Often we have the best intentions of easing into the holiday season but Christmas sneaks up on us once again and we feel frazzled rather than all jolly yuletide. So we desperately run around buying presents and food to compensate for our lack of planning. It doesn’t have to be this way! If you’ve ever wanted to attempt a zero waste Christmas but didn’t know where to start, follow these five top tips and you’re on your way to massively reducing your waste (and stress) this Christmas.
- Ditch chaotic and loud shopping centres for the Gold Coast’s Art and Craft Market and choose gifts that have minimal or no packaging made by passionate local producers. They offer an outdoor, leisurely shopping experience every Sunday at different beachside locations. Or gift someone an experience – you don’t have to wrap it and they’re proven to increase the bond between giver and receiver because of the delayed gratification.
- Wrap gifts with reusable cotton produce bags or beeswax wraps. These are useful items that encourage people to shop and store food more consciously. Or simply collect materials like paper and scraps of fabric, add dried leaves and shells and you’ve got chic upcycled wrapping at no cost.
- Do the bulk of your food shop at the farmers market or greengrocer and you’ll see a dramatic reduction in the amount of plastic you bring home. You can also take your own containers to get filled at markets where most supermarkets won’t allow this. Plus you’ll be able to sample and bring home interesting cheeses, breads, condiments and fruit that you wouldn’t normally have on your Christmas table.
- Research recipes for the leftovers in your fridge so you reuse rather than throw out those single portions. Aussies throw away one in five shopping bags of food because we have this notion that food is so readily available and disposable, but we’re throwing away our money too. OzHarvest.org have some great “wasty recipes” on their website like sausage salad and bread dumplings so let the internet inspire your creativity.
- Make new traditions! Christmas doesn’t have not be about consumption – start a new family tradition to do a surprise kind act for someone in your family or hold a potluck style Christmas dinner where everyone brings a dish!
Ho-ho-hope you have a very merry, waste-free Christmas!