Wrap up your sustainable Christmas

You’ve done everything you can to have a clean and green Christmas. Your practical gifts were a hit, the wrapping is folded for next year, you've packed your reusable dinner set away and have a belly full of leftovers. Now what?

We’ve got a few tips to help you wrap up your sustainable Christmas with an environmentally friendly clean up that will keep your eco-conscious efforts rolling into the new year.

What to do with unwanted Christmas gifts

Despite subtle hints you might have dropped to your friends and family, it's likely that among all the festivities, you unwrapped at least one gift you don't particularly want to keep or don’t see yourself using. Your unwanted gift could be someone else’s treasure (really) and there are lots of ways to make someone else happy with your gift, rather than keeping it guiltily stashed in the back of the cupboard.


If you’re feeling generous, keep the spirit of Christmas alive and donate your unwanted gifts to charity. Brisbane City Council's two tip shops take donations to help the Endeavour Foundation, so you can drop off your clothes, furniture, sports equipment, books and bric-a-brac to any of Council’s four resource recovery centre collection points.


We know nobody talks about it, but everyone does it! Create some space in your cupboard for presents to regift throughout the year, which will save you some money and help you feel super organised later when you're in a jam.


Another fun idea is to hold a swap party with your friends. Mix unwanted presents with any clothes, accessories or homewares you don't want to hold onto, and you'll end up with new goodies to enjoy this year in their place. Council also hosts and supports a bunch of swap events, like Suitcase Rummage, so keep an eye on What’s on in Brisbane to see what's coming up.

Sell and buy

Try putting your unwanted present up for sale online or use the chance to get organised for that long-overdue garage sale. Once you've made a bit of cash from the things you don't need, you can buy something else you need more, or put the money towards that holiday you've been dreaming of.

How to reuse all the things 

If you were patient enough to remove the wrapping on your presents carefully on Christmas Day, you can keep the paper to wrap more gifts in future. Find a box you can use to store the gift wrap along with any leftover bows or ribbons.

Recycle any cardboard boxes that are still sitting around and make sure you break them down so there’s enough space in your recycling bin for everything else. Keep as many as you need to pack away your decorations, so they stay safe and sparkling for next year.

Take on a holiday project and upcycle glass jars into decorative vases, or tin cans into planters. Find some inspiration online for how to decorate them and incorporate them into your home.

Get rid of your leftovers

By now you’ve hopefully eaten any yummy leftovers that were still in your fridge from Christmas lunch, but don’t forget about anything that might be hidden in your freezer! Make a mental note to check for anything that may have moved to the back but could be incorporated into your meal plans for the coming weeks.

If the food just needs to go, try using your local community composting hub or start your own compost pile, worm farm or bokashi bin at home to turn food scraps into nutrients for your garden.

How to be more environmentally friendly this year

Being sustainable isn't just for Christmas time! If you have some spare time this month, consider how you could set yourself up to reduce your carbon footprint over the year.

Here are five ways you could set a New Year's resolution to make simple sustainable switches in everyday life.

1. Energy

Investigate options to install a rooftop solar power system or check with your electricity provider about how you could have renewable energy power your home.

Switch your appliances off when you’re not using them to save approximately 10% of your household energy.

Find out more about how you can save energy and reduce your carbon footprint this year.

3. Reduce waste

Make sure you have a reusable coffee cup ready to go when you return to the work or school routine, and check our recycling app to confirm what goes in which bin.

4. Travel

Try an eco-travel option to help you tackle any extra Christmas kilos or set yourself up for a healthy new year.

Walk or cycle instead of taking your car for short trips, check out our bikeways and walking trails, or try a CityCycle for a cheap and handy ride.

5. New skills

We have lots of free workshops, classes and events throughout the year to help you skill up and be more green.

Keep an eye out for our Green Heart Fairs or see what's on at your local library by visiting What’s on in Brisbane.

Related links

Date posted:
Last updated:18 August 2020
Topics: green