The holidays are a time for giving, kindness and joy. It is also a time for consuming more of everything, from food to gifts given at Christmas. We all spend so much money this time of year, and throw away—and waste—so much as well.
So how do we turn the season of consuming back into the season of giving, and maybe even the season of recycling? Read on to find out.
How much food do you really need?
It is very easy to over order or overcook when planning for the holidays. Businesses do this at their holiday parties and we do it in our own home, cooking for our families. In fact, food waste is a problem all year. Australians throw away around $1,000 worth of groceries a year!
There is a reason for it, at least during the holidays: how embarrassing would it be to run out of turkey at your traditional turkey Christmas dinner? When thinking about your menu, you don’t have to actually buy less: just put less out. Leftovers from the turkey will more than likely get eaten, but what about those wasted hors d'oeuvres? The three pies when you could’ve gotten by with one or two?
Is your friend/family member/co-worker really going to use the gift you are getting them?
Some people are just hard to buy for. Instead of buying a gift that they may get rid of come February, ask for a list. If that’s not option, gift cards are great, as well as donations to a charity made in the person’s name. With this option, not only are you giving something to your friend, but you are also giving something important to people in need.
Did you buy recyclable wrapping paper?
I don’t usually choose my wrapping paper by what it’s made of; rather, I choose my favourite designs. That’s going to change now though.
We all go through so much wrapping paper at Christmas. And true, there’s nothing better than watching your child tear through the paper to his or her dream gift. But don’t throw the wrapping paper in the trash bin—recycle it. Sticky tape as well as wrapping paper can be recycled. Plastic and foil cannot.
If you really want to help the environment (or hate wrapping presents), skip wrapping paper all together. It will save time, money and will be a little easier on Mother Nature.
Did you get rid of those batteries and mobile phones correctly?
Batteries should not be in a landfill—the battery acid that can leak out of a battery over time can ruin the soil and contaminate waterways.
When given new technology, make sure to dispose of the old versions correctly. Officeworks, the Australian Post stores or Mobile Muster all take old mobile phones. Tablets, computers and televisions too can be recycled—just look up the nearest program online.