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Top tips for a sustainable Christmas

20 Dec, 2019

Are you dreaming of a sustainable Christmas? If all you want for Christmas is to be clean and green, then we’ve got some amazing tips for you!

Here are our top tips for a more sustainable Christmas, which will help to make your celebrations kind to the planet.

Ditch stocking fillers

Embrace the season of giving but don't leave your loved ones stuck with things they're not going to use. Give practical gifts like a reusable coffee cup or stylish reusable tote bag, or gift an experience like tickets to a local show, a movie pass or a voucher for a day spa.

If you're up for some festive fun, try a second-hand gift exchange with your family or friends. You can pick up unique preloved treasures from the Wodonga Re-use Shop – everything from $1 books to quirky jewellery, vintage crockery, furniture and bikes. You can also try one of the many op shops that offer plenty of options for meaningful gifts that won't break the bank.

Become a wrap artist

Embrace the Japanese art of furoshiki and use square scarves or spare pieces of fabric instead of paper. Scarves can be picked up affordably at op shops.

If you have children, let their creativity run wild and have them draw or paint on scrap paper to turn a fun craft activity into sustainable gift wrap.

Set on using traditional wrapping paper? Make sure you use tape sparingly and choose paper that can be recycled, avoiding cellophane or metallic wrapping paper.

Give the gift of good food

For many of us, food is our favourite feature of the festive season. It's easy to be tempted to buy too much rather than risk finding yourself a little light on when your extra cousins turn up after the shops close. Challenge yourself to consciously cater and reuse your leftovers for the foodie gift that just keeps on giving.

Write a detailed shopping list before you pick up the groceries for Christmas lunch, and make sure you stick to it. If you still end up with leftovers, create an 'eat me first' section in your fridge so nothing goes to waste. Search online for recipe inspiration and ideas to help you use any food you're struggling to get through.

When shopping for a Christmas feast, also think about food packaging. Buy loose fruits and vegies and purchase other products in glass or tin wherever you can, which can later be placed in your household recycling bin.

Decorate responsibly

When it's time to get decorating, resist the temptation to buy cheap plastic decorations and instead invest in good quality decorations made of wood or glass that can be reused for years. Or better yet, make your own or get your children to make some.

Set the table with an eclectic mix of plates and cutlery you already have at home or pick up a nice matching set from a tip shop or op shop. Washing dishes is surprisingly quick when you have family to help and it means you'll save plenty of single-use plates, cups and cutlery from ending up in landfill.

Shine a green light on Christmas and make sure your twinkling lights are only on for a few hours each night. Leave them switched off when you're not at home, and if you're buying new twinkle power for your celebrations, opt for LED or solar-powered lights for a more sustainable option.

Re-use what you have

As we know plastic waste doesn’t go away. Before you toss something away, ask yourself if the item can serve another purpose?

Packaging is a big waster. Reuse packaging when you can. Reuse the peanut box, pill jar, spice pots, or zip-lock cereal bags to store other items. 

We can all make a huge difference by being prepared with reusables. Going to a family's Christmas where ‘throw away’ is usually the norm? Bring your own cutlery, plate, cup and straw. You will surely make an entrance, and it’s a great conversation starter. Make it a habit of bringing your reusables items wherever you go. By being well-prepared, you can avoid ‘having’ to accept hundreds of plastic items. 

We know changing habits can be challenging, but your small changes can make big differences to reducing waste, energy and helping to keep our city sustainable for future generations.