth’s equator nearly 4 times.
- In Australia alone, over 5 million tonnesof food ends up as landfill each year – enough to fill 9,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- 90% of Aussiesusually discard over 25% of their food during the festive period.
So here’s what you can do, and it’s easier than you think!
1 – Choose experiences over gifts
It’s a no brainer and the memories last a lifetime! Think a cooking class, pottery class (not just for the nanas trust me!, helicopter ride, skydive, bungee jump, Gift voucher to your favourite restaurant, weekend away, pedicure/manicure voucher, massage.. the list goes on!)
2 – Get your loved ones to choose their own gifts
Save everyone the hassle and just take your loved ones shopping so they get exactly what they want and you don’t have to run the very likely risk of getting wifey or hubby the wrong present. (and we’ve all been there!)
3 – Ditch the Christmas Crackers
Even more wasteful than the single use plastic straw! Discarded after one single crack are filled with useless plastc toys that end up in the bin. Make your own from recycled materials and insert some delicious treats or meaningful gifts. Google the cheesiest jokes ever and pop them on recycled paper.
4 – Ditch cards this Christmas
Write directly on gifts (no one is actually going to care trust me!) Or if you are into the old school sending Christmas cards in the snail mail (we get it it’s thoughtful! But also wasteful!) why not save your pennies from buying expensive cards (or cheap and nasty for Aunty Karen) send e-cards this instead!
5 – Ditch the wrapping paper
Aghh what an environmental nightmare! Did you know that many types of wrapping paper can’t be recycled? So why not just skip the fancy stuff and use recycled brown paper. No one is going to care and let’s be honest they only care what’s on the inside. Pop the paper in your recycle so it doesn’t end up in landfill.
6 – Buy local, ethical and sustainable products
If you need to buy presents be a conscious consumer. Where is it made? How is it made? How many times will the person use it? Is it made from quality ingredients? Is it sustainable? Where will the profits go?
7 - Eco-size your Christmas parties
Say get forked to laziness and wash up your plates and cutlery. Plus you get to save pennies on cheap and nasty single use cups/plates/cutlery and serviettes that you tip straight in the bin. Also has anyone in the history of mankind actually ever been able to cut anything with their plastic knife and plate? I don’t think so! Save everyone the hassle and wash up the good stuff.
8 – Food waste no more
This is a biggy guys! Yes we all stuff ourselves silly in the festive season but lets only buy and make what we need. No we don’t need 20 different desserts for a family of 5… sorry! Unless you can eat your way through the leftovers without tossing them in the bin, only make enough to feed your vultures.
9 – Boxing Day Sales
Ok we all know we live for this one day a year and who doesn’t love a good bargain. But let’s be honest Karen, do you really need 5 pairs of Jimmy Choos just because they are 20% off? Try to be a conscious consumer and think before you buy. Some companies mass produce cheap, poorly made products that suck us in because they are so cheap! But it’s these items that are destroying our planet because they end up in landfill! Spend your money ethically on businesses that dedicate their time to producing high quality and sustainable products that are making the world a better place. Hello Soulfull Tribe!
While we are on that note, don’t forget that each of us has the power to vote with our dollar the sort of world we want to live in. Use your power wisely and make a change this Christmas.
Big love from Angie & the Soulfull Tribe xo