This year I decided I would try to make my Christmas more sustainable and natural than I have in the past (makes sense seeing as I am trying to live a more natural and sustainable life). And since making this decision, I have found that there are plenty of other people trying to do the same. In particular there is a group called 1 million women who have started the “No waste festive season pledge“, and I have taken it! They say “you don’t have to do it all, just what you can” 1 million women is not just for women, but named so because of the original concept. The cause began “determined to do something about climate change” and, given that statistically women make about 85% of the consumer choices in a household, they figured they would start with targeting women (hopefully at least 1 million) to think about the types of purchases they are making. The idea is that 1 million single women making small changes to live more sustainably, will collectively have a significant impact on the world. They always have lots of great information about sustainable living, and leading up to the festive season they have been sending out ideas to assist in making the festive season less wasteful. (Now that I am thinking about it, I really should have written about this earlier, but you can still take the pledge. Especially all you last minute planners/shoppers).
As part of my attempt for at less waste Christmas, I have set about making the majority of gifts that I am giving to people. In fact some of the gifts have been a work in progress for months. I have had stacks of fun with it. Sadly for you, I cant share any more about my presents today, as there may be a recipient or two of these presents reading this, and I dont want to give any more away secret 🙂 But you will get to hear all about them in the following Christmas 🙂
So instead today, I’m going to rattle of a few facts I have learned about the current un-sustainability of Christmas.
An article from the Sydney morning herald reports that the Australian institute conducted a study on Christmas waste with the results showing that:
- During the previous Christmas, 6 million Australians received 1 or more presents that they never used or that they gave away.
- 1 in every 4 people surveyed said that they expected that some of the present they give will end up unused in a cupboard somewhere.
- Around 1 in 4 people buy gifts for people they would prefer not to buy for.
- Unwanted gifts represent $798 million in waste of time, money and resources. I find it much more impressive to represent the number with all it’s zeros, that’s $798,000,000 wasted. Gone.
- On the flip-side, 4 out of 5 people said they would be happy for a donation to a charity to be made on their behalf instead of a gift. One charity I looked up can build a water well to provide clean drinking water to an entire town for $7,000. $798m would buy 114,000 wells.
Christmas wrapping and packaging
The UK telegraph published an article which estimates:
- 365,000 kms of christmas wrapping is thrown away each year. Let me give that some context, the distance from one side of planet earth to the other is 40,000 kms. That means, that with this volume of paper, you could wrap the earth up and give IT to someone as a christmas present. Nine times over.
- 125,000 tons of plastic wrapping is thrown away each year. That is about the same weight as 12,500 ten tonne trucks.
- 2.6 billion, ( 2,600,000,000) christmas greeting cards are sold. This volume is enough to fill a football field 10 storeys high.
- The annual waste from gift-wrap and shopping bags equals about 545,000 tonnes. Which is 10 times the weight of the titanic.
ABC online published an article that estimates:
- Australians spend around $10 billion on food over the festive season. Did you get that? $10,000,000,000!
- Of the food that is bought, 35% will go to waste. That’s $3.5 billion, or as I like to show it $3,500,000,000. The world food programme estimates that there are currently 66 million children who suffer from hunger in the world, they could be fed for $3.2 billion. So we could totally feed them all.
So let’s just stop wasting so much stuff. Sign up for the pledge 🙂
I’m off to do some more work on my less wasteful Christmas presents 🙂