How to fight a festive war on waste at Christmas

Date: 04-Dec-17
Author: Claire Bell

Xmas man in bin recycling cropped © Claire Bell

The 12 DOs of Christmas are twelve simple positive actions that everyone can use to help fight the festive war on waste. From green gifts, food and tech waste tips to sustainable summer holiday renovations and decluttering we’ve got it covered! Plus we reveal the most popular ways Australian’s reduce waste during the festive season.

Over the Christmas period we buy, eat and party more than at any other time of the year. In 2016 the Australian Retailers Association predicted Australians would spend a massive $48 billion over Christmas, which leads to a big increase in the amount of waste we produce.

Common Christmas gifts like computers, printers, iPads, mobile phones, clothing and fashion accessories lead to older items and packaging being discarded, and celebrations like Christmas dinner or parties generate more waste, both from packaging and food.

Planet Ark’s Recycling Programs Manager Ryan Collins is looking forward to seeing how Australians approach the festive season after the runaway success of the ABC documentary series War on Waste.

“2017 has been a landmark year for Australia’s waste and recycling discussion, and this Christmas is a great time to look at the best and worst parts of our habits. Over the festive period councils report a steep spike in the amount of waste they collect, but with 12 DOs every Australian can fight a festive war on waste.”

Planet Ark commissioned research by Pollinate looked at what the most popular ways Australians reduce waste at Christmas and found that over half of Australians (57%) save food for Boxing Day, 40% reuse their old wrapping paper, 39% write and stick to a shopping list and 37% find out what recipients want before buying gifts.

But much like the Boxing Day ritual of sorting the recycling, there are lots of ways Aussies can cut back on waste before, during and after the festive fun and the 12 DOs of Christmas  gives you some great tips.

Some of our top ‘DOs’ include:

  • Give thoughtful gifts – choose an experience or charity gift or take your recipient on a shopping date.
  • Buy secondhand or recycled - shoppers who want to celebrate the circular economy this Christmas are encouraged to visit Planet Ark’s new directory of products made from recycled materials.
  • Full tummy empty bins - prevent food waste by planning ahead with a list and sticking to it. Compost or worm farm your unavoidable food scraps.
  • Electrifying recycling – recycle old mobile phones, printer cartridges, computers and tablets that get replaced.
  • Recycle Right - ensure all that Christmas eggnog and custard packaging is recycled – Tetra Pak reports that they sell 30 times more of these products in December, and thankfully most Australians can recycle cartons in their kerbside bins.
  • ‘Tis the season to declutter – whether it’s home renovation waste or a summer clean out, more skip bins are ordered at this time of year. Look for a company like Bingo Industries that can recycle a high proportion of construction or demolition materials.

For more waste saving and recycling tips for the festive season visit 12DOs.planetark.org and RecyclingNearYou.com.au.

From all the Planet Ark team we hope everyone enjoys a thoughtful, fun and low waste festive season!

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Claire                                            Bell
Author: Claire Bell Claire has been working at Planet Ark since 2011, after working in the communications industry and raising a young family. She is passionate about her children and helping the environment. Claire is super-organised and excellent multitasker, which helps in her joint roles as Office Manager and Campaign Coordinator.

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