With the holidays approaching, Australians are getting into the festive spirit and looking to go greener than ever – and we’re not just talking about the tree.
New research from the National Farmers’ Federation has found that the coronavirus pandemic and the rise in panic buying have led more Australians to care exactly what ends up on our plates.
NFF President and Liverpool Plains farmer Fiona Simson said Australians are fortunate that the vast majority of food on our shelves is sourced locally, especially given this year’s restrictions on importation and export.
“Consumers surveyed will have been pleasantly surprised to find that up to 96 percent of the food on their supermarket shelves is sourced locally,” Simson said in a statement.
“Supply chain disruptions and the return to home cooking have brought Australians back to basics and, in fact, closer to farmers.”
Buying produce grown in Down Under is a great way to make your holiday season a little healthier and a little greener.
And as many of us are now looking for ways to give back to the community and the planet, there are a few simple tips and tricks to make sure your Christmas is as green as possible.
Offer more ecological gifts …
Buying a loved one the perfect gift can be one of the most rewarding feelings, especially if it’s something they will cherish for years to come.
When looking for a giveaway, try to buy locally whenever possible and avoid things that have a limited lifespan or are made of plastic that will end up in landfills.
For adults, consider purchasing an “ experience, ” like a spa retreat, coastal getaway, or five-course tasting at a trendy restaurant that will help put some cash back into our hard-hit economy.
If you’re looking for something smaller, consider a houseplant that your loved one will be able to grow and grow for years to come.
Sadly, most children’s toys still use a bunch of plastic, and we’re probably about a decade away from a biodegradable Barbie, but some brands still offer eco-friendly options.
If the best part of Christmas is exchanging your presents with family and friends, then the worst part of Christmas is wrapping them.
Even if you manage to keep your glasses green and find sustainable, eco-friendly gifts for everyone, be careful not to undo your hard work by using plastics elsewhere.
Items like duct tape, tape, and even wrapping paper, often coated with plastic, can be harmful to the environment and difficult to break down.
But there are a few more environmentally friendly alternatives that can enhance your gifts.
Biodegradable and recycled brown paper is available in places like Kmart, Officeworks, and Bunnings – luckily the ‘rustic’ look is present as well.
Using fabric or twine ribbon can also enhance the look.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can get rid of the paper completely and try your hand at Japanese furoshiki method that uses fabric instead.
Cool and unique gift wrapping and you save the planet too? What a vacation hero.
Exchange of stuffed ham …
Overcooking, overeating, and nap time on Christmas Day is as festive as it gets.
But if you’re looking to make an easy, eco-friendly change that will let you stuff your face without feeling so slow, consider making your menu a little more vegetal.
Since the animal agriculture industry is responsible for more emissions than all planes, trains, cars, and boats combined, swapping the cheese board and roast ham can make a big difference.
In fact, Woolworths has reported a 32 percent annual increase in demand for meatless meals, so now is the time to try some of the plant-based alternatives.
There are a ton of delicious meat and dairy free recipes out there (and yes, they include more than just salad variations), so why not try something new this year?
Woolworths even offers a new plant-based Christmas roast for those looking for something a little closer to what they’re used to.
If you end up with Christmas leftovers (which you will, as it’s not the holiday season unless you eat the same food until New Years Eve), be sure to send them back to home with your guests to avoid waste.