An environmentally friendly Christmas isn’t only about buying ethically and minimising waste, it’s about how you get rid of things you don’t want as well. Brisbane is, excuse the pun, rubbish at recycling. Every year, Queensland averages 2.44 tonnes of landfill per person, which is the third highest behind the Northern Territory and Tasmania. An enormous amount of household waste is generated at Christmas, but we can do our bit for the environment by recycling responsibly.
Brisbane City Council estimates that 21% of the average wheelie bin is food waste, which effectively means you’re chucking away twenty one cents in every dollar you’re spending on food. A simple way to reduce food waste is to cut down on the amount you buy. It’s very tempting to get carried away and over cater at Christmas so write a clear shopping list of the amount of food you need and stick to it. Taste has a good selection of yummy recipe ideas for using leftovers if you do find you’ve cooked more than you need. Just make sure all food is cooled and covered before being stored correctly.
Unfortunately, Brisbane City Council doesn’t collect kitchen scraps and food waste for recycling, although they do offer free classes in how to set up compost bins and worm farms. You can also buy a Bokashi bucket for almost all food waste, including meat and dairy and donate the result to your local school or community garden if you have no use for it yourself.
You can recycle paper and wrapping paper, cardboard and Christmas cards, plastics, glass, and metal (including aerosol cans), in your recycling bin with the yellow lid. Take the caps off glass jars and bottles, and put items in the recycling bin rather than in plastic bags. Health and Safety rules prevent recycling plant workers from opening bags, so even if you’ve sorted your paper neatly into piles, it will be sent straight to landfill if it is in a plastic bag.
You can check your bin collection days on the council’s website or by downloading their app.
Finally, reduce the amount of packaging you bring into your home by taking your reusable bags when you hit the shops.
Real trees are fantastic until it’s time to get rid of them, and then you’re stuck. Brisbane really needs a kerbside tree collection service like the one Sydney has. If you pay for a green waste kerbside service, you can put your tree out for collection as long as you cut it into small enough pieces. Otherwise, you’ll have to take it to the tip for recycling. Real trees are still more environmentally friendly than plastic ones as they are a renewable resource (fake trees use fossil fuels in the plastic), generate oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, and can be recycled into compost.
And the Rest
Larger items, electricals, and anything else that won’t get picked up in a kerbside collection can go to the Ferny Grove tip. If you have decided to upgrade your TV, computer, or any other type of electrical item then your old one can be correctly recycled here. New Farm’s annual kerbside collection for large household items is on the week starting 16th January 2017.
This is the last in our series of ways to make your Christmas eco-friendly. If you want to share your tips for an environmentally friendly Christmas, then post on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear them!