Globally, this time of year is documented to be one of the most harmful periods for our planet, with the excess waste from our celebrations, gift giving, and travel increasing by 30%. Thirty percent. That’s no small number. In fact, this additional waste adds around 3 million tonnes of rubbish to landfill. Every. Single. Year.
So it’s safe to say we should all look to lighten our waste load and be more intentional with what we do and buy this time of year. But how can we celebrate Christmas in an eco-friendly way?
Turns out, it’s actually pretty easy! There are COUNTLESS tips out there, and we’ve collated our top ten to help get you started on easily making your holidays more eco-friendly. (Trust us, the planet will thank you for doing any number of these things.)
- Reuse, Reuse, Reuse!
Old decorations, holiday outfits, literally anything you can think of. If it still works, use it! It’s easy to get caught up in thinking you need the latest things, but you’ll probably find that the rush of excitement you get from buying something new burns out pretty fast. And, shockingly, you’ll come to find you didn’t actually need that thing in the first place. This is how things end up in landfill unnecessarily, taking their sweet sweet time to break down and slowly adding to greenhouse gas emissions. If you need to buy something as a replacement for an item that can no longer serve its purpose, try to source local or ethically made products. That way, you know you aren’t supporting the mistreatment of the planet or workers.
- Buy Less.
Similar to the above point, don't get dragged into having a mindset of consumerism that the holiday season may spark. Remember you don’t need to buy people things to show you care for them. Make homemade gifts such as baking them their favourite treat, or spend time with them. If you have a big family, another idea is to play secret Santa. That way the planet (and your wallet) won’t be hit as hard with excessive gift giving.
You can also try making ornaments yourself with your friends and family. This could start a sweet tradition for the years to come, and gives you all new additions to your decorations each year.
- Support a Charity.
Gifts that support charities are also really impactful presents, and can be for charities within Australia or anywhere globally. You can find a list of Australian charities here. We've shared previously how we've supported SHARE THE DIGNITY and how purchasing our KINDNESS SOCKS makes a difference (learn more on this blog post).
This time of year is also great to go through everything you own to find things to donate to make sure others get gifts for the holidays, no matter their circumstances. And there are always volunteers needed in any number of organisations. Perhaps make a plan to give your time to others with the rest of your family, and see the joy the experience can bring you.
- Avoid Single-Use Plastic.
This might be the simplest way to have an eco-friendly holiday season. You can avoid buying single-use plastics by swapping them out for alternatives, such as using reusable bags when you shop and opting to use products made from biodegradable or recyclable materials. This way, there is a lot less waste going to landfill. We often receive amazing feedback on our reusable packaging, and we love the novel and unique ways you reuse it! From hair ties to toiletries, as a bag to store your period knickers in between uses, and also storing them in school and dance bags - we love that when you recieve our period undies, the packaging doesn't need to be discarded!
- Buy Reusable, Planet Conscious Gifts.
We highly recommend any of our products, like our reusable period underwear, because they significantly decrease the amount of waste you traditionally create with single-use period products. You could also check out our period swimwear line for the summer, which has products for tweens, teens and mums!
Gifting experiences are also a great way to be eco-friendly this holiday season, allowing you to have memories and fun (whilst supporting your local economy) and not add excess waste. Some great ideas include giving a voucher to take a local pottery class, going on a kayak tour, or giving tickets to the cinema. You could also buy gifts second hand, such as through your local community groups or at the op shop. This gives products a second life and stops them from being thrown out, or bought new, unnecessarily.
- Get a Real Christmas Tree.
There are actually numerous environmental benefits to buying a real tree, and buying locally will also help support your local economy. Real Christmas trees are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which goes back into the environment when they decompose. However, fake trees are made out of plastics, which take a long time to decompose and shed plastic each time you reuse it.
- Reduce Your Use of Holiday Lighting, or Use Solar Powered Lights.
One of the best parts of this time of year is being able to walk around and see the magical Christmas lights, but what isn’t so magical about them is the increase in light pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. As such, not having any lights entirely is the best way to go, but some more sustainable alternatives include buying second-hand lights, using solar powered or LED lights, or just decorating less of your house with the lights you already have/ reducing the amount of time they’re turned on.
- Limit your Meat Intake and Buy Local.
Plant-based diets are overall better for the environment, so this holiday season consider opting for more meatless dishes and having only one big main meat dish, or have designated meat-free days leading up to the bigger celebrations. This will dramatically decrease your meat intake and reduce the impact of your celebrations on the environment.
Buying local food, meat or otherwise, is also highly beneficial in reducing the environmental impact of your holiday meals. Plus, buying from your local farmers market or butcher will greatly impact their holiday season, with the money you spend going directly to the people who made your fresh products. If you can’t source everything locally, you can also try to get all organic and free-range products instead, making everything you consume coming from ethical sources that benefit us all.
- Don’t Buy Cards.
Cards are one of the biggest pollutants around the holidays because they are made with different forms of materials that make them impossible to biodegrade or recycle. And, often they're thrown out. To substitute store-bought cards for a more eco-friendly alternative, make your own cards by hand, or try making and sending digital cards. You could make one with websites such as Canva, or download Christmas apps to make funny videos! We made one for you in Canva that's yours FREE to use, and you can edit it as much as you like! Click here.
- Buy Sustainable Christmas Crackers (or Make Your Own!)
You may think this will be hard, but it’s not! Making your own Christmas crackers reduces the waste of the unnecessary space-fillers in store-bought crackers, and allows you to personalise the cracker for each of your loved ones. You could add in their favourite treats, a joke you know they’ll love, and anything else you want. Learn how to make the cracker itself with less than five things here.
Good luck with your sustainable endeavours, and let us know any eco-friendly tips you have for this holiday period!
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