Top tips for a greener, low impact holiday season

Christmas Lunch

Christmas, a time of sharing and spending time with friends has always been associated with an abundance of food and drink and buying gifts for loved ones but in recent years it’s also become a time of excess and over indulgence. We encourage you to take some time to think of the impact your celebrations may be having on the environment. We’ve polled the team at NCTCE and here are some ideas of ways you can reduce your carbon footprint this holiday season.

Reduce food waste –
it’s a big temptation at Christmas time to over cater and then overeat! Despite that, there are always left-overs that often get thrown in the bin. If you plan your Christmas menu in advance, you can reduce the amount you purchase and make a big difference. Also consider getting fresh food with as little packaging as possible.

Recycle or hand made – consider making a gift for someone! Who doesn’t love some home cooked shortbread or rum balls? If making gifts aren’t your thing, then re-gifting an unwanted gift is a great option to reduce unnecessary waste. Recycle wrapping paper, or use newspaper to wrap your gifts and when they are all unwrapped make sure the paper goes into the recycle bin.

Solar-powered Christmas lights – It’s easier and more affordable than ever to light up your front yard for Christmas using solar-powered Christmas lights. This will not only be kinder to the environment, but also your electricity bill!

Buy local – More and more Christmas markets are popping up across Australia, giving us the opportunity to buy direct from the farmers, bakers or winemakers. Also artists and craftsmen are often at these markets selling their goods, so not only are you supporting local business, your food is traveling less to get to your plate meaning more money to our farmers and lower carbon emissions.

Send a digital card – e-cards are a great way to send your Christmas messages without having to buy cards and stamps. Another win-win suggestion (good for the planet & budget).

Walk or cycle – Consider walking or jumping on your bike to get to your local shops, or Christmas gathering. Perhaps you could plan some walks with the family to take in the local Christmas lights around the streets nearby. Not only will you feel better for it, there will be less cars on the road.

Get shady – Yes it’s hot at Christmas time! But instead of closing up and putting the air-conditioning on, consider heading outside and finding yourself some shade to relax in. If you don’t have a pool nearby, popping your feet in a paddling pool of cool water while enjoying the summer breeze can do wonders for your state of mind – and is much better for the environment.

Give green – Consider giving a plant for a gift. It is literally the gift that will keep on giving as it grows and perhaps fruits or flowers. Here’s a personal plug for those in Brisbane – check out a family business called 2Bplanted who have a great selection of quality plants available and perfect for gifting.
Or for those people who have everything, consider gifting a native tree on their behalf – it costs as little as $3.75.

Travel more sustainably – if you have to get away from it all this holiday season, then consider your choices. You can buy carbon offsets for flights, and look at eco-friendly ways for ground travel. There are plenty of sustainable tour operators ready to assist you as well. Consider ‘reef safe’ sunscreen if you are snorkeling, always carry a reusable water bottle and shopping bags with you, and buy local wherever you go.

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