After a long year, many of us are looking forward to some respite at Christmas, sharing time with loved ones and enjoying the spirit of the season, with gift-giving, feasting and celebration.
The festive season is a time of increased consumption - which also means increased waste. Australians use more than 150,000km of gift wrap at Christmas, and nine out of 10 of us waste 25 per cent of food purchased especially for this time of the year.
At the same time, there appears to be a wider appetite this year, for ways to reduce excess and minimise waste. To avoid waste pre-Christmas, consider the following options:
- Donate to a charitable cause in someone's name.
- Organise a Secret Santa to reduce the need for buying.
- Make your own gifts and decorations.
- Give experiences.
- Wrap gifts with a reusable alternative, such as a tea towel.
- Buy recycled and locally produced.
- Buy pre-loved items.
Illegal dumping and overflowing bins are more common around Christmas, with enormous clean-up costs. Once the gift-giving is done and dusted, there are a number of ways to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, such as:
- Plan your festive feasting and make shopping lists.
- Preserve and re-use your decorations - or make your own.
- Avoid buying single-use items.
- Store your food leftovers properly in the fridge.
- Compost food and other waste - including cellophane wrap.
- Recycle paper wrap in your yellow recycling bin.
- Take soft plastics to your local Coles or Woolworths supermarkets for recycling.
Tinsel and decorations are reusable but not recyclable and should go to landfill at the end of their lives. Fairy lights and batteries can be disposed of as e-waste - check with your council for details. Soft plastics can be taken to a RedCycle recycling facility, currently located in Coles and Woolworths supermarkets. Paper wrap can be recycled; cellophane can be biodegraded; foil must go into landfill.
Western Sydney councils offer a range of services for waste disposal, such as collection of real Christmas trees for mulching, electronic waste disposal events and extra recycling collections. Check with your council to find out what's available.
Everyone can play a part in minimising excess waste by avoiding over-consumption and ensuring that items are reclaimed, recycled or disposed of responsibly. Wishing you and your families a safe and happy western Sydney festive season.