Christmas is a special time of year for people all over Australia and this year, we need a celebration more than ever. However, Christmas can also be hard on the environment, with Australians producing up to 30% more waste1 than usual over the holiday.
Luckily, it’s easy to have a more sustainable and environmentally friendly Christmas. To help you do just that, we’ve come up with eleven tips for celebrating sustainably - from shopping locally to cutting down on waste.
It’s OK not to do all of them. After all, even if you try one of our tips, you’re still making changes for the better and taking a step in the right direction!
1. Shop locally
If you buy from overseas, your gift will hitch a ride on a ship or plane, increasing its environmental impact. Instead, consider shopping locally. That way, you’ll be supporting an Australian business at a time when they need it most and reducing the overall environmental impact of your gift. We’d call that a win-win.
2. Use a real tree
Artificial Christmas trees may be a bit tidier than real trees, but they are much worse for the environment. In fact, the Carbon Trust2 estimates that they produce more than twice the C02 of real trees.
This year consider going for a real tree instead - it’ll be easier on the planet and you’ll love the fresh, pine needle smell.
3. Don’t bin unwanted presents
Every year you probably receive at least one gift that you don’t want. Instead of throwing yours in the trash and contributing to Australia’s waste problem, try donating it to a charity, re-gifting it to a friend or (if you need the cash) selling it second hand.
4. Cook sustainably
On average, Australia throws one in five shopping bags worth of food3 in the bin each year and that number is probably even higher over Christmas. To avoid waste, cook a little less food this Christmas and give leftovers to guests when they leave.
When you’re shopping for the Christmas dinner, it’s also worth trying to support local businesses - especially those who sell organic, sustainable produce.
5. Source ethical gifts
This Christmas, take a little time to consider the impact what you’re buying will have on the planet, people and animals. Consider using sites like Good On You to check the impact that the brand you’re considering has before purchasing.
6. Try an e-card
No matter how beautifully designed and well-intentioned they are, Christmas cards always end up in the bin eventually. Save your family and friends from throwing your card out and consider sending them an e-card instead.
7. Use reusable or recyclable wrapping
In Australia, it’s estimated4 that we use around 8,000 tons of wrapping paper each year, the equivalent of 50,000 trees. Instead of buying new stuff that’ll end up in the bin, try buying a reusable wrapping paper, or using newspaper and twine for an old-school look.
8. Give the gift of generosity
We all have family members and friends who are hard to buy for. Instead of puzzling over what to get them, consider simply giving them the gift of generosity and donate to a charity on their behalf.
9. Skip the plastic plates
Christmas lunches and dinners inevitably involve a lot of dishes, which is why it’s so tempting to use plastic plates and utensils. Unfortunately, these are usually harmful to the environment and may end up in a landfill, so if you’ve got time, try to avoid them if you can.
10. Go for solar powered LED Christmas lights
Try buying solar-powered Christmas lights instead of the usual plug-and-play lights this year. These will cost you nothing at all to run and won’t consume resources unlike normal lights.
11. Try Secret Santa
Celebrating Christmas more sustainably is a great way to save money, while reducing your impact on the planet. Secret Santa is one option that ticks both of those boxes, reducing the amount you consume and spend at the same time.
If you’re not familiar with Secret Santa, it involves putting all your family’s names in a hat, picking one out and keeping that name a secret. Now, instead of buying everyone a gift, you only buy one for the person whose name you chose.
This year we need the family-time, joy and generosity of Christmas more than ever. But if you make a few small changes, you can have all that while also reducing your impact on the planet and making a positive difference.
From all of us at Qudos Bank, we wish you all a happy festive season!
Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305. The information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.
Published December 2021