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Tackling the silly season with environmental consciousness

Tackling the silly season with environmental consciousness

The days are warmer and longer and the countdown to Christmas has begun. The malls are wrapped in tinsel and we’re checking our schedules to see how many Christmas catch ups we can fit in between end-of-year functions, prize givings, work, and summer sport.

With all that the silly season brings it’s easy to opt for convenience. And we’re all for making life a little simpler. But wouldn’t it be great to maintain our eco ideals through the summer holiday period too?! Because us kiwis generate about 30% more rubbish over the silly season, we thought it would be useful to suggest a few easy ways to maintain your sustainable ethos as we head in to the end of the year…

Select Christmas gifts thoughtfully

  • Forget the trashy stocking stuffers - buy one good quality, durable gift
  • Think about who you're buying for - give something that's useful and practical
  • Give a living present - a tree or pot plant or herbs for the garden
  • Get crafty and make something. Or, if that's a stretch too far, buy something locally made
  • Think second-hand or upcycled. The key is matching it to the recipient - the right piece of memorabilia or heirloom or second-hand book will be treasured dearly
  • Give a donation on the recipients behalf - much better than purchasing a novelty throw-away gift
  • Gift an experience - a voucher won’t end up in landfill, you’ll make wonderful memories, and you’re supporting a local tourist operator too
  • Give gifts that promote further sustainability - a reusable coffee cup for dad, some cotton tote bags for your sister, a rat trap for grandad, and a composting starter kit for mum

Make your staff Christmas party or social catch up a green event

  • Stick with recycled, unbleached napkins (even though we know the ones with cartoon reindeer are cute!)
  • Provide bins to sort the waste: recyclable, compost, landfill
  • Use reusbale tablewear (mismatching china and cups can look cool!) or compostable alternatives if single-use is a must
  • Encourage ride sharing among guests
  • Skip the balloons and use nature as your inspo - decorate your dining table with pine cones and branches

Showcase nature in your gift packaging

  • If you’re mailing gifts use compostable courier bags. Even better, use reusable compostable courier bags
  • Save pretty gift wrap and ribbons to use again (if not as wrappers as least as kids holiday craft supplies)
  • Use recycled kraft paper (look for the FSC mark) gift wrap and decorate with a twigs leaves or even a flower from your garden
  • If you buy gift wrap make sure it’s simple and recyclable; not lined with plastic, or foil, or too thin to contain good quality fibres, or decorated with glitter.
  • Re-use old fabric to wrap

Get summer smart

  • Get a few indoor plants – they’ll boost your mood and help combat indoor air pollution
  • Use your washing line instead of the dryer
  • Don’t waste water (especially vital for us Aucklanders!) - drink what you need, reuse washing water for plants, turn off the tap while washing your teeth, catch rain water
  • Open your windows and let the breeze in instead of turning the air con on
  • Buy a cheap “No junk mail” sign for your letterbox to deter excess advertising material
  • Ditch the plastic wrap and get used to stacking your leftovers in reusable containers or using our new compostable cling wrap
  • If you haven't already got one, start a home compost heap (read how here)
  • Fire up the BBQ and get used to entertaining at home rather than going out for meals
  • Have a clear out and donate any old summer clothes or gear to The Salvation Army or Hospice
  • Plant a native tree - if you don’t have room in your own garden contribute to Trees That Count
  • Become a little more self-sustaining by growing your own fruit and veggies (even if you just start with a herb planter)

If you have any other ideas, or ways that you’re planning to tread more lightly this silly season, please tag us so we can share your good ideas!

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