Christmas is only a few short months away, and while it may be the season of giving, relaxing and indulging, it’s certainly far from the most eco-friendly time of year. With the added strain on landfills and CO2 emissions, Christmas is an incredibly taxing time of year for the environment.
If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint this December, but don’t want to compromise on the fun, here are 7 tips for an eco-friendly Christmas that won’t harm the planet or your Christmas cheer.
1. O Christmas tree
While plastic Christmas trees are relativity inexpensive, they are made from a combination of unrecyclable materials that can be potentially hazardous to your health and the environment. If you have an unwanted artificial tree, rather than automatically throwing it away, why not try advertising it on an exchange website such as Gumtree, giving to a local charity or break it down and use it to create unique decorations for your home.
Need a new tree? Why not get creative and use alternative non-traditional plants or decorations. Not only will you own a stylish piece of art for the festive season, but also once Christmas is done and dusted, you can seamlessly move it back into your space.
2. Recycled wrapping paper
It’s not just the packaging and plastic bags that the retail stores use that makes your Christmas presents problematic for the environment. Over 8,000 tons of wrapping paper is used over the Christmas period in Australia, which equates to 83 square km of rubbish – that’s enough to cover Bondi beach 68 times!
Do your bit to reduce this significant waste by using recycled wrapping paper or give your gifts a personal touch by wrapping them in newspaper, old magazines or even your children’s old artworks – and wherever possible, recycle any wrapping you receive.
3. The Christmas card
While the number of Christmas cards delivered on average by Australia Post is on the decrease in place of text messages, social media and e-cards, there is still a long way to go in order to reduce the amount of cards and gift tags used by Australian’s each year - most of which still end up in landfill and can take up to 30 years to decompose.
As well as recycling the cards you receive in the post, why not get crafty with the kids and make your eco-friendly Christmas cards to send. Use recycled cards and envelopes and cut down on plastic packaging and foiled cards. If getting crafty isn't really your thing, you can also buy recycled cards.
4. Deck the Halls
Instead of buying new decorations each year, look at revamping the decorations you already have. By decorating, painting or even simply covering your old decorations, you are not only going to create something truly unique, and eco-friendly, but you can also save money, packaging and energy. For an even more organic approach, use nature to decorate your home. Holly branches and pinecones are the perfect way to give your home a rustic Christmas aesthetic.
5. The gift that keeps giving
Unfortunately, a considerable number of the gifts given this Christmas will end up in the back of the wardrobe or worse, in landfill. This year make a little extra effort to see that any unwanted presents go to good use.
Any time you can reuse, recycle or upcycle an item instead of throwing it away, it’s a small victory for the environment. Recycling is easier than ever with organisations such as SCR Group offering drop-off hubs for unwanted clothing, handbags, accessories, toys and shoes.
To find your local drop off point visit scrg.com.au.
6. Use digital gift cards
The majority of plastic gift cards contain polyvinyl chloride, a plastic that contains pollutants that are harmful to the environment and is slow to decompose. Each year in Australia, we generate an average of two tonnes of industrial, commercial and domestic waste with most of it ending up in landfill.
Digital gift cards can be bought online meaning no more plastic waste, no more postage costs and best of all they are delivered instantly. This is not only a win for users but means millions of tonnes of plastic waste can be avoided, reducing the impacting on our environment every year.
7. Recharge it
This Christmas, try purchasing gifts that come with rechargeable batteries. They will not only save the environment from more harmful waste, but it will save you money as well.
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