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Go green this Christmas on Sydney’s North Shore

04-Dec-2019
Written by Matthew Bourn
It’s the most wonderful time of the year; well, for those of us who enjoy the festive season! And if you want to keep things a bit more guilt-free this Christmas, the great news is that there are plenty of ways to get right into the celebratory spirit while being eco-friendly and sustainable ‒ something the environment will certainly thank you for.

Go DIY with décor

Everyone has their favourite type of decorations to put up come 1 December, but whether you prefer the traditional or modern look, it doesn’t have to be about buying new. If you faithfully store your decorations each January and bring them out again in December, good on you. However, we understand the temptation to buy new decorations; they’re so pretty!

If you uncover your stash and find a few things broken or getting a bit tired, perhaps you can fix them, or refresh them into something else. You can always get your children or grandchildren to enjoy a bit of ‘art and crafts’ with loose bits and bobs, and that way you’ll end up with a sentimental piece to treasure forever. If you’re a bit more ambitious, think about chopping up those CDs you don’t need and create disco ball decorations.

You’ll find plenty of tutorials on Pinterest for how to make your own wreaths and sustainable/biodegradable Christmas decorations. DIY Christmas crackers are always a winner too. When you make your own, you can avoid all the plastic throw-away items that are simply no use to anyone the day after.

Power your lights with solar

Over the festive season we get plenty of sun here in Ku-ring-gai (unlike our friends in the northern hemisphere) so why not make the most of it by using it to power your Christmas lights. Almost all retailers sell solar-powered lights and you can even use them for indoors. Just pop the charger out the window during the day. As well as reducing energy consumption, it will save you some money.

Deciding on the tree: real or fake?

If you have a fake tree, keep it and use it for as long as possible (and when the time comes to say goodbye, see if any local charity shops or organisations would like it).

But if you aren’t sure what to invest in this year, it might surprise you that having a real tree is better for the environment. This is because as a tree grows, it is able to remove carbon from the atmosphere and is a renewable resource. Yes, old trees store more carbon but at least a real tree is biodegradable. There is, of course, the transport; most of us don’t have a tree farm nearby. To get the green tick of approval, why not buy one that is potted that you can keep for the following year? Or if you do have to get rid of it after Christmas day, just make sure it is disposed of properly. Chop it up and, if it’s small enough, put it in your green waste bin.

Give an experience

One of the best ways to minimise waste going to landfill this year is to be conscious of the gifts you buy.

For adults, instead of ‘things’, consider a voucher for an experience or a service. Most women appreciate a manicure, and anyone with a car would welcome a voucher for a car detail service or perhaps an oil change. Check Facebook groups or local papers to find local services for friends and family near and far. There are plenty of services and experiences: think ‒ a cleaning lady for a day, movie tickets, tickets to local theatre or concerts, pressure cleaning.

If you love the shopping aspect of Christmas and feel you must give physical presents, try to find items that are locally made (supporting small businesses) and are sustainable (made to last/recyclable). If you use wrapping, wrap them in paper that can be used again or recycled.

Minimise single-use plastic

If you don’t want to wash and dry dishes on the big day (and let’s face it, who does) an easy clean-up on the big day is still possible as there are many eco-friendly tableware choices available, from bamboo plates to wooden cutlery. The idea is to minimise any type of single-use plastic that will only end up in your rubbish bin and never have a chance to be recycled.

On the day: be a tidy Aussie

Be prepared to recycle everything you can (and make sure your guests do too) by having designated bins labelled and ready to go. It’ll keep things organised and tidy, and means it is less likely that everything will just end up in landfill.

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