Your workplace can give back this Christmas
Author: Nell MacDonald
As we head into the Holiday Season, offices across the country are looking forward to wrapping up the work year with Christmas celebrations. While we all look forward to celebrating the achievements of the year, it’s also a great time to think about how to not only make your Christmas celebrations more sustainable but also use them as an opportunity to give back to the community.
Make yours a zero-waste event
Create a zero-waste event by using reusable cutlery, plates and cups to enjoy your Christmas feast. You can also make sure to ask the bar you’re attending to avoid giving your group straws, or better yet support bars that have pledged to #StrawNoMore. For any catered events, you can reduce your food waste by giving the caterers an accurate number of attendees to minimise leftover food. For any inevitable leftovers, encourage staff in advance to bring containers so they can take any leftovers home with them.
Secret Santa is often a must at many Christmas events but can also lead to a lot of unnecessary gifts which will be looked and laughed at once, then squirrelled away in the back of a draw. For Planet Ark’s Secret Santa, we encourage all staff to purchase;
- Quality, necessary items that will be loved and won't go to waste.
- Secondhand items or;
- Get inventive and make, bake or cook their prezzies.
And lastly, remember to recycle those bottles and cans. You can visit Recycling Near You for information about your state’s container deposit scheme.
Give back to your community
There are many social initiatives for both catering and team bonding experiences which allow your staff to enjoy a truly unique event. Some excellent companies and initiatives Planet Ark has come across are listed below. If you are based outside of these areas, finding these companies is as easy as searching for local social enterprise catering or events companies.
Planet Ark’s monthly staff meetings are catered by a wonderful, ethically run catering company called Parliament on King. This café and catering service based on King St, Newtown is run by asylum seekers and refugees in partnership with locals. Their catering menu celebrates the dishes from country of origin. With Burmese noodles one week, Sri Lankan curries the next, you’re staff will enjoy a varied and delicious menu while also supporting refugees and asylum seekers in finding work in hospitality. I can personally vouch that the food is amazing every time!
Another option is to support OzHarvest as they tackle food waste and feed those in need. You can get your event catered with their food truck or, how about organising a fun team bonding experience with their Cooking for a Cause program. This corporate building program allows your team to get together at their kitchens across the country to cook restaurant quality meals to be delivered to a number of charities.
The Bread and Butter Project offer Sourdough & Pastry Master Classes where your team can get together to make your own sourdough and sweet treats. This social enterprise bakery reinvests 100% of their profits into baker training and employment pathways for refugees and asylum seekers.
The Koori Kulcha Experience offers catering with a mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous food options to the Sydney, Southern Highland and Canberra regions. They also offer team building workshops where your staff can enjoy Indigenous art or cooking classes.
Two Good is available for catering in both Sydney and Melbourne and their Eat One - Treat One model supports women’s refuges for domestic violence survivors.
For those based in Melbourne, the City of Melbourne has put together a handy guide on catering options in your area.
Another easy and meaningful way to give back that the girls at Planet Ark love to be involved with each year is Share the Dignity’s It’s in the bag program. Simply put the call out around the office for staff to pick up some extra personal hygiene products or their favourite everyday luxuries, put it in a preloved, good quality handbag and drop it off at a collection point. These bags will then be given to women or girls experiencing homelessness.
Of course, you can make use of initiative like these all year round, but what better time to support others in the community than Christmas!
Download our guide to Nude food at work!
Check out the National Recycling Week research report From Waste War to Recycling Reboot for more positive recycling stories.
- Australian energy innovations on the world stage »
- Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway becomes the world's tallest timber building »
- New National Construction Code to increase demand for timber products »
- How to become a bulk recycling collection point for Nespresso »
- Australia's tallest engineered timber office building opens »
- Freo backs six-storey timber office building »
- 'Best before' labels reach their use by date »
- Lake Macquarie Council paving the way for recycled roads »
- 4 barriers to workplace behaviour change »
- Turning the tide on trash with the ABC's War On Waste »
- WeWork takes out entire lease of Daramu House in Barangaroo »
- Melbourne to get its first timber commercial office building »
- Seven environmental initiatives from Officeworks »
- Lendlease has received the green light for a second timber office building at Barangaroo South. »
- Approval granted for New Zealand's tallest wooden office block »
- Win the war on waste at work! »
- It pays to be paper wise in the office »
- 8 ways to green your 2018 »
- Our green resolutions »
- Office paper flung all over the country »
- Planet Ark to trial Coffee Grounds Recycling in Sydney CBD »
- Draft NSW Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Strategy 2017-2021 »
- Celebrating more than 10 years being Carbon Neutral »
- Fight waste and get a bargain at the Big Aussie Swap »
- 10 waste reducing tips from the Planet Ark staff »
- International House Sydney wins two major international design awards »
- National Tree Day is this weekend! »
- New Organics Infrastructure Grants Now Open for NSW »
- Planet Ark pays tribute to former Head of Campaigns, Brad Gray »
- How do we do better with our food waste? »
- An Impressive 10 Million and Counting »
- 'Creature Compost' - Zoo Reduces Landfill and Generates Income »
- The Awful Truth About Nappies & Recycling »
- Three Behaviour Change Tricks for Home or Work »
- Sweet Plan to End Deforestation Announced by Cocoa Industry »
- Win An iPad Pro by Taking Our Survey »
- New Scrap Metal Legislation for NSW »
- Wood - Nature Inspired Design Report Launched on World Wood Day »
- 4 Ways to Make the Business Case for Less Waste »
- 14 Items You Can Recycle - But Probably Aren't (Part One) »
- Flings Save Tonnes of Paper »
- Soft Plastic - Scrunch and Recycle »
- Planet Ark Launches 100% Recycled Office Paper »
- Planet Ark Launches 100% Recycled Office Paper »
- It's Time For Another Fling »
- There's a Machine for That! »
- Help a Deafblind Person With Your Unwanted Smartphone »
- Community Garden Competition »
- Adding Trees - A Prescription for Health, Happiness and Fulfilment »
- Don't Miss Out On Funding Grants »
- The Importance of Green Public Spaces »
- The benefits of gardening for little people »
- Learn From The New Wave In Innovation »
- Going Bananas About Waste »
- Coffee Go-Ground »
- Working Together To Reduce Food Waste »
- Reducing Waste and Costs for Business Happiness »
- Compacting Waste Costs By 50% »
- What's the Deal With Business Waste? »
- A Tablet for Your Thoughts »
- Have A Light Bulb Moment With Broken Bulbs »
- Change Accelerates 'Wood First' Policies »
- Get Your 2016 Environment Action Planner »
- How To Save On Waste Costs »
- Back at work? keep that vacation feeling with some 'Green' time... »
- Give someone a (indoor) tree this Christmas! »
- Discount Tickets for 'dirtgirl's get grubby the musical' at the Opera House »
- Drink Coffee? Take our Coffee Recycling Survey »
- Best Fling Ever »
- Full Tummy Empty Bins »
- Recycle your old mobiles & help the Salvos »
- Trim Your Waste »
- Celebrate Recycling at Work »
- Save the date! 'Waste Not, Want Not' Day is coming »
- $50,000 Rebate Open for NSW Businesses to Increase Recycling »
- Make Recycling at Work, Work »
- Let the Flings Begin »
- Recycling Role Models »
- Inspiring Performers »
- Answers to the Big Recycling Questions »
- Declutter Your Office E-waste for FREE »
- Power Tool Battery Recycling Pilot Launches in Brisbane »
- Tree Cheers For Australia! »
- E-Waste Busters »
- Identifying Asbestos »
- One House, Four Hours, Four Tonnes of Recycling »
- Creative Composting »
- Turning Trash Into Treasure »