"In the week after Christmas, New Zealanders send 50,000 extra tonnes of waste to landfill. That's enough to fill 14,286 twenty-foot shipping containers, which, if stacked one on top of the other would stretch 105 times higher than the Sky Tower, or three times the height of Mount Everest.” - from Sustainability Trust // sustaintrust.org.nzIt’s a pretty concerning fact, scary to think that in the midst of giving and celebrating, of the joy and cheer, we’re actually creating a huge amount of waste! The things we throw ‘away’ don’t go away, they just go to a different place. Sometimes recycled but often it ends up in landfill. It’s not just the waste that’s concerning it’s the effect of creating all the ’things’ we purchase as part of the celebrations or as gifts, the factory workers in China creating the plastic toys working in horrendous conditions for minimal pay. It’s the emissions from shipping all of the things all over the world. We can’t keep this up, our planet can’t handle it, it’s not right.
And it’s Christmas. It’s meant to be about joy, family, happiness - it just doesn’t make sense that we’re celebrating that at the expense of other people and our planet. Sorry don’t mean to go too grinch-y on you. It’s been a difficult year for everyone and I know we’re all looking forward to enjoying Christmas and summer, but I think if you can, when we can, we should all think a little more about our planet and about how we might be able to be more conscious this Christmas.
Here’s our top tips for enjoying Christmas a little more sustainably this year….
- Gift an experience. Think tickets to the zoo or an adventure park for kids, a massage or beauty voucher for mum, tickets to the movies or a restaurant voucher for new parents.
- A plant! You really never can have too many, you can even give fruit tree, berry plant, or herbs for a gift that keeps on giving.
- Try giving a gift that encourage a sustainable lifestyle - soap, bars, reusable coffee cups or drink bottles.
- If you can, give gifts they can will use and need! Surprises can be great, but getting something you actually need and really want is better.
- Shop local. Support small local business so you know your gifts haven’t travelled half way across the world adding to emissions.
- Shop natural. Choose gifts that have only natural fibres, materials or ingredients we don’t need anymore plastic.
- DIY, why not get a little creative and make something for a real personal touch. Think baking kits, or baked goods.
- Reuse wrapping paper and get creative with what you already have to wrap your gifts this year. Skip the shinny or foiled wrapping paper, it’s not recyclable and say no to the ribbon.
- Avoid tinsel and glitter!
- Get decorations that will last, buy from places like trade aid or make your own.
- When you’re shopping for Christmas Day it can be easy to go a little overboard at the supermarket, but be mindful and just get what you actually need. Be mindful of your food waste, can you save it for later, freeze it and if not compost it.
- Say no to the Christmas crackers (especially any with those little plastic toys)
- Recycle! There’s bound to be some waste - try to make sure when possible you’re not sending it to landfill but instead recycling, up cycling or donating.
At the end of the day it’s about presence, not presents. Our greatest moments, the ones we’ll look back on won’t be the time we received a beautiful gift it’ll be the laughter, enjoying some backyard cricket, it’ll be hearing stories from our nana’s, from our mums, it’ll be holding our children, it’s a feeling, not a thing. Lets fill our cups this Christmas (I mean our energy stores, but also the champagne - why not?!), not our homes with stuff.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!