By Janisha Nathu.
Christmas is the season of joy and giving, and it is approaching quickly! With less than 2 months to go, we’ve put together a guide to help kiwi businesses to celebrate Christmas in a low-waste, low-cost, and sustainable way.
Christmas parties are often the last and the biggest workplace social event for the year. Before getting caught in the hype of the party, it’s important to consider ways to party sustainably. Here are a couple of good places to start:
- When planning the party, ask for RSVPs so you know how many people will be attending.
- If it’s not in the office, hold it at a venue where there are public transport options close by, lots of natural light, and good ventilation
- Make sustainable food choices — provide a vegan/vegetarian snacks or meals
- If you want seafood as an option, check out the Forest & Bird fish guideto make the most sustainable choice.
- Use organic and local wines/beers
- Use jugs of water rather than bottles
- Use biodegradable crockery and cutlery instead of plastic
- Save whatever you can for reuse and recycle as much as you can
- If there is leftover food, find a sustainable and kind way of disposing of it. This could include donating it to a soup kitchen or other community organisation, giving it to staff to take home or, as a last resort, ensuring that you compost it or dispose of it appropriately
To many of us, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas tree. Here are some things to consider when picking and disposing of a tree:
- Opposite to popular belief, real trees are generally more sustainable than fake trees because plastic trees can’t be recycled and eventually end up in landfill
- If your business has a real tree, make sure it is sustainably sourced, and after Christmas ensure that it is reused for firewood, compost or mulch.
- Even better, make your own tree out of stuff you can find around the office! Use glass or plastic bottles from the recycling, make a tree from old reports or books, or decorate a ladder or office pillars with Christmas lights or decorations. If you have an outdoor area, consider popping up a mini bird seed tree to share the Christmas joy with our flying friends.
No matter how decorative your office wants to be for Christmas, making sustainable choices with decorations is essential. Here are a few good ideas on how to decorate sustainably:
- Craft your own decorations from used-paper and materials from previous office marketing campaigns or collateral
- Use LED lights — they are more energy efficient and emit substantially less greenhouse gas. Ensure that these are turned off at the end of the working day — if no one is there to appreciate them, why leave them on? And if your office receives plenty of natural light, is there a point in having the lights on? Let the natural light skim over the turned-off lights, creating the same bright effect
When it comes to gifts, traditional gift wrapping can be wasteful, especially when it’s used once and then goes in the bin. Here are some more sustainable ideas:
- A good alternative to wrapping paper is reusing old newspapers. Not only is it sustainable, but it’s perfect if your office is doing Secret Santa.
- Another alternative is fabric wrapping, such as tea towels or fabric cut offs. Once the gift is unwrapped, the recipient can reuse the fabric for another gift, or to dry the dishes!
- Use tape sparingly as it does not break down easily and can damage wrapping paper, preventing it from being reused
Christmas Cards & Gifts
Christmas cards and gifts are a nice way of sharing the Christmas joy and showing your co-workers and clients that you appreciate them. Giving can be simple, low-waste and low-cost. Here are some of our recommendations to giving more sustainably:
- Use E-Cards instead of physical cards — they serve the same purpose and offer more opportunity for personalisation
- DIY a gift — we made a good gifting guide not too long ago that would provide some perfect ideas such as baking jars. You can check that out here for some ideas
- Support a local business — we created a business guide filled with NZ companies that place ethical practices, sustainability and giving back at the heart of their work. You can check that out here for some ideas
- Lastly, our Good Gift Cards are a feel-good, low-waste, and sustainable gift. We have found that people feel joy when giving a meaningful and life-changing gift, making these the perfect option. You can read about how Kiwibank gave its staff Good Gift Cards last Christmas here. And if you’d like to give your staff or clients the gift of giving, instead of the usual corporate gift this year, get in touch with us!
Good Giving with The Good Registry
We have created two simple ways to give and receive the gift of giving through our website:
- Create your own Good Registry for a special event (e.g. a wedding or a birthday) and ask friends to donate to a charity you choose, instead of buying gifts.
- Give Good Gift Cards instead of traditional gifts, to avoid unwanted gifts, reduce waste, and enable others to make donations to charities they care about.
You can hear from people and businesses who have used Good Registries and Good Gift Cards to give more simply and sustainably, and to help causes they care about, on our inspirational Giving Wall