Tinsel wrapped trees, barefoot beach days and enough leftovers to feed an army. It’s a scene we all know too well: the arrival of the silly season. And with the holiday cheer comes a big increase in waste.
In the week following Christmas, Kiwis send an extra 50,000 tonnes of waste to landfill. According to The Rubbish Trip, if this waste was packed into stacked shipping containers, they would reach 105 times higher than the sky tower!
But the good news is, the holiday season doesn’t have to be all about consumption. Check out these tips to reduce your waste this summer.
Tips for the Summer Holidays
Be prepared & research your destination
If you’re going away, take the extra time to research the waste systems in your holiday destination. Find out where and how you can recycle and dispose of your rubbish. If there are no facilities, prepare to bring your rubbish home with you.
Remember your reusables
For many, the summer holiday period means a change in routine. Don’t let your everyday zero-waste practices go out the window. Remember your reusable items! If you’re going on a road trip or picnic, pack a reusable cup and utensils.Stay hydrated and reduce waste by keeping your reusable drink bottle with you wherever you go.
Avoid buying expensive ‘mini’ versions of toiletries. Instead fill any small jars and containers with bathroom essentials to create your own travel sized products.
Avoid the pull of sales
The buzz of summer sales is hard not to get caught up in. If you do join the crowds at the shops, bring your own bag and remember to shop consciously by asking yourself, “Do I really need this?” Consider buying second-hand or borrowing instead of purchasing brand new.
Make the most of your food
Reduce food waste by planning ahead and only buying what you need to feed your Whānau. Try making your own road-trip snacks rather than buying packaged alternatives. And don’t forget to make the most of leftovers.
Tips for Christmas
Decorate with natural or up-cycled materials
Instead of buying plastic baubles and tinsel, try making your own decorations from natural materials. There are so many easy DIY options, from pine cone garlands to rosemary wreaths and cookie ornaments. The beach is another great place to forage for materials. Driftwood can be strung to make a miniature christmas tree, and shells can easily be hung as ornaments.
Repurposing things you already have around the home will also reduce waste. A little creativity and a toilet roll can make a unique santa or elf decoration. If you’re short on time, local second-hand shops often have plenty of pre-loved decorations and material for crafts.
Bake at home & reduce food waste
Baking christmas treats at home can be time consuming, but it’s also a great way to bring family together. Instead of buying a pavlova in plastic from the supermarket, have a go at making your own.
Food waste is also a huge problem in the holiday season. Get crafty with your food waste by boiling vegetable peels and offcuts to make vegetable stock, or crushing stale bread for the perfect stuffing. For more tips to having zero food waste christmas, check out Love Food Hate Waste’s guide.
Ditch the disposable
Consider swapping disposable plates and cutlery for your everyday crockery and china. It may mean more dishes, but it’s cheaper and reduces waste.
Christmas crackers are a Kiwi staple, but often the cheap plastic gifts inside are quickly forgotten. Try making your own with toilet paper rolls or reduce waste altogether and think up your own jokes to tell around the table. If you miss the paper crowns, create your own with christmas morning’s used gift wrap.
Change the way you wrap
Reuse wrapping paper and ribbons to package christmas gifts. If you don’t have any saved, newspaper or magazine pages make fun gift wrap. Add waste-free decoration with small pinecones, cinnamon sticks and greenery such as rosemary.
To take your waste-free gifts to the next level try Furoshiki, the Japanese method of wrapping items in fabric. This could be a tea towel, a scrap of fabric or a bandana, as long as it’s light and strong. This will be sure to impress the receiver of your gift, and they can then reuse it when wrapping their own presents.
Give a zero-waste gift
It’s not just how you wrap the gift, it’s also what’s inside. Why not gift a loved on an experience that will create lasting memories, or a donation to their favourite charity? When giving physical items, make sure they are made from high quality materials and will stand the test of time. Check out our zero-waste gift guide for more inspiration.
Reducing your holiday waste is better for the environment and your wallet. Less waste means more time with loved ones,so get your family and friends on board to help spread the cheer in zero-waste style.