For some folks, Christmas is a time for excess. Excess consumerism that is. Being eco friendly isn’t a consideration. It’s become a frenzy that has been gradually foistered onto us by an insidious and relentless retail marketing campaign. In fact, they’ve made it easy to feel unnecessarily guilty if you’re not giving your family piles of the latest and greatest gifts on offer. Rest assured, there are no good reasons to fall prey to this mindset. Moreover, there are lots of reasons to feel good about not doing so.
According to Clive van Horen, executive general manager, retail products and strategy, Commonwealth Bank: “The total budget blowout by Australians in the pre-Christmas period is expected to reach $616 million, with the majority (60 per cent) of shoppers splashing the cash without bothering to set a budget or track their spending as they go.”
Let’s reclaim Christmas as a loving family time not just consumer craziness. Here are some tips to having an eco-friendly Christmas with your loved ones.
When looking for gifts, consider first, can I buy it locally and is it locally made? Gifts like food and things to wear are ideal. For parents with young children, consider organic kid’s clothes and eco-friendly toys. This goes for Christmas food and treats too.
Try to minimise your use of gift-wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. After all, some 8000 tons ends up in landfill each year!
It’s easy to get carried away and buy too much food but we must think about waste. An incredible amount of food waste is generated each Christmas. In fact, enough to fill about 450,000 refuse trucks. So, what about the main meal? We know the harm that meat consumption is doing to our environment and our health. Consequently, these days there are plenty of yummy alternatives to try for Christmas.
Clearly, most folks recycle these days. Over the Christmas holiday you’ll be inundated by extra packaging, bottles and cans so you might have to consider an extra trip to the local recycle plant. Beyond this, take care with batteries and redundant electrical items. Both can be recycled in an eco-friendly way if taken to the right place. See this guide by PlanetArk.
After the hubbub of Christmas has settled, you may have accumulated some unwanted gifts and toys. Please don’t chuck them out or stick them under the bed! The good news is unwanted toys can be donated through organisations such as www.secondchancetoys.com.au/ They will redistribute them to children in need.
Travelling to meet loved ones over Christmas is an exciting time. You can enjoy this and reduce your impact on the environment. When flying, try to buy the carbon offset. If you’re going by car, the eco-friendly way is to get in touch with like-minded folks through apps such as www.shareyourride.net or www.coseats.com. You can share the costs and meet new friends. Finally, don’t forget to switch off non-essential electrical appliances at the wall when you leave.
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