By Freyja Tasci, founder of Apiwraps
Think Christmas means throwing your sustainable living ambitions out the window? Think again. While it’s hard to completely avoid waste during the silly season, it’s definitely possible to reduce your impact (while still creating those magic memories).
Here are my 6 top tips for making your Christmas more sustainable.
1. Vouchers for the win
While we all love the excitement of unwrapping gifts, that anticipation is so often rewarded by disappointment. Well-intentioned presents unfortunately often end up in landfill or donated to charity shops – an unsustainable cycle of buying, which only contributes to waste and poor labour practices in other countries.
So this year, consider gift vouchers instead. You’ll save on wrapping paper waste, and give the gift of amazing experiences instead. Vouchers for the cinema, theatre, zoos or theme parks are always a hit. Or save money and create your own vouchers for babysitting, gardening or cooking a favourite meal.
2. Sustainable gifting
Still want to gift a physical item rather than a voucher? There are so many sustainable gift options out there now. Apiwraps beeswax wraps are of course an ideal gift for any friend or family member who wants to reduce their single-use plastics, and high-quality drink bottles, keep-cups and storage containers are also great options.
Gifting edible items like handmade chocolates, beautiful tea, organic wine or fresh fruit also means less wastage, and delicious treats that can be enjoyed well into the new year (ok, perhaps not the chocolate).
3. Waste-free wrapping
Think outside the (gift) box when choosing how to wrap your gift – consider more sustainable options like fabric, old newspapers, packaging from other purchases or reuse gift bags from Christmases past.
Another unique idea is to use up some of the kids’ artwork from throughout the year – especially meaningful for gifting family and friends.
4. Food preparation
What comes over us at Christmas time and makes us all a little ‘extra’ with the food? Yes, it’s a time to share delicious meals with the people we love, but that doesn’t mean we have to fall for over-buying. Planning is the key.
Sure, you COULD buy the extra carton of cream, just in case, but you might toss it out in a week because it got pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. The more you can plan for what you will realistically eat, both for special meals AND ordinary meals around the big day, the more you can shop for only what you need – saving you time, money and, more importantly, food waste.
5. Love your leftovers
Now it wouldn’t be Christmas without any leftovers. Learn to love them, by getting creative with how you use up leftover roasted vegetables and cold meats – wrap them in pastry and make a picnic pie, or add them to fried rice, soups or even pasta sauces.
Get smart on storage – don’t reach for the plastic wrap. Beeswax wraps make storing leftovers a cinch, just wrap them around your bowl or plate, or wrap up cut fruit and vegetables to keep them fresher for longer.
6. Create new traditions
Get creative about new traditions for Christmas that won’t cost the planet. Perhaps you could ditch the roast with all the trimmings (and potential for food waste), and have a BYO platter picnic instead?
Or could you embrace the Secret Santa idea where everyone buys one gift for one person, rather than buying gifts for everyone you know?
Be open about coming up with new ideas and letting people know about your sustainability focus. For example, asking for contributions to a day out for the kids, rather than overloading them with plastic toys that are destined for the bin. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the consumerism in the shops, avoid them as much as possible in December. Make your own gifts or shop online instead of being distracted by shiny things at the shopping centre.
Whatever you choose to do, I hope this Christmas is a memorable one for you (for all the right reasons).
About the author:
Freyja Tasci is the founder of Apiwraps, Australia’s original beeswax wrap company. Freyja is on a mission to help Australian families reduce food waste and single-use plastics. Over the last ten years Apiwraps has helped more than 400,000 homes get rid of cling wrap, saving more than 10 million metres of single-use plastic wrap. The reusable Beeswax Kitchen Wraps create a waterproof barrier that breathes, allowing food to stay fresh and crisp without sweating and spoiling. Apiwraps can be washed and used again for over a year. Check out the website here: https://www.apiwraps.com.au