The festive season is a wonderful time of celebrating, feasting and giving. But the season is also the most wasteful time of the year. Tauranga’s transfer stations receive an extra 10% of waste from households in December and January each year. That’s approximately one and a half shipping containers full of extra waste every day.
In order to help reduce the amount of waste created over the Christmas period Rebecca Maiden, Manager of Sustainability and Waste at Tauranga City Council, encourages everyone to consider waste before buying gifts and supplies.
This means trying to reduce the amount of waste we produce in the first place, re-using items when we can, and recycling when we can’t. Disposal to landfill should be our last resort.
As consumers, we have real power to reduce waste. If we make sustainable choices, and think about where things will eventually end up before making purchases, this ‘most wonderful time of the year’ won’t end up being the most wasteful time too,” Ms Maiden said.
Tips to help reduce waste over the Christmas period:
Rather than buying 'things', consider buying experiences or making treats that won’t end up in landfill. For example, get Grandma a movie voucher, little Jonny a trampoline park session, or make Dad some homemade biscuits.
A charity gift is another great way to reduce unnecessary consumerism, and do some good at the same time. The giver will feel happy about helping someone in need, and the receiver will feel pretty happy too. There are a huge number of charitable organisations offering Christmas gifts/donation options to choose from, give it a google!
Kiwi food waste doubles the week after Christmas. The best way to reduce food waste is to plan ahead and try not to over-cater. Find recipes to use up leftovers and other food waste tips on the Love Food Hate Waste website.
If you still have food waste, compost what you can, as food waste in landfills creates toxic gases and liquids that are bad news for our environment.
Shiny wrapping foil and paper are not great options as they may contain glitter, plastics and other non-paper additives that can't be recycled. Choose recyclable wrapping paper or consider wrapping in nice fabrics and ribbons that can be re-used.
Instead of buying plastic tinsel, baubles and decorations, buy (or make) decorations from cardboard or other recyclable materials. Glittery decorations aren’t good for the environment so try to avoid them.
Rather than buying a plastic Christmas tree, get a real tree and either plant it or recycle it via the green waste area at the transfer station afterwards. Or, if choosing an artificial tree, invest in a good quality one that will last many years.
Re-gift or sell any unwanted gifts. Take them to your local charity store to help raise money for someone in need. Or sell them online or at a garage sale so they’re not wasted.
Take them with you while Christmas shopping and say no to plastic carrier bags and unnecessary store packaging.
At the supermarket take your own re-usable bags for fruit and vegetables. Select products with minimal and/or recyclable packaging whenever you can.
Information about Tauranga’s transfer stations, recycling, collection days.