Let’s be honest. It’s been another challenging year for many of us, and the temptation to splurge over the holidays can be strong. But the post-splurge guilt when seeing how much waste we’ve generated can also be intense, not to mention doing our planet no favours.
In Australia, we generate up to 50% more waste during the holidays. And the fact that approximately 7.3 million Australians will receive gifts they don’t like and will never use doesn’t help matters. At GECA, we know that there’s no need to choose between fun and sustainability.
We spoke to Planet Ark’s Head of Circular Economy Programs, Ryan Collins, who recommends using the 3Rs to have a more sustainable holiday break this summer:
1. Reduce – Reducing consumption is the best way to minimise your waste and impact on the environment.
• Refuse to buy present recipients don’t want! Ask what family and friends really want or choose an experience like ballooning, a puzzle room adventure, vouchers for dinner or a charity donation gift. MyGift allows you to send a donation e-card or e-voucher for a charitable donation as a gift for any occasion.
• Refuse the sales! After Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, do you really need to buy more stuff during the Boxing Day sales? Yes, they’re super tempting, everyone loves that hit of dopamine when getting a new thing, but do you need it? If you do need to make a purchase, consider pre-loved items from charity stores or online marketplaces like Gumtree. And if you must buy something new, look for products with a lifecycle ecolabel, such as GECA’s.
2. Reuse – Think reusable this Christmas, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to become a satisfying habit.
• Take those reusable bags with you if you’re doing your Christmas shopping at a shopping centre. And don’t forget your reusable water bottle instead to avoid purchasing a single-use bottle of water.
• Choose reusable wrapping like fabric and save gift bags or wrapping paper and ribbons for next year. Planet Ark has 5 great sustainable gift wrapping alternatives.
3. Recycle – Christmas is, unfortunately, a time for lots of packaging, whether food, drink or gifts. Look for the Australasian Recycling Label to tell which bin it goes in. There are recycling options for other items too.
• If you’ve been given the gift of a tech upgrade and your old computer, mobile, or tablet is kaput, then make sure you recycle it! Find recycling options at RecyclingNearYou.
• Summer is often the season to declutter or renovate. Again, there are recycling options for mattresses, old paint tins, TVs, electric appliances and construction and demolition materials at RecyclingNearYou.
Check out Planet Ark’s other Hot Tips for a Sustainable Summer.