Limiting your festive footprints

16:00, Dec 19 2013
Sustainable Christmas
DECORATE: Rekindle manager Penny Turnbull decorates the shop’s living tree with recycled decorations.

Buy local, recycle and reduce your festive footprint this holiday season and celebrate a more sustainable Christmas.

Sustainability is not as difficult or as fringe as some may think. No need to go the whole nine yards and raise a turkey or make your Christmas stockings out of hemp.

Making an effort to be sustainable can be as big or small as you can manage - every bit helps.

University of Canterbury sustainability facilitator Katie Nimmo said Christmas tended to be a "global materialistic binge".

"Perhaps it's time to rethink our Christmas gifts and find ways to appreciate and value each other that doesn't require such extreme forms of materialism and a high cost to the Earth," she said.

For example, Cantabrians have a wealth of opportunities to be more sustainable this year.


The easiest way to contribute is to buy local. On Christmas Eve, Sefton market gardener Cam Booker is hosting the Christmas Harvest Market.

More than 30 local producers and stallholders from Canterbury farmers' markets will set up shop on his Waimakariri property, Grown.

Visitors can pick their own peas or dig their own potatoes in Booker's plot.

"This is probably going to be Canterbury's biggest spud-dig," he said. "It's about quality and freshness too."

Stalls offer the chance to stock up on free range eggs, locally baked bread, fruit and craft beer.

Canter Valley free range duck and turkey comes without much of a carbon footprint, having been raised right next door, and Cressy Farm is bringing its free-range pork from Selwyn.

The market will run 9am-1pm at 818 Marshmans Rd, Sefton.

But if you can't find the product you're looking for from one of your local producers, try to buy fair trade and organic where possible.

Many gifts given each Christmas are not biodegradable and the cost can put a lot of stress on families.

Recycled gifts can be surprisingly easy to find. 

Even your Christmas tree could be more sustainable. Oderings nurseries are selling pine trees in pots which can be kept and reused for years as a sustainable alternative to faux trees.

Kept outdoors during the year, the potted tree can be moved inside for a week over each Christmas, and can be kept pruned to grow into the perfect shape. Pohutukawa are also good native options.

Nimmo said locally grown trees were preferable to fakes which often had a huge carbon footprint and were made in countries with poor labour conditions.

To decorate your tree, try picking up recycled wood decorations.

The Press