News | 15 December 2022

Small steps to avoid waste during the holidays

The festive season is here! It’s exciting being able to unwind with loved ones. However, the side-effect of our enjoyment is that Christmas is a disaster for our environment.

Christmas gift with rosemary in it.

In Wellington, waste increases by 40 percent over the holidays. While it may initially seem difficult to change how we celebrate Christmas to create less waste, it’s necessary. 

Here are some very doable things we can do to avoid waste this holiday period. 

Opt for re-using a Christmas outfit 

The festive season can mean lots of social events, so lots of excuses to dress up – and then there’s the outfit for Christmas Day. We can dress up and look our best while still making considered choices – start by deciding if you’ve already got clothes that can work, buy second-hand, or consider renting/borrowing. If you are set on buying new, opt for something that you’ll get lots of wear out of and will love for years to come.

The best Christmas outfit is one you’ll wear beyond the occasion!  

Handmade gifts.

Rethink Gifting 

Have a conversation with loved ones and consider buying fewer gifts instead of buying for each person. Try drawing names and then buy for just one or two people. Less consumption means less waste. This option is cheaper, less stressful, and you can focus on quality over quantity.  

By asking people what they truly want we can avoid buying things that are not actually going to get used and reduce waste. If you still want that element of surprise, ask the person you’re buying for to give you some options and the choice is yours. 

Simple changes like opting for consumables that aren’t individually wrapped (scorched almonds over roses) and toys without batteries – are a great place to start. 

Find ideas for greener gifting.

Woman holding cookware.

Consider second-hand 

Are you hosting this year? Do you have enough cutlery? Or a big enough serving bowl? If not, aim to borrow or buy second-hand over buying new or disposable items.  

Head to the Tip Shop and get cutlery and crockery for a steal. If you don’t need the items long term, simply donate them back again.  

If you’re off on holiday and need a tent or chilly bin - try the Tip Shop, Facebook marketplace, or borrow from a neighbour or friend.  

Avoid sales  

Don’t buy into Boxing Day Sales! It might be tempting to buy things when they’re cheap, but make sure you’re not impulse buying. If there are a few things you’ve wanted or needed for a while and have seriously thought about – make a list of these before Boxing Day and make a rule to not buy anything not on the list. We often feel pressure to make the most of a deal but there’s no need – sales will come and go but trash is for life!  

Dispose of stuff the right way 

If you’re replacing batteries in Christmas lights, don’t throw the old ones in the bin, bring them to one of or seven battery recycling collection points. If you’re opting for a real Christmas tree this year, dispose of for free at the Tip Shop/Recycle Centre from Boxing Day. This way it’ll go to Capital Compost and be made into compost products rather than ending up in landfill – and it’ll save you money.

Sustainable change doesn’t have involve spending lots of money and overhauling all our habits. Celebrating in a considered way is easier than you think!