Be kind to the environment this Christmas


Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, November 24, 2023

The holiday season is a time for joy, togetherness, and reflection. However, it is also associated with increased waste and environmental impact. This Christmas, consider adopting eco-friendly practices to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.

On average, New Zealanders create 30% more rubbish at Christmas. All of it goes to landfill.

with the festive season approaching, it is the perfect time to learn how to minimise waste during the Christmas holiday. And it is not just the planet that benefits from this. you can save time, and money and simplify Christmas, by rethinking your buying habits.

Learn essential skills

In 2022, Hamiltonians threw away more than 130,000kg of rubbish in December and Hamilton City Council is offering a free online course to help Hamiltonians celebrate Christmas without waste.

The self-led online training course kicks off on Monday, November 27, 2023. Participants will learn easy, affordable, and effective ways they can reduce their waste to landfill during the festive season.

The self-led course, delivered by Nicola Turner of Mainstream Green, will cover everything from waste-free gift giving, sustainable wrapping, decorations and reducing food waste. You’ll get access to a collection of videos, content, and resources you can work through at your own pace, in your place.

The Council’s Sustainable Resource Recovery Unit Director Tania Hermann said, “Christmas without Waste course aims to offer simple solutions for everyday people to reduce waste in the landfill. We are proud to work with Nicola Turner and offer this course for free to Hamilton residents.”

Hermann said simple shifts in our habits can make celebrating much lighter on the planet. “Making a conscious effort to think twice about buying single-use items reduces the extra waste created over the festive season, especially if we work together,” said Ms Hermann.

Make an impact

In this article, Indian Newslink explores simple yet impactful ways to have an environmentally friendly Christmas without compromising on the festive spirit.

In conversation with a busy mother of three children under ten years of age, Catherine Stephens said, “I have all the artworks from the children saved over the years right from when they started day-care and I feel the perfect way to use them is to wrap gifts for friends and family using these colourful expressions of the little ones. It is a great way to re-use the paper, and everyone loves the thought behind something as simple as a gift wrap. That is true holiday spirit for us as a family- to express love intimately while being good to the planet and I would love for my children to be thoughtful of their actions towards the planet as they grow older.”

Sustainable Decorations: Start by decking the halls with sustainable decorations. Choose ornaments made from recycled materials or opt for timeless, reusable decorations that can be cherished for years. DIY projects using natural materials like pinecones, dried citrus slices, or recycled paper add a personal touch while minimizing environmental impact.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping: Wrap your presents in an eco-friendly manner by using recycled or reusable gift wrap. Consider alternatives like fabric, newspaper, or brown paper tied with twine. Encourage recipients to reuse the wrapping or recycle it responsibly. Get creative with handmade gift tags or use reusable fabric gift bags for a sustainable and stylish touch.

Mindful Gift Giving: Choose gifts that align with sustainable values. Opt for experiences, consumables, or items made from environmentally friendly materials. Support local artisans and businesses, reducing the carbon footprint associated with shipping. Consider giving the gift of time through homemade vouchers for services or experiences, fostering meaningful connections.

Energy-Efficient Lighting: Illuminate your festive space with energy-efficient LED lights. These lights consume less electricity, last longer, and reduce the overall environmental impact compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Additionally, use timers or smart plugs to manage the lighting schedule efficiently, minimising unnecessary energy consumption.

Sustainable Feasting: Plan a sustainable feast by incorporating locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Choose organic options when possible, and reduce food waste by planning meals thoughtfully. Consider plant-based alternatives for a lighter environmental footprint. Compost food scraps and encourage guests to bring reusable containers for leftovers.

Charitable Giving: Spread the holiday spirit by giving back to the community or supporting environmental charities. Donate in someone’s name as a meaningful and impactful gift. Volunteering your time or organising a charity drive can also make a positive difference during the festive season.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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