Reducing waste at home this holiday period

The holidays can be full of gifts, gatherings and...full bins.

Follow these top tips to make this a sustainable Christmas.

1. Consider second-hand

Buy crockery and glassware from Brisbane City Council's Treasure Troves in Geebung and Acacia Ridge to avoid single-use items. For around the same price as single-use varieties, you can keep them for future celebrations or donate them in the new year.

2. Minimise food waste

By making a few pre-Christmas plans you can save money and minimise how much food goes to waste after 25 December.

Planning and shopping

  • Meal planning and making a shopping list can help prevent impulse buys.
  • Before you head to the shops or do your grocery order online, check the ingredients you have in your fridge, freezer and pantry to avoid doubling up.
  • Avoid over-catering by considering the size and quantity of items to be purchased for recipes and limiting purchases to what you actually need. This will also save space in your fridge. 

Serving and storing

  • Ditch the cling film in favour of reusable options to cover food bowls or platters such as beeswax wraps or reusable containers. A clean shower cap is a great option for bowls and serving ware that don't have their own lids.

Set yourself up for success

  • Food might be the hero of festive celebrations, but not every meal needs to be a new recipe. Use up any leftovers by hosting a pot-luck style family meal. Turn that last bit of roast chook into a chicken and cheese toastie with a side of salad.
  • Store your party ice in a cooler box to free up space in your freezer for leftover food.
  • Freeze that ham bone for pea and ham soup in autumn, or the last of your spinach leaves to use in smoothies.

Cleaning up after the celebrations

  • Compost your scraps.
  • Invite guests to bring their own containers to help take home leftovers and save food from going to waste.
  • Recycle wrapping paper.

3. Boost your recycling capacity

Put out a separate bin for recyclables when you're entertaining.

Upgrade to a larger recycling bin for free.

4. Buy an experience

Support local businesses and consider gifts like vouchers for an experience such as a meal at a restaurant, or a treatment at a spa.

5. Send e-cards and repurpose paper cards

Send e-cards rather than paper cards. Repurpose paper cards into gift tags and recycle the offcuts.

6. Make your own wrapping paper

Make your own wrapping paper out of old newspapers and children's artwork, or choose recycled wrapping paper if buying new. A second-hand scarf or leftover fabric can also be used to wrap gifts.

7. Make your own decorations

Feeling crafty this Christmas? Get the kids involved and deck your halls sustainably by using leftover wrapping paper to make decorations! Watch our Make Christmas stars from wrapping paper video on Council's YouTube channel.

8. Download

Download Council's Brisbane Bin and Recycling app for a collection service calendar and more.

More information

Did you know that Council undertakes waste and recycling collection year round, including Christmas Day and other public holidays?

Related links

Date posted:
Last updated: 29 November 2022
Topics: green

Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.