12 Wastes of Christmas

How to reduce waste at Christmas - a time when food and gifts challenge our low waste efforts. We thank Zero Waste SA for their permission to re-use their original flyer.

1. Food glorious food

Don’t waste food scraps – place in a compost bin or worm farm. Your scraps will be back feeding your garden and reducing water use in no time.


2. Less is more

Give a treat which has less environmental impact, such as a gift certificate for a massage or tickets to an event. If you do buy an item, try to make sure it has been made from a recycled resource. There are many great items made from recycled car tyres, wood offcuts, glass etc.

3. Bottles and canned cheer

Most food and drink packaging including bottles, jars, cans and tins, cardboard boxes and cartons can be recycled.

4. Recycling is not numbered

Does the triangular symbol with a number from 1 to 7 in it mean the item is recyclable? No! This is a plastics identification code used by manufacturers to label the type of plastic.

Rigid plastic bottles and containers that hold their own shape, including soft drink and milk bottles as well as take-away containers can be recycled in your recycling bin.

Soft plastics create problems at kerbside recycling facilities so never place recyclables in plastic bags. Simply put all recyclables into the recycling bin loose. Soft plastics and bags can be recycled at many metropolitan supermarkets or place them in the waste bin.

5. Keep it clean

Give bottles, jars and tins a quick rinse before placing in your recycling bin to ensure these are free from food contamination that may consign them to landfill. The water you use to rinse will be more than made up for in the water saved recycling versus making a new item from raw materials.

6. Lids off

Place metal lids inside a steel can, squeeze the top closed so they don't fall out. Plastic lids can go inside a plastic milk bottle and then placed in your recycling bin.

7. Let's make it clearer

Not all glass can go in your recycling bin. Light globes and tubes are household hazardous waste (HHW) and can be dropped off at one of the special sites. Alternatively you can save these for a special HHW collection if your council has these in your area.

8. Powered up

Buy rechargeable batteries and a battery recharger. They are not only a wise environmental choice but save you money too.

Other used batteries can often be recycled, but not in your recycling bin. Check out the household batteries dry cell recycling drop off locations here.

9. E-Christmas

Got a new TV or electronic item? This e-waste can be recycled and many programs target mobile phones, TVs and computers. Never place these items in any of your waste bins at home. Check out the Authority's e-waste FAQ page for drop locations and many electronics stores also offer mobile phone recycling bins.

10. Disposable cups and cutlery

Often made of polyethylene and not recyclable, choose an alternative that comes from a natural material such as wood or paper. Better yet, design your event to avoid them altogether or take along your normal items from home and wash them when you get back.

11. Christmas Tree O' Christmas Tree

If purchasing an artificial tree, make sure it's good quality and will last you many Christmases. At the end of its life place in the waste bin. Do not put artificial trees in recycling bins. Better yet, get a living Christmas tree and cut into small pieces for your own composting system, or if you council has a third organics bin, place it there.

12. That's a wrap

Reuse pre-loved wrap, newspaper and bags and tie with a reusable ribbon Instead of tape. Paper wrapping, cards and cardboard boxes can be placed in your recycling bin or reused another time.

Waste Free Christmas