Christmas Waste 2023

by Nina Gbor and Benjamin Walters

Gift giving is a long-standing Christmas tradition. Yet Australia Institute research shows that approximately 6.1 million adult Australians, expect to receive Christmas presents this year that they will never use or wear.

The estimated value of this waste is $921 million.

Unwanted and unused Christmas gifts and food ultimately end up in landfill, increasing the greenhouse gas emissions that drive the climate crisis. But this research shows nearly half of Australians (48%) would prefer it if people did not buy them Christmas presents. Less than one in two Australians (46%) consider how the gifts they purchase will eventually be disposed of.

These results suggest that it could be time for a change in consumer habits. Buying fewer unwanted Christmas presents would be a positive outcome for the environment and for consumers. Fewer items would be wasted and sent to landfill, and millions of Australians would save money at Christmas time.

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