Sustainable Christmas Ideas

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Christmas is a time of joy and togetherness, but it’s also a time of enormous excess and waste, with Australian households generating 30 per cent more waste during the holiday season than at any other time of the year.

From food (a staggering five million tonnes worth, to be precise) to gift wrap, plastic Christmas trees to unwanted presents, e-waste to decorations, an enormous influx of items end up in landfill during the Christmas period.

Once in landfill, plastics and e-waste can take thousands of years to break down, contaminating soil in the process. Food that decomposes in landfill produces methane, a greenhouse gas.

But discarded food represents greater waste still – that of the water and energy required to grow, process and transport it.

The truth is, most of this waste can be avoided, recycled or composted, reducing the burden on our landfill sites.

So, this year, Indigo Shire Council is dreaming of a low-waste and sustainable Christmas and is reminding residents that good planning, consideration of the three ‘Rs’ – reduce, reuse and recycle – and carefully managed sorting of waste are great ways to celebrate a green Christmas.

Council is spreading the festive cheer and encouraging residents and visitors to take a few simple steps to reduce their waste and recycle more, where they can over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

“By reducing and reusing, we can cut back on what we send to landfill and increase our resource recovery over the festive season,”

To get started, why not try some of these tips?

  • Nip food waste in the bud by planning your Christmas meal carefully, creating a shopping list and sticking to it! Find more great tips for meal and shopping planning here.
  • Cut down on the amount of food that comes in packaging and look for shops, like wholefood stores, that allow you to bring your own reusable packaging and buy only the portions of ingredients that you need.
  • Store your leftovers in your fridge in sealed containers and reinvent them as fun new meals on Boxing Day and beyond – find great recipes online for things like Christmas cake ice cream, , or leftover prawn Pad Thai.
  • Make 2021 the year for meaningful and low-waste gifts, and give presents that are homemade or second-hand. Op shops are great places to find toys, jigsaws, books, antique crockery, ornaments, good-as-new clothing and even jewellery. If you do decide to make a purchase, shop local and support our local businesses and jobs.
  • Show your loved ones you care by donating to their favourite cause or give them an experience instead – tickets to a film, a ‘voucher’ for a homecooked meal, a weekend away.
  • Did you know that Australians throw out 150,000km of Christmas wrapping paper every year? This year, replace wrapping paper with recycled or reusable alternatives like fabric squares wrapped around your gift, furoshiki-style; kids artwork; old maps; newspaper or magazine pages or brown paper bags. Don’t forget to replace sticky tape with string, raffia or ribbon, so it, too, can be used again.
  • Discard of items properly and show the environment some Christmas love! Check website at https://halvewaste.com.au/zero-food-to-landfill/ to learn how to correctly separate and dispose of your waste. On the big day, set out well-labelled bins for recycling, green organic waste and landfill waste and ensure your guests know which items go in which bin. Most importantly, do not put recycling in plastic bags, simply put items loose in your yellow bin.
  • Remember that electrical items - anything with a power cord, plug or battery - can be recycled! Don’t put e-waste in your bin, but rather take it to your local transfer station or resource recovery centre for processing or consider whether it can be given a new life at a local repair café.
  • For more information on e-waste, visit our website:- https://www.indigoshire.vic.gov.au/Residents/Bins-rubbish-and-recycling/e-waste
  • Take your green habits on holiday with you, and don’t litter or dump in our beautiful natural places. Bring your rubbish home with you to dispose of it properly or, even better, create no waste at all by bringing your reusable coffee cup, reusable bags and water bottle with you on vacation.