As sustainability becomes a greater concern for many shoppers and conscious consumers continue to emerge, leading parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP) has found simple ways that Aussies can celebrate Christmas sustainably this year. While 79% of Aussie shoppers believe retailers should have sustainable practices in place to minimise their impact on the environment, consumers also need to play their part in a ‘greener’ future.
To help, CP has developed nine ideas for shopping, eating and celebrating Christmas sustainably – from purchasing timeless gifts, to prioritising clothing with sustainable fabrics over fast-fashion, to ensuring waste is deposited correctly into the relevant bins, and buying fresh, unpackaged produce.
- Shop for timeless, long-lasting gifts. Rethink purchasing ‘novelty’ and ‘gimmick’ items such as festive pyjamas and knick-knacks as they often end up in landfill. In Australia, around 60,000 tonnes of impractical donations to charities are sent to landfill annually, with charity and opportunity shops spending $13 million in waste management.
- Prioritise buying clothes made of sustainable fibres. If you’re purchasing a party outfit this Christmas or gifting clothes or textiles, try to avoid non-biodegradable materials such as nylon and polyester, and fabrics treated with toxic chemicals such as viscose as the chemicals are released into the air and waterways that surround the production plants. Instead, try to invest in high-quality linen, bamboo, organic cotton and sustainable fabrics that have less impact on the environment. Many brands in the market now place emphasis on organic and sustainable clothing. Research shows 79% of consumers believe companies and brands should be responsible for their environmental impact.
- Pick up your deliveries from a collection point. It’s common for parcels to be delayed 1-2 business days during peak periods, so consider choosing click-and-collect at check-out when shopping online if you urgently need an item the same day. It is also a great way to reduce multiple delivery attempts if you think you won’t be home to receive parcels, helping lower emissions. If you’re sending gifts via courier, consider using low CO2 carriers such as CP to send your goods – you’ll also be playing a part in being ‘greener’.
- Buy fresh, unpackaged Australian produce for Christmas meals. Steer clear from fresh produce and groceries packaged in unnecessary plastic, such as salad bags or pre-peeled fruit. Instead, consider purchasing fresh produce from local farmers markets and local suppliers. Not only will you be receiving fresher foods, and likely at a lower price, you will also be supporting the local players – many of whom have struggled during the pandemic.
- Shop second-hand, or upcycle your textiles. Consider shopping at local op shops and second-hand consignment stores for recycled and upcycled goods. In Australia, an estimated 6 tonnes of clothes end up in landfill every 10 minutes – this equates to 846 tonnes every day. Some brands produce sustainable items that make for great gifts. An example is Upparel, a sustainable underwear and socks subscription company and leader in textile upcycling, which aims to extend product life and redirect textiles from landfill. This year, CP partnered with Upparel to enable households to have their unwanted shoes and textiles picked up from their homes to be recycled.
- Shop at retailers that offer sustainable delivery packaging. Seek out retailers that use recycled cardboard packing, compostable packaging made from cornstarch, or recycled delivery satchels. At the very least, seek out those who use recyclable cardboard packaging over plastic. Some retailers also allow customers to return their packaging for re-use.
- Consider renting your Christmas outfit this year. Many people fall into the trap of buying fast-fashion pieces that have a short lifespan and quickly end up in landfill. You can usually rent better quality items for the same price that will be cleaned and re-worn by others and is a great solution to addressing the negative environmental impacts of fashion.
- Choose recyclable wrapping and avoid disposable festive decorations. Keep gift wrapping simple, using recyclable paper and ribbon, and avoid using plastic wrapping accessories. Try to avoid disposable plastic decorations and disposable table settings, as these are likely to end up in landfill after the holiday period.
- Ensure your Christmas waste ends up in the correct place. Take care when disposing of Christmas rubbish this year: ensure you split waste into composting, recycling and landfill bins. In 2017, Australians generated an estimated 67 million tonnes of waste; however, just 37% was recycled – leaving a mammoth 21.7 million tonnes disposed of in landfill. Whether you adopt one, a few or all nine of these tips, each suggestion will help you celebrate Christmas sustainably this year.
 National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations, https://www.nacro.org.au/charities-spending-millions
 Moving the needle, 2019, p1, https://www.nra.net.au/Moving-the-Needle-Presentation-Deck.pdf