Sustainable Swaps for the Silly Season
Maggie Zhou is an Australian-based writer, podcaster and slow fashion advocate. In between working as Refinery29 Australia's living and wellness writer and co-hosting pop culture podcast @cultureclubpod, Maggie found time to share with us her six sustainable swaps for the silly season. Keep reading below and be inspired to end the year on a high note.
The festive period is a time for family, love, leftovers, and that very particular flavour of highly addictive yet predictable holiday film. It’s also, if i’m honest, intertwined with stress and waste, and stress about waste. I don’t need to tell you about the statistics that hide behind the festive season’s glitz and glam. Your full-to-the-brim rubbish bin and tower of recycling post-christmas tell you all you need to know.
As a slow fashion advocate, I find myself in the throes of this hullabaloo year after year. But we can be environmentally conscious while enjoying festivities. Just making a few, simple sustainable swaps can help reduce waste and let you get to the good stuff: Enjoying the holidays and bickering over the last bit of pavlova.
One holiday movie trope I always fail to understand is why some households are fixated on having entirely new decorations and aesthetics every year (this is your home, not a pinterest board!). I say, lean into the cheesiness and kitschiness of the season and embrace eclectic decor.
My family has had the same fake tree for almost 20 years now, and our decorations are above the legal drinking age in Australia. Mix and match baubles and other decor pieces, no strict colorways, please. There’s a growing number of businesses that offer rented Christmas trees, too.
Leftovers are unavoidable with any holiday feast. Whether you’re at a friendmas occasion, a coworker’s shindig or your extended family’s potluck, it’s almost a given that there’ll be some nice leftovers begging to be taken home.
frank green’s Insulated Food Containers are awfully cute, easily portable and airtight. After your outing, you can place the safely sealed food straight into your bag to take home and pop in the fridge. Your aunty will be thankful you nabbed the last bit of roast turkey and gravy, and future you will be pleased you’ve got cooked meals waiting for you back at home.
My unpopular opinion is that there is simply no need for new wrapping paper. It’s almost 2023! We have artificial intelligence! We will soon have self-driving cars! There is no need for the (often unable to be recycled) virgin wrapping paper you can buy in rolls.
Each year we collate so much excess packaging. And believe me, a lot of it is darn pretty. Tissue paper from online deliveries, old magazine pages, wrapping from presents gifted to you… after 365 days, you’ll find you’ve got yourself a neat stockpile of paper at your disposal. (But not disposable, because we’re reusing it. You get the gist.)
The drinks station at parties could do with an innovative upgrade. Stacks of single-use plastic cups are haphazardly thrown on a table. There will be a few suspicious lone cups that you’ll have to squint at to try and figure out if they’ve been used. Occasionally, there will be a permanent marker to scrawl your name on one.
That’s where frank green’s Reusable Party Cups 16oz / 475ml (4-pack) come in. They are reminiscent of the signature red party cup shape but are slimmer and chicer. The best part is that they’re reusable, plastic-free and feature a flat lid (no dome lids here, IYKYK) with a hole for straws.
Gift Meaningful Experiences & Quality Time
I’ll be the first to sheepishly admit that the holiday rush has pushed me into buying pretty crappy gifts for people, presents I know that they might not cherish, like a gag gift or a plastic trinket. If you’re strapped for gift ideas, consider thinking outside the (physical gift) box. Instead, opt for personalised gifts that involve spending time with the receiver.
Maybe that’s tickets to a movie, a sports game or theatre. It could even be as simple as a picnic, beach trip, nature hike or baking session.
Bring Your Reusable Straws Out With You
The silly season is the silly season for a reason. The days get longer and drinks get poured earlier. Catch-up meals with mates, office happy hours, weekend cocktails… December is liquid loaded. Even if you’re sober, you’ll probably find yourself socialising in situations with flowing cold drinks.
Pop one of frank green’s nifty Reusable Straw Packs in your bag before you head out for the day. There’s no better feeling than whipping out one of these bad boys in a time of need – it’s a guaranteed triumphant pat on the back moment. Iced coffees, bubble teas and fizzy drinks, we’re ready for you.