The one-month period from early December to early January has many more parties than any other period in the year. As a result, we are creating a lot more rubbish which ends up going into our islands’ landfills, forests, streams, lagoons, and eventually our ocean.
Te Ipukarea Society has a few tips to help you reduce the size of your rubbish footprint this festive season.
If you are looking to get a little jolly this Christmas, an excellent way to reduce the number of empty bottles and cans you produce is to get a keg of beer from the local brewery.
Both the Rarotonga Brewery in Panama and the Matutu brewery in Muri do 50 litre kegs for $300. That works out at about $2.00 per stubby.
Matutu also has a 20 litre keg for $150. Included in the price, the breweries deliver the keg, and set it up to deliver ice cold beer on tap. Matutu also recycle 330ml Steinlager and Heineken stubby bottles, which they sterilise and refill with their beer. You can also take your own bottles or flagons to either brewery for a refill.
You can swap an empty flagon for a full one at Wigmores in Vaimaanga, or refill your flagon at LBV in Muri. Well over one million bottles have been kept out of the landfill in the past two years because of the work of our local breweries.
Another thing you can do is use washable plates, glasses, and cutlery for the kaikai that accompanies your celebration. Or if you want to cut down on the washing up, use biodegradable raurau or plates, and no plastic or polystyrene.
The huge Karika Ariki investiture on Wednesday this week was an excellent example of using traditional raurau for food. No cutlery was needed as all the food could easily be eaten with the hands, keeping in line with our Maori custom.
Saying no to single use plastic bottles is another way to minimise waste this Christmas. Invest in a reusable water bottle that will last you for years.
Te Ipukarea Society have some 800ml insulated stainless steel thermo flasks arriving in country soon, though unfortunately a little too late for Christmas.
These awesome Mana Tiaki “protect a little paradise” flasks will keep your drinks cold or hot for up to 24 hours. Great for keeping water, juice and even beer, ice cold - or your coffee piping hot.
When looking for Christmas presents this year, avoid cheap plastic toys that will only keep children interested for a few days before ending up in the rubbish.
Look for high quality presents that last. Books are an excellent present for your child, as they will help them learn. And if they do end up in the rubbish at some stage, they are biodegradable. Packs of playing cards are also an ideal biodegradable present that can keep children (and adults) amused for hours.
Finally, remember the best Christmas presents for our loved ones, especially our children, are memories. Be sure you give them great memories by spending quality time with them over the holiday period.
Share your skills to help someone close to you, such as assisting them in home renovations, tidying their house, or mowing their lawn. There are many very special things you can do for those you care about, which do not require buying anything at all.