Be more sustainable this Silly Season

Published 12 December 2014. It's easy to go overboard during the silly season, but with a little effort and imagination we can all reduce the burden on the environment...

It's easy to go overboard during the silly season, but with a little effort and imagination we can all reduce the burden on the environment.

Christmas is a time for giving, so we're told. So this Christmas give something to the environment...

Reduce waste

Cards and wrapping paper are not only expensive, but they consume a huge amount of natural resources for a throw-away item. Consider making your own hand made Christmas cards, they look fantastic and it's a great way to keep the kids busy. Re-use gift wrap where possible or find an alternative like scraps of fabric, comic strips from the paper or old calendars, maps or posters.

Don't buy cheap crap no one needs

Our lives are cluttered enough, do we really need more mass produced, plastic products and novelty items? Instead, give someone an experience; a restaurant voucher, concert ticket or a hot-air balloon ride.

A hand-made gift, like some biscuits, chutney or jam, is more unique and personal and often more appreciated. It's the thought that counts and what's more thoughtful than something you've created yourself?

Shop local

Supporting small local businesses and self-employed people puts money into the local economy.

This gives local businesses the opportunity to prosper and grow and the individuals running those businesses will have a better Christmas. In turn, they can provide you with more products and more choice. Many rural communities and businesses are struggling to compete with chain stores, multinationals and internet shopping. By keeping your money local you can help to make Mudgee a more viable and sustainable town.

Many items in today's marketplace often travel half way around the world before they reach us. So buying locally made items also reduces the carbon footprint.

Reduce food waste

One of the best things about Christmas is those long leisurely meals shared with out loved ones, but Australians waste up to 20% of the food they buy each year.

That's one shopping bag in five which ends up in landfill! Don't buy too much, it's better for your wallet, your waistline and the environment.

And love your leftovers. With so many cookbooks and online resources available to help us reduce our food waste there's really no excuse for throwing it away.

Wishing all our Catchment Corner column readers a safe and happy Christmas and remember … reduce, reuse and recycle.