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Waste-less Christmas

As much as I love Christmas, there is so much excess consumption and waste that ends up as a by-product. This doesn't actually need to be the case, with some slight changes and tweaks to the way that you do things leading up to Christmas and on the actual Holidays themselves, you can save a lot of that rubbish ending up in the bin and bursting at the seams until rubbish day. 

For me it's been a gradual transition away from using wrapping paper and using our kids Christmas stockings or Santa sacks, and reusable wrapping such as tea towels and cotton shopping bags for the gifts we give each year. Also, careful consideration of the food choices we make for our Christmas meals with family and friends, to prevent excess food and ultimate food waste. 

Whilst we're getting very close to the date now so a lot of the planning that I would usually suggest maybe a little too late there are still some things that can be done in this lead up to Christmas Day that will help you to prevent some of the excess and waste. 

If you haven't already, menu planned out your Christmas meals. I would start with this, as it is a very easy way to prevent excess food that will ultimately be wasted. Plan out each dish and side for each part of the meal and figure out how much you will need for each person. I would strongly encourage you to cater just for those that you know will be attending- for example if you are going to have 12 people, then cater for those 12. I have often found that you will still have more food than you need as you have many courses for your Christmas meals. The leftover food can easily be sent home with your guests in a container for them to eat the following day, or even frozen for you enjoy at another time.

If you are still to wrap your Christmas gifts, I would recommend looking for reusable options as a first preference for wrapping- such as cotton bags, tea towels or fabric wrap to be used Furoshiki^ style.

Second to this consider up-cycling or reusing things you already have on hand to wrap your gifts - newspaper, kids’ artwork, paper shopping bags and other wrapping paper and tissue paper items you may have on hand can be really whimsical when decorated with some jute twine or natural ribbon and natural decorations such as dried orange, sprigs of herbs, sprigs of native plants and Flowers and even handmade salt dough ornaments.  

If this is really not your thing and you would still prefer to use wrapping paper, make sure you look for one that does not have glitter or foiling as these will be plastic laminated and not able to be recycled. Also consider giving the curling ribbon and plastic bows a miss as they are difficult to be recycled.

My last tip is on Christmas Day enjoy the day with your family and friends, but also remember to be grateful for everything you have and to treat the earth with a little kindness and take the time to separate your waste and dispose of it in the best way possible. if you are not sure where or how to dispose of particular things check out the online resources like whichbin.sa.gov.au to get some help, rather than wish-cycling*. 

^Cloth wrapping has been used for over 1200 years in Japan and the word furoshiki came about during the Edo period (1603-1868) when the cloths were

commonly used in bath houses to wrap clothes and as a bath mat. The word furoshiki means 'bath spread'.

Over time, they developed a multitude of uses and patterns that are both elegant and functional. One furoshiki cloth can be used for:

  • wrapping a gift
  • a bag for shopping
  • decorating a handbag
  • a picnic hamper
  • a tablecloth
  • household decor
  • a scarf, belt or bandana
  • wrapping clothes when travelling

*Also known as aspirational recycling, wishcycling happens when you put something into the recycling bin without checking whether it's actually recyclable. ... You don't want to add more waste to the planet, so you toss your item in the recycling bin, hoping it'll get recycled.

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