10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Christmas
The silly season is here, but it’s also time to get smart about how we can celebrate in a carbon-conscious, eco-friendly way.
Here’s 10 helpful tips that you and your family can adopt this Christmas:
1. Choosing a Tree
Be on the lookout for organic/seasonal tree farms or “live trees”. These still have the roots attached and can be planted after the season is over. Fresh trees can also be recycled, and kept out of landfill by doing so. This small step helps reduce the production of greenhouse gases. Another option is hiring a tree! You simply send it back once the festive season is over and it gets re-planted for next Christmas.
2. Decorate with Nature
After the tree, comes the decorations! Ideally you should use decorations that can be re-used each year. You can also make things more interesting by creating your own decorations from recycled or natural materials – e.g. painted pine cones, gum nuts, dried fruit peel, snowflakes made from sticks, driftwood ornaments. Get creative and involve the kids in this fun activity!
3. Send an E-Card
We all know the final destination of these hand-written well wishes – the recycling bin. If you think about how many cards are thrown out every year, sending an e-card seems like a better option for the environment. Plus, it’s nice to put a smile on a loved one’s face when they open up their email inbox!
4. Source Ingredients Locally
Ensure Christmas lunch is tasty and also good for the environment by choosing local produce. Not only will it be fresher and tastier, you’re not consuming food that travelled thousands of kilometres, contributing to more carbon emissions to reach your table. Check out your local grocer, deli and farmer’s market for everything you need in your feasts.
5. Cut Food Waste
If you end up over-catering, don’t bin it! Get creative and transform your leftovers into new meals, like turkey pie, ham risotto, and bubble & squeak. If you have too many leftovers, try to freeze it or donate some. Lastly, compost any other waste.
6. Switch off the Outdoor Lights
Decorating the outside of your house can definitely bring out the festive spirit. Consider reducing energy usage by turning off the outdoor lights before you go to bed. Only using outdoor LED lights or solar lights can help reduce power consumption too.
7. Share Transport
Christmas is the time everyone catches up with friends and family, stocks up on supplies, and prepares a million things at once, and that means everyone’s always on the go. Make your Christmas travel greener by sharing shopping trips, and carpool with friends and family. You can also consider using public transport (no more traffic!) and shop online to get bulk deliveries instead of fighting for a spot in the carpark.
8. Buy Less Gifts
Less can mean more; and not every gift has to come from the store. Save your family time, stress and money by organising a Secret Santa. Everyone draws a name from a hat and each person gives only one gift, and receives only one gift
One of the biggest sources of waste during Christmas is wrapping paper. More than 8000 tonnes is used each year – this is the equivalent of approximately 50,000 trees! Try eco-alternatives like wrapping with cloth, tea towels and other materials at home, re-using boxes from shipped items bought online, recycled materials like newspaper, or saving wrapping paper from gifts you’ve received and reusing it.
10. Travel Responsibly
There’s a number of things you can do to reduce the impact of your trip if you plan to travel over Christmas. Make sure you turn off all electricals at the source when you leave your house, because gadgets left on standby can use up to 10% than when they’re completely switched off. This can definitely add up if you’re away for a few weeks. If you’re flying; consider offsetting your emissions, and if you plan to drive; you can try to share the ride!