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Zero Waste Christmas

Planning your zero waste Christmas

The festive season is a time for family, friends, giving and receiving.

It’s so easy to get caught in the consumerist hype of the season and purchase, purchase, purchase.

We begin by making a list of all the people we wish to buy for, we budget out how we might afford all the gifts then we head to the shops.

In this process we get a bag per purchase, a receipt, perhaps eat a takeaway meal while shopping. We buy wrapping paper, sticky tape and a shiny bow that goes on top.

On Christmas day, presents are ripped open and the paper discarded, large meals are consumed and the fridge is forced shut to the brim with left over food. The following day boxing sales commence and it’s a frenzy to purchase some more, more, more. This means more bags, more receipts and more cutlery from the take away meal.

In the one season we consumer and create waste beyond comprehension, based on our research the following waste is generated annually from the festive season.

Christmas Waste Statistics 

  • 6 million Christmas trees used every year
  • 250 tonnes of Christmas tree is thrown away into land fill (When they could be reused)
  • 2 million turkeys are consumed
  • On average one household will use 4 rolls of wrapping paper, 1.5 roles of sticky tape and throw out 3 full bags of wrapper rubbish
  • In Australia we spend around $11 Billion per annum just for Christmas
  • Australians use more than 150,000Km of wrapping paper, this amount could wrap around the earths equator 4 times
  • 5 million tonnes of food ends up as landfill each year. This could fill 9,000 Olympic swimming pools
  • 90% of Australians usually discard over 25% of food during the festive season

 (Take a moment to breath, because I know those statistics can seem a bit daunting)  

Before we start to feel overwhelmed by the beautiful season that is Christmas here in Australia, see some helpful hints below that can help you on your way to a zero waste Christmas.

Steps to a Zero Waste Christmas 

Solar Panel Christmas lights

I remember as a kid during December our school year came to an end, the weather started to heat up and at night the Christmas lights could be seen lining the streets. There was one family in my small country town that dressed their house from top to bottom with the most magnificent design, I was totally mesmerised. I was also however totally oblivious at the time to where electricity came from, how the major power companies might generate our power and the cost of running something so extravagant. 
In todays market place, there are so many solar panel Christmas light options that we can Go Green (& blue & red and glow our house from top to bottom) 

Writing your list and checking it twice

I cant remember a time that anyone ever gave me socks for Christmas, but to be honest I think this is one of the things I would appreciate the most. Receiving a gift that I actually need and can use. 

By changing the way we ask those we love, we change the trajectory of our own shopping patterns. Instead of thinking about what they may like, we can know that the gift we provide is of great use to the people we love.

This year, you can take the time to ask those on your list;

- Is there anything you need?

- Is there anything you would like to experience?

- Is there anything you want?

Gifting an experience over a physical present

Today there are so many great activities to partake in and depending on the city your in will depend on what you could purchase for your loved ones. 
An experience gift is something that will last forever through the memories made. 
You could consider gifting;

  • An art class 
  • Canoeing/ Kayaking 
  • Stand-up paddle board class 
  • Restaurant voucher
  • movie voucher 
  • rock climbing 
  • A hotel room voucher 
  • Snorkelling/ water activity 
  • Picnic invitation

There are so many ideas for activity gifts and the best part, is they require no wrapping at all! 

DIY wrapping

Now you know the statistics for all the wrapping paper, you may like to consider re-using, recycling or reducing the wrapping paper you use. 

Here are some tips on how you can DIY your wrapping paper. 

    • Have your children, Niece, Nephew or any children in your life paint and old news paper. Give them Christmas coloured paint and get creative. 
    • Use an old cane basket to create a hamper of gifts 
    • Furoshiki
      A japanese art of wrapping gifts in material.
      Wrap the gift in the material
      Provide instructions on ways they could re-use the material

Avoiding food wastage

Christmas breakfast, lunch and dinner or perhaps all three meals are probably the largest meals consumed by any Australian in the calendar year. 
But the festive season as a whole is all about good food, good company and the celebration of the year. 

In keeping with the theme of a zero waste Christmas, here are some ideas on how you may reduce your amount of waste. 

  • Know how many people are attending the meal or event and purchase just enough food 
  • If you are the kinda person (like me) who is incapable of making the perfect amount, ask your guests to BYO reusable container so they can take left overs
  • If you are buying perishables like seafood, fresh vegetables or meats, make sure you have an event or meal planned to use them all. 

Most importantly, enjoy the food and remember what you cook can be re-created if not consumed. 


Merry Zero Waste Christmas
Happy New Year