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Published: 2006-11-29 00:00:00

Red and green are traditional Christmas colours, but the Waikato Waste Advisory Service (WWAS) is urging Waikato businesses to emphasise the “green” this festive season.

“The recent release of the Stern report, which warned of the potentially catastrophic economic impacts of climate change, underlines the need to think globally and act locally,” said WWAS coordinator Joanna McKay.

“There are lots of simple things businesses can do to improve their sustainability this festive season and thinking outside the square a bit with your Christmas gifts is a great start.”

Consider donating what you usually spend on client gifts to environmental organisations, or send your staff on weekends to help with conservation projects.

If you are buying gifts for clients, choose quality products that will last rather than junk that will quickly wear out and end up in the landfill. When you receive gifts, save your wrapping paper and reuse it next year, or make sure it gets recycled.

“New Zealanders will trash enough wrapping paper to cover Wellington’s entire CBD this Christmas – let’s try and cut that down,” Ms McKay said.

“And how about buying your company a simple gift of energy efficient light bulbs? These use up to 70 per cent less energy than regular light bulbs and each bulb can save you $100 during its lifetime.”

If you are having a Christmas party, consider making it a zero waste occasion. Compostable potato plates and wooden or reusable cutlery are great options for a barbecue.

“And make sure you dispose of any waste that is left over responsibly by recycling your paper, cardboard and bottles and composting your scraps,” Ms McKay said.

Finally, don’t forget to switch off your computers and electronic equipment at the wall before you go on holiday.

“An office computer uses 75 per cent less energy it it’s switched off at night and in the weekends, so make sure it gets a Christmas break too,” Ms McKay said.

The Waikato Waste Advisory Service, supported by Environment Waikato, provides free advice on waste minimisation and sustainability for Waikato businesses. Find out more by calling 0800 NO THROW (0800 668 4769).