Waste Minimising Gifts
It's that time of year when we are searching for the perfect gift for friends and family – which often means a whole lot more “stuff” and packaging in our homes that will sooner or later have to be thrown to the magical “away”! But it doesn’t have to be like this. Here are our top five tips for waste-free gifts (and supporting local businesses):
Give memories: A voucher for a day out at one of the amazing activities Central Otago has to offer can make great family memories that will last a lot longer than cracker toys! Choose a voucher for horse trekking, indoor curling, go-karting, waterpark, day spas, yoga or even op shopping – and anything in between. Multi-swim passes for our Central Otago pools make a great gift too! You are sure to find something for the young whanau, as well as those young at heart!
Give food: A yummy treat you have made yourself is a great way of showing you care. There is a huge variety of easy, seasonal recipes online to suit all tastes and dietary requirements. If you know a keen home cook why not put together a DIY Christmas Cookie recipe in a jar, or a basket of ingredients for a killer BBQ? If you are not sure, and running out of time, everyone loves a beautiful basket of Central Otago summer fruit (though if you have time to chocolate-dip some cherries or strawberries, that really says “I love you”!)
Give growing: A plant for the garden or the windowsill is a gift that keeps on giving! There are a lot of child-friendly, fun plant pots available, and a funky cactus or other easy-care plant would make a change from toys that are broken by Boxing Day. The keen gardener in your whanau might appreciate some packs of vege seeds for next year, or a stylish planter pot or garden ornament for the deck. You could even put the kids to work to make your own seed bombs with mixed flower seeds as a gift with a difference and good, messy holiday activity.
Give natural: Shiny, plasticky novelty ties and t-shirts might be fun for Christmas Day but generally get quickly cast aside, with a massive environmental cost. If you are going to gift clothes try to find natural fibres (cotton, wool or linen) that will last. Op-shopping can yield some great finds in these fabrics, but there are a range of great clothes shops throughout the district to suit all wardrobes. Even the more budget-friendly choices have some organic cotton t-shirt choices.
Give Christmas every week: We are lucky enough to have several community-run toy libraries throughout the district. Aimed at birth to 6-year-old children an annual membership means that little people can pick new toys every week, all year long! Great for getting those toys, like toddler walkers, that you only need for a few months, or large toys that might be very expensive.
Sustainable gift wrapping
A great way to reduce your waste this Christmas is to consider Furoshiki wrapping. Furoshiki are traditional Japanese cloths used to carry belongings and wrap gifts. Although they date back centuries, the art of using square-shaped decorative fabrics as a sustainable alternative to paper gift wrapping has gaining popularity globally in recent years. Join Abi, our Waste Minimisation Officers, in our series of videos showing how to wrap some common shaped gifts.
What can be recycled at Christmas?
Don’t drown in a sea of wrapping paper and toy packaging on Christmas Day, get it sorted into the correct bin.
Wrapping paper: If it can tear easily and is in pieces larger than an envelope it can go in the yellow mixed recycling bin. Flattened not screwed up. Don’t worry about removing tape (unless you went a bit crazy with it!) but gift tags and ribbons off please. If it doesn’t tear, it is plastic or foil coated wrapping paper and needs to go in the red bin. (It would be good to check this when you are buying!)
Wastebusters in Alexandra will also have a dedicated “Wrapping Paper” bin available at their recycling drop-off.
Toy and gift packaging: These cardboard boxes often have plastic windows that need to be removed before the cardboard is put in the yellow mixed recycling bin. This plastic and any clear molded plastic that held pieces on display will need to go in the red bin, (unless you can see a no. 1 recycling symbol on it). Any bubble wrap, polystyrene and wire or plastic tags that held the gifts to the boxes also need to be removed and placed in the red bin.
Glass: Once bottles have been emptied of their festive good cheer these should be placed in the blue glass recycling bin. If your household has been especially merry and had any breakages, please make sure these broken glasses and crockery are safely well wrapped up and placed in the red bin.