Reduce waste during festive season

The North East Waste Forum (NEWF) and Byron Council are encouraging everyone to make their Christmas a carbon cool one, by reducing waste and saving energy and water by avoiding unnecessary purchases, packaging and products.

“Christmas generates much waste and greenhouse gas emissions “ said Karen Rudkin, education project co-ordinator with the North East Waste Forum.

“The amount of waste that goes to landfill over the festive season is higher than any other time of the year and much of this increase in waste is packaging and food waste that in many cases, can be avoided, reused or recycled.

“Avoiding waste can be a lot of fun, as it often requires some creative thinking that will make your gifts or celebrations stand-out from the rest.”

Here are some tips from the NEWF and the council on how to ‘live the spirit of Christmas without it costing the Earth’.

In NSW alone, householders throw out more than 800,000 tonnes of food a year to landfill. In total Australian’s throw out over $5.3 billion worth of edible food every year. Food production and consumption accounts for 28 per cent of the average household’s greenhouse gas emissions, so follow the tips below to reduce your household’s carbon footprint and to stop wasting food.

Save cash by planning meals and shopping with a list to avoid over-buying

Buy locally sourced and seasonal food with minimal packaging

Use food leftovers by throwing them into salads, soups, stir fry etc

Set up a compost or worm farm to eat your food waste for you (they also make a great gift!)

Avoid disposable plates and cups or buy biodegradable ones which can be composted

For outdoor events pack a low waste picnic, which contains no throwaway packaging and where everything can be taken home and either re-used, composted or recycled

Opt for a ‘living’ Christmas tree – decorate one in your yard or choose a local native variety, watch it grow throughout the year and use it again next year

If you can’t go without decorative lights, choose energy-saving LEDs. If you are going to swaddle your house in lights and have been thinking about making the switch to green power, now might be the time

Cut down on paper and make your own cards, reuse saved wrapping paper or make your own decorations with items you already have

Send an electronic Christmas card or buy cards made from recycled paper

Don’t forget to recycle your Christmas cards through Cards 4Planet Ark. Look for a recycling envelope or place into a box at any participating Australia Post

Tie your presents with a bow instead of sticky tape, save the paper and reuse

Go to or the Byron Council website for information about recycling and how to properly dispose of electrical and other household items

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