Waste - Zero waste Christmas

By: Trish Allen

Aucklanders throw away a third more rubbish than normal over Christmas and the summer holidays – most of that waste is recyclables like glass, cans and plastics. Meanwhile, our young people have been demanding climate action, now. Reducing your waste may seem like a small thing, but waste is a major contributor to climate change. So do your bit – here are some practical tips on ways you can reduce and recycle your waste this holiday season.

•    Give home made Christmas presents – bake something, sew something or grow something.
•    Give experiences rather than ‘things’ for gifts.
•    Reuse wrapping paper and ribbons, or wrap presents in reusable cloth.
•    Cut up old Christmas cards for tags for presents.
•    Grow or buy native Christmas trees with roots to plant in the garden later.
•    Buy secondhand.
•    Buy a wooden Christmas tree that can be used year after year.
•    Pass on unwanted Christmas gifts or clothing to a charity near you.
•    Be sure to recycle those extra glass bottles, cans and plastic bottles used during the festive season.
•    When on holiday, find your nearest recycling depot or take your recycling home with you.
•    Check with Sustainable Coastlines for a holiday beach clean-up near you, or organise your own.
•    Compost your food scraps or find a composting facility near you, e.g. sharewaste.org.nz.
•    Avoid single-use plastic. If you must use disposable serveware, use compostables like cardboard plates, bamboo or potato starch.
•    For that person in your life who has everything and is hard to buy a Christmas gift for, give a goat, a chicken, or a tree to a family in need, through a charity like Oxfam, on their behalf.
•    Give a donation on behalf of your loved one to a food bank or other charity.
•    Don’t waste food – only buy as much as can be consumed
•    Always carry your re-usable water bottle and coffee cup with you on holiday.

Remember: we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly. 

Trish Allen,
Mahurangi Wastebusters


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