Top 20 hot tips for a low-waste holiday season


  • Minimise waste by creating lists so that you only purchase what is needed. This includes planning the Christmas menu to avoid food waste.
  • Choose to purchase items with less packaging or no packaging. If buying online, try to bundle orders to minimise extra fuel and packaging to ship items. 
  • Avoid purchasing those one-off items like single-use plastic cutlery and plates, or Christmas crackers, which are often filled with wasteful plastic items (maybe make your own from recyclable materials).
  • Consider a Secret Santa gift arrangement – this is a great way to reduce waste by purchasing less and choosing tailored gifts which are more likely to be used and loved.
  • Rethink the ‘perfect’ gift – consider gifting experiences (which create memories), vouchers (which allow the recipient to choose something they will love), or low-waste consumables.


  • Shop your wardrobe instead of buying a new outfit for Christmas – you probably have more options than you thought.  Another low-waste option is to borrow an outfit from a friend or to do a clothes swap ahead of the festive season to freshen up your look.
  • Refresh your wrapping options with wrapping which is 100% recyclable paper, or opt for brown paper or newspaper for a chic effect. Tea towels and second-hand scarfs can also double up as both part of the gift and the wrapping. Or tie your gift with reusable string or ribbon rather than plastic tape for a winning low-waste combination.
  • Get creative with upcycling – use old cards or paper for creating greeting cards; reuse jam jars by refilling them with treats, or wrapping a ribbon around them for use as table decorations or gifts.
  • Borrow or hire equipment for parties – instead of buying equipment that is unlikely to be used much in the future, consider borrowing or renting the party gear you need.
  • Make and reuse Christmas decorations – try your hand at homemade crackers, wreaths using greenery or herbs, or table decorations using fresh fruit and flowers. You can also hang Christmas cards over string and use these as bunting-style decorations around your home.


  • Consider setting up recycling stations in different areas of your home, such as the kitchen and entertainment areas, and have them clearly labelled so that everyone can sort their waste correctly and avoid contaminating your kerbside bins. It’ll save you time cleaning up later, too! Remember that old batteries should be collected separately and taken to dedicated collection bins available at libraries and shopping centres.
  • Consider if some of your waste items can be upcycled – for example, empty jars can become beautiful table arrangements such as candleholders or funky vases.
  • Save any wrapping paper that is still good to be used at a later date – and remember to recycle cardboard and other paper items.
  • Use your leftovers – even with the best planning, it is likely that there will be some food leftover. Search the web for inventive and tasty ways to use your leftovers, or if safe, freeze them for a later date.
  • Count your chickens – chickens are great recyclers of leftover food. If you don’t have them, there is a chance that someone in your neighbourhood has hungry chickens and would be grateful for your scraps.  Or feed your worm farm or add to your compost.  If you are lucky enough to have a lime green lidded Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) bin provided by your local government, use it for the food scraps that cannot be eaten (please take out any foil and plastic first).

Avoid bin contamination

  • Rinse your containers and take the lids off before placing them in your yellow lidded recyclables bin. Metal lids are also recyclable!
  • Place items loose in your recyclables bin – this will ensure more items are recycled at the processing plants.
  • If there will be little ones at your party, remember that disposable nappies go in your red lidded general waste bin – nappies are one of the biggest problems if they are mistakenly disposed of in the wrong bin!
  • Remember to separate special items that should not go in any of your kerbside bins, and take them to respective collection points. For example, old batteries should be taken to collection bins available at libraries and shopping centres, and soft plastics – such as plastic bags, clean plastic wrapping, snack wrappers and chip packets – should be taken to a Redcycle bin, available at most supermarkets.
  • If in doubt, check it out with your local council.

Created Date:
Tue 10 December 2019

Last Edit Date:
Wed 11 December 2019