Every year around the world, people throw out massive amounts of rubbish- one of the biggest times for this is at Christmas. According to an article published on the the website Junkee in 2020 "The amount of waste we produce increases by 30% at Christmas. Every year in Australia, nearly 5 million tonnes of food goes straight into landfill, and we get through about 150,000 kilometers of wrapping paper." That is a lot of unnecessary rubbish!
Even though the environment is not necessarily an individuals problem alone to fix, we can do our bit to help by looking at our role in the Christmas Rubbish problem.
Top Tips for a Sustainable Christmas
1. Consider The Present Itself
When purchasing gifts we often get caught up in the moment and do not really consider what will happen to it. In a 2019 article published by the Australia Institute it was revealed that "Three in ten (30%), or approximately 7.3 million Australians will receive gifts they expect they will never use or wear this Christmas, representing a total value of $980 million in wasted presents". Many of these gifts end up being regifted or simply thrown straight into the bin- ending up straight in landfill. Not only is this a waste of money, but it takes a massive toll on the environment.
2. Choose Sustainable/ Recyclable/ Useful Wrapping Options
When choosing the wrapping for a present, think of how it will be disposed of. If you can, choose to re use paper or use recycled or recyclable paper for wrapping- there are plenty of beautifully wrapped gifts with newspaper or recycled kraft paper as a gift wrap solution. Not only can this be more economical than Christmas paper, it can also look very pretty and organic, not to mention it is better for the environment. Although Christmas paper can be pretty, it often contains plastic, making it unable to be recycled.
Another option is to wrap your gift in something useful such as a tea towel/ scarf that will be used by the recipient. This wrapping idea has the added bonus of also being an extra gift!
3. Secure With Paper Tape/ Natural String
There is no need for fancy ribbons when you have natural materials that can look just as pretty. When wrapping your presents, steer clear of the plastic sticky tape and use paper tape/ washi tape or even jute twine/raffia for gift wrapping.
4. Decorate With Natural Ornaments
Instead of plastic coated ribbons for decorations, why not consider using natural decorations such as leaves, dried citrus slices, sprigs of fresh or dried flowers, natural string etc.
If using fresh leaves and flowers, only add them just prior to gifting, make sure they are not poisonous and do not post them!
5. Use Recyclable Gift Tags/ Cards
When considering gift tags and cards, add a recycled paper gift tag/ card and secure with natural string. If you are crafty, consider making your own for a personal touch! If you are against giving cards, or are short on money, but still want to wish your loved ones a Merry Christmas, consider sending an e-Christmas card! Sending a Christmas card online is a great way to wish someone a Merry Christmas and save the planet from unnecessary rubbish!
If you have any favourite tips and tricks for Christmas wrapping and sustainable Christmas ideas leave a comment below!