By Liam Davies
Christmas is a time of giving, and here at The Good Registry we’re all about giving sustainably and kindly — which got us thinking, how sustainable is Christmas?
In a recent article that came out of the UK, it was reported that the amount of wrapping paper used in the UK alone each Christmas is enough to circle the globe nine times. The equivalent of two million turkeys also end up in the bin each Christmas in the UK, along with one billion Christmas cards and 500 tonnes of fairy lights. Almost 12 million unwanted Christmas gifts are received in the UK each Christmas, and about one in 10 of those ends up in landfill.
So what about New Zealanders? Just how much do we — clean and green Kiwis — waste during the festive season?
The Good Registry’s research has found that every New Zealander receives between 1–3 unwanted gifts each year — that’s potentially as many as 14 million unwanted gifts across the country. And on average those gifts are worth $25–50 each — so as much as $700 million!
Evey year New Zealanders waste close to $1.2 billion worth of food, contribute 15.5 million tonnes of rubbish to landfills, and donate 16,000 tonnes of unwanted household items to the Salvation Army. During the festive season, we send 30% more to landfill than any other time of the year.
Kiwis spend $6 billion on Christmas related shopping, and if we wasted the equivalent of wrapping paper per person than the UK, we could be wrapping presents from New Zealand to India and back, and still have paper to spare. Not to mention, we would also throw away 70 million Christmas cards straight off the mantle.
Wellington City Council’s Waste Manager, Emily Taylor-Hall, Hall told us, “Christmas is a particularly busy time for the waste world, with lots of packaging in particular filling up the landfill.”
“We encourage everyone to consider packaging when buying presents — or even embrace the make, bake, recycle philosophy.”
At The Good Registry, we think it is important to acknowledge what we already have and look for alternatives to traditional gift giving — like donating to a good cause.
This way, there is no struggle to find what to buy, it reduces the risk of waste and the negative impact on our planet.
And that’s what it boils down to, the impact Christmas waste does have on our planet.
So next time you’re about to buy that stocking filler, secret Santa gift, or send that card to a loved one, consider how much that person needs it and how another individual could benefit from a small charitable donation instead — with less waste involved.
Enjoying a waste-free Christmas with The Good Registry
We have created two simple ways to give and receive a waste-free gift, while also helping good causes, through our website:
- Create your own Good Registry for a special event 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.