Managing waste wisely

Waste Wise Christmas Tips

Want more Christmas spirit, less Christmas waste? Avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle right with these 10 waste-wise Christmas tips!

#1 Plan ahead

Planning ahead creates less stress, less waste, more space, more time and saves you money. Who doesn’t want that at Christmas?

#2 Reduce your recipient list

No, you’re not a grinch. You can achieve more by giving less this Christmas. Why not try:

Secret Santa – a great way to reduce waste while buying someone something they actually want. Discuss budget and provide extended family members with a wish-list to avoid well-intentioned but unwanted items.

Encourage shared gifts – buying for a family? Joint ‘family gifts’ like board games, family passes or activities can be a way of meeting everyone’s needs with one thoughtful gift that everyone can enjoy.

#3 Maximise experience

Last year, around $400 million was spent on 10 million unwanted gifts last Christmas, many of which were discarded and likely ended up in landfill.  Research shows that experiences make people happier than material items, so why not maximise happy and minimise waste with these low-waste Christmas gift ideas.

The gift of experience– make unforgettable gifts without the waste. Movies, day spas, hot air balloon trips, zoo passes, courses, classes, memberships, restaurant vouchers support the local economy while making memories instead of waste.

The gift of your time – Are you known for your skills in cooking, baking, sewing, painting, carpentry, sports or patience?  Create ‘coupons’ that allow you to gift those skills, eg.

  • one-hour cricket lesson
  • bicycle repair session
  • how to make sourdough bread lesson
  • sewing lesson
  • gifting babysitting hours to exhausted parents is priceless and completely zero-waste!

#4 Think beyond the wrap

Each year, we use more than 150,000 kilometres of wrapping paper at Christmas – enough to wrap around the Earth’s equator almost four times.

Avoid single-use and try re-usable wrapping like fabric secured with reusable ribbon or furoshiki knots, reusable paper or produce bags, boxes, old newspaper, old maps, scarves, tea-towels or  baskets. You are only limited by your imagination!

#5 Make it heartfelt

If gift-giving is your love language, choose gifts that support the circular economy.  Consider:

Zero waste gifts –  is your gift recipient just starting out on a low-waste journey? Zero waste alternatives to single use items items like straws, coffee cups, produce or shopping bags make useful, re-usable gifts. See Plastic Free July for more great zero-waste gift ideas.

Pre-loved gifts – your local op-shop is a treasure trove of fabulous finds! Alternatively, you can responsibly re-gift items you don’t want – just make sure to follow re-gifting etiquette!

Make it yourself – make or bake gifts for loved ones. There is no shortage of inspiration, and you can dial the difficulty up or down depending on your skill level.

Shop local – support the local economy and reduce the travel miles by buying items made locally.

Support a cause – avoid unnecessary gifts altogether and donate funds to a charity or worthy cause.

#6 Deck the halls with what you have

Reuse what you already have and consider natural alternatives to store bought plastic decorations.

Need a tree? Spruce things up with a real one! Enjoy the real scent of pine in your living room, or go unconventional with a fruit tree that you can plant after the event. 

Get crafty with DIY handmade decorations and DIY bon-bons.

Re-use your tableware – swap disposables for reusables. Catering for a crowd? Consider hiring instead buying or look for secondhand at your local op-shop.

#7 Fare wisely

Cook less – menu planning is key to avoid festive food waste.

Choose seasonalseasonal produce is better for you and the planet. It travels less food miles, making it readily available, cheaper, fresher, more nutritious, tastier and better quality.

Eat brighter – liven up your festive fare with less meat and more colourful, vegetable-based Christmas recipes.

Prepare and store food properly – avoid food waste by storing food at correct temperatures.

#8 Pay it forward – return unwanted gifts

There are many ways to subtly and responsibly manage unwanted gifts. Returning to the store of purchase, re-selling, donating or re-gifting to someone other than the giver are all options.

#9 Get creative with leftovers

Christmas leftovers don’t need to be boring!  Visit Love Food Hate Waste for leftover inspiration and avoid food waste.

#10  Remember to recycle

Recycling bin overflowing? Bring your excess recyclables like cardboard, polystyrene, bottles, containers, etc to the West Metro Recycling Centre. Open every day of the festive season except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Check our website for opening hours.

take your excess recyclables to the West Metro Recycling Centre this festive season