Christmas is our favourite time of year, but it is the peak of our waste production here in Australia. Every meal, every piece of wrapping paper and every broken gift has the potential to end up in landfill. At Resource Recovery Australia (and Reviva) we work every day to divert waste from landfill for reuse and recycling.
Here are our top tips to make your Christmas and holiday period a little bit “greener” and do your part for our local environment:
1. Choose your gift wrap carefully and recycle responsibly
Did you know glitter and sticky tape can’t be recycled as they are types of plastic? Remove sticky tape from wrapping paper before recycling it in your kerbside bin. Remember it’s always best to reuse instead of recycling (yes, that means reusing that bag from three years ago is great for the environment). Where you can, choose recycled wrapping options and steer clear of glitter. Cellophane is a soft plastic that can be recycled at your local supermarket through the REDcycle program.
2. Recycle polystyrene packaging
Polystyrene, EPS or poly can be terrible for our environment, particularly if it isn’t disposed of properly and ends up in our waterways. The great news is that it can be recycled into new products, you can recycle your polystyrene packaging at Resource Recovery Australia sites at Rockhampton, Toowoomba, MidCoast and Dunmore.
3. Recycle all your cardboard
You can take any extra cardboard and packaging to your local Community Recycling Centre for free recycling.
4. Freeze or store leftovers properly straight away
We’ve all been there on Christmas day, there’s too much food and you tell yourself you will eat it tomorrow but when tomorrow comes the food isn’t eaten. Storing food well and freezing it means there is less food waste and allows you to enjoy it for longer.
Food waste is the biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in landfill. You can make a real difference by composting or using a worm farm to dispose of food scraps.
5. Compost your real Christmas tree
If you’re using your kerbside bin, cut the tree into small pieces before placing it in the bin. Green waste can be dropped at your local waste management centre (fees apply in some areas). Plastic Christmas trees are reusable but they aren’t recyclable. Plastic Christmas trees in good condition can be donated to your local reuse shop or charity shop, otherwise, sadly they are destined for landfill, so please choose carefully.
6. Recycle your e-waste
Broken electrical waste including fairy lights, computers, monitors, TVs can be recycled at for free* at Community Recycling Centres including Resource Recovery Australia operated facilities at Rockhampton, Toowoomba, MidCoast, the Mobile Community Recycling Service (Cumberland City Council and City of Parramatta Council residents only) and Dunmore.
*this service is free for residential users only
7. Recycle your batteries
Used batteries can deteriorate in landfill, leaking acid and causing environmental damage. Recycling batteries is simple, you can recycle batteries free of charge at your local Community Recycling Centre or at many supermarkets.
8. Recycle your cans and bottles with your local Container Deposit Scheme
Using your local container deposit scheme to recycle your containers is a great way to do your part to beat litter and reduce waste to landfill. You can also support local jobs by using Return and Earn Automated Depot’s including the one at Tuncurry Waste Management Centre. In NSW many Return and Earn facilities allow you to donate your refund to local charities and community groups to support grass roots causes.
You can donate unwanted gifts to your local reuse shop or charity shop. We’ve all been there, a thoughtful gift that doesn’t suit your home, style or that you’re allergic to, these items can be donated to local reuse or charity shops to help support our local community.
10. Celebrate a little differently
Instead of a traditional gift you could donate to a charity, create a reuse project together or give an experience gift. An experience gift may include the gift of time, a cooking session with Nan, bowling with your siblings or a waterpark adventure.
11. Style second hand
A great way to support both the community and the environment is to “style second-hand”. Search your local reuse shop, charity or second-hand shop to find unique, beautiful and antique items to style your holiday parties and events. The unique treasures can take your next party from drab to fab and it won’t cost the earth because no new items were manufactured