Rubbish volumes rise by 30% around Christmas. Much of that is made up of all the packaging, wrapping paper, plastic and Styrofoam that go hand in hand with consumer gifts.

Australian Ethical

In Australia, the festive season is often a time of mass consumption and sadly, mass waste. Below are some helpful tips to reduce your carbon footprint these holidays.

Leaves and holly.

Op shop Secret Santa

Just like normal Secret Santa or White elephant, but instead of purchasing gifts, participants source items their local Op Shop or regift unwanted household items. This game can get quite hilarious when weird and whacky items get unwrapped.

Recycled wrapping paper

Did you know that Australians use 150,000km of wrapping paper every Christmas? Sadly, the majority of it goes straight to landfill.

Gift with recyclable plant packaging.

This Christmas, instead of store bought wrapping paper, opt to use

  • old newspaper
  • children’s artwork
  • old paper bags
  • recycled wrapping paper/bags from previous Christmases or birthdays
  • leaves (you can even get creative with flowers!)
  • clean rags
  • green shopping bags
  • cardboard boxes
  • no wrapping paper at all
Leaves in hands.

If you desperately can’t part with those lovely designs, try purchasing 100% recycled wrapping paper as it can be recycled in your yellow bin.

DIY presents

Floppy disk box planters.

Why not up-cycle some unused items into useful household items? Pintrest has a plethora of DIY craft ideas.


In the words of Marie Kondo, if it doesn’t ‘spark joy’ for you, it might spark joy for others. There’s nothing worse than receiving an unwanted present. Luckily, it can have a second life in a new home.

Go gift free

It might sound like a Grinch-like thing to do, but have you thought about asking your friends and family not to buy you presents? If they desperately want to gift you something, ask them to buy you a voucher or donate to a charity of your choosing.

Adopt a pet

Sad pug in blanket.

Thousands of dogs and cats are sadly abandoned every year immediately after Christmas. Instead of purchasing a kitten or puppy for your loved one or family, why not adopt? The RSPCA website lets you select from hundreds of pets (including birds and reptiles).

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