Give yo’ Mumma (Earth) a big hug this Christmas.

The folks at Planet Ark have been in contact with me to help give you guys the very best advice to have an eco friendly Christmas. For those of you who haven’t heard of them Planet Ark Environmental Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit organisation with a vision of a world where people live in balance with nature. They were established in 1992 and are one of Australia’s leading environmental behaviour change organisations who focus on working collaboratively and positively. They aim to unite people, businesses and governments through positive environmental actions promoting sustainable resource use, encouraging low carbon lifestyle, and connecting people with nature. Their campaigns and programs work on positive action based philosophy (the fun stuff we all want to be a part of) and are targeted at individuals, schools, councils, and workplaces. Planet Ark want you to feel good about your environmental action!

Image above from Free People.  

The most wasteful time of the year?

Christmas time can be a very wasteful time of the year. The following are some statistics from a UK based company call EnviroWaste (I can’t vouch for the accuracy of these stats as it’s a commercial company but they seem pretty believable):

  • Royal Mail delivers around 150m cards and packets during the pre-Christmas period. It’s estimated that 1 billion Christmas cards could end up in the bin after December 25th.
  • 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will be thrown out or burnt – enough to gift-wrap the island of Jersey! Now there’s a Christmas gift with a difference…
  • 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown out, rather than recycled.
  • Six million trees are thrown out after Christmas, creating more than 9,000 tonnes of additional waste. That’s about five times the weight of the London Eye!
  • Not even your beloved turkey is safe from scary waste stats. This Christmas we’ll cook around 6,711 tonnes of fresh turkey, and 12,472 tonnes of frozen turkey. That’s almost 20,000 tonnes of meat!
  • And of course, the turkey needs wrapping too – around 4,200 tonnes of aluminium foil gets thrown away every Christmas in the UK.

Here in Australia we are throwing out around 8 billion dollars of edible food each year, with the most food waste occurring post Christmas. ‘National Leftovers Day’ (A.K.A Boxing Day) is the day of the year when Australians have the highest levels of leftover food in their fridges, most of which will be sadly wasted.  Statistics have indicated that Australians will waste hundreds of millions of dollars of food over the extended Christmas period. This frightening stat looks only at food wastage! Imagine if we were to investigate all the rubbish and carbon miles associated with the silly season across the globe. The videos attached give a bit of a look at the idea of Christmas as a materialistic time of year it seems to have become. Sadly, while it sounds a little ‘grinch like’ I agree. As someone who doesn’t prescribe to a faith that celebrates Christmas from a religious viewpoint, for me, as an adult Christmas has become more of celebration of consumerism than anything else. I tend to visit family (who live interstate) at an earlier or later date to avoid the added expenses and stress of travelling during this busy time of year so the family factor isn’t what I associate Christmas. However, I’m not a total grinch, it is fun to have a day or two off and I enjoy spending it with my Mr. and our pooch and I always enjoy the challenge of making my own decorations.

The 12 Do’s of Christmas.

Planet Ark have a twelve step guide that Sustainability in Style will be helping you work through to reduce the Christmas waste this year. They suggest the following:

  1. Buy good quality decorations that can be reused year after year or make your own
  2. Set up a recycling station at your workplace Christmas party and make sure signage is clear so that no matter how much fun everyone is having they know where the recycling goes.
  3. Give thoughtful gifts. Find out what your recipients really want, or choose an experience or charity gift.
  4. Choose reusable or recyclable wrapping, like paper. For extra points use recycled content paper.
  5. Go digital and download the RecycleSmart App for recycling information for the christmas season and year round!
  6. Prevent food waste by planning ahead, only opening what you need and using leftovers. Compost or worm farm any unavoidable food scraps.
  7. Most food and drink packaging is recyclable. Sort and flatten it to fit as much as possible in your bin.
  8. Recycled mobile phones, printer cartridges, computers and tables that get replaced.
  9. If you are giving a battery operates gift, include a battery charger and some rechargeable batteries too- it’ll save the recipient money!
  10. Reduce the impact of your holiday travelling and fuel costs by making sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and your engine is tuned. Remember to recycle old car oil, types and batteries.
  11. Declutter the house- recycled from the yard, garage and attic.
  12. If you choose a live christmas tree ask the council if they have a special collection or mulching service, or if you can take the tree to your local recycling facility.

You can learn more about the Planet Ark 12 Do’s of Christmas here. Stay tuned to Sustainability in Style as we work our way through these tips to give you more options and DIY ideas.

Do you have some great Christmas waste reduction tips? Share them with us in the comments section.


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