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‘Tis the season to be eco-conscious (fa la la la la)

14 December 2022 at 3:31 pm
Danielle Kutchel
Christmas doesn’t have to be the most wasteful time of the year. Follow our ideas for a more eco-friendly festive season.

Danielle Kutchel | 14 December 2022 at 3:31 pm


‘Tis the season to be eco-conscious (fa la la la la)
14 December 2022 at 3:31 pm

Christmas doesn’t have to be the most wasteful time of the year. Follow our ideas for a more eco-friendly festive season.

Christmas is upon us again, its arrival heralded by jingle bells, jolly laughter and too many emails from shops desperate to get you through their doors.

But it’s also marked by waste: uneaten food, unwanted gifts, and of course, packaging rubbish.

Research suggests our waste increases by around 30 per cent during the festive season.

If that statistic alarms you, there are things you can do to reduce your Christmas waste, especially around the packages, boxes and bags.

Wrapping paper

If you really want to wrap your gifts in wrapping paper, be aware that many types of wrapping paper can’t be recycled due to the glitter or foil used on them.

Paper versions can be recycled however, and the packaging should tell you how you can dispose of the product once the celebrations are done. Check with your local council too as to whether this paper can be recycled through your household bin.

If you’d like to store-bought and potentially non-recyclable wrapping paper, look for plain paper versions or make your own wrapping paper out of newspaper or old magazines for a unique touch that’s sure to make an impression.

Remember those potato stamps we used to make in kindergarten? Break out those bad boys again and decorate brown paper with your own colourful designs.

If you receive wrapping paper on a gift, resist the urge to just rip it apart. Make like your nana and fold it up — if you can keep that paper in good condition, you can reuse it on someone else’s gift next time!

Looking to avoid paper altogether? Fabric wrapping is gaining popularity as an eco-friendly and pretty way to spruce up a gift. Give it a whirl this Christmas season.


Compostable mailing bags and satchels are far easier to find nowadays and make a great sustainable alternative to traditional parcel bags. You can find plenty of options online if you’re looking to buy some yourself.

If you’re purchasing a gift from an online store, ask how they pack their items. Many places have made the switch to compostable satchels, or are avoiding them altogether and just sending products in cardboard boxes.

Gifts that don’t require wrapping

Think outside the box this year (hehe) and give people gifts that don’t need to be wrapped. 

Food kits are a good example. Have you got a brownie recipe that everyone always asks for? Layer the dry ingredients in a clean mason jar, add a bow and voila! You’ve got a special gift for a loved one.

You can even fill the jars with cookies, homemade sauces or pickles, trail mix or homemade bath salts.

Not great in the kitchen? You can find recipes for mason jar gifts online, or even retailers that make them for you (we won’t tell anyone!)

Gift cards are another option for those who want to avoid wrapping, especially if the card can be emailed to the recipient. No wrapping, no problems.

Make the gift the wrap too

If you’re buying a scarf, t-shirt, tea towels or a bag, here’s a novel idea: make that the wrapping!

Use scarves, tea towels and t-shirts in the same way you would wrapping paper, and tie up with string for a final flourish and to keep it all together. You’ll impress everyone with your nifty, thrifty skills.

Danielle Kutchel  |  @ProBonoNews

Danielle is a journalist specialising in disability and CALD issues, and social justice reporting. Reach her on or on Twitter @D_Kutchel.

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