For many people, the words ‘festive season’ conjure images of fairy lights and seafood platters.
But for the environmentally conscious, this can be coupled with visions of unwanted spoils that are destined to gather dust in our homes or end up in landfill.
If you can relate, you’ll be horrified to know there’s a statistic to put to that feeling.
“We generate up to 50 per cent more waste during the holiday season,” says Sammy Williamson, director and co-founder of eco-driven online marketplace Rosella Street.
We’ve all been there, unwrapping that gift from someone who, with the best intentions, has given you your fifth scented candle.
It’s the kind of problem Rosella Street exists to solve.
“After Christmas is the perfect time to think about what you’ve accumulated,” says Sammy.
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“During this period, it’s common to receive unwanted gifts or even upgrades to current items.”
It’s not that we’re not grateful for that lovely item of clothing that’s just not ‘you’.
It’s that once the frenzied unwrapping is over and we take stock of all the new stuff in our lives, many of us realise we’ve unwittingly participated in an unsavoury Christmas tradition that contributes to a mounting environmental problem.
Sammy says the way to inject some mindfulness into the excess is a simple question of connecting an unwanted item to a person who is actually looking for it.
Donation, regifting and selling at garage sales are all great ways of keeping unwanted gifts out of landfill and reducing our collective Christmas carbon.
For people who want to expand their garage sale audience beyond the physical neighbourhood, who wish to avoid potentially regifting to another unenthusiastic recipient, or are dubious about the likelihood of their gifts actually being sold in a charity store, online marketplaces such as Rosella Street could be the answer.
Reducing the environmental impact of consumerism is one of the cornerstones of Rosella Street, where users will find about 1500 listings offered under four categories: buy, sell, donate and rent.
Sammy is fully expecting listings to grow significantly this summer, with onboarding of groups such as the University of Canberra and the University of NSW onto the platform, as well as the anticipated Christmas-induced surge of unwanted items.
She suspects the past challenging year will have a multiplier effect on the usual Christmas excess.
“Some people can’t be with their families, or are seeing their families for the first time in a long time,” she says.
“It’s a special time of year for people so they may want to spoil their loved ones.”
Sammy says this may be reflected in consumer habits, representing a surge in online shopping to “make up for lost time”, resulting in “item accumulation”.
This expectation has prompted Rosella Street’s sustainable summer scheme, which encourages more mindful consumer habits and a re-evaluation of our belongings this season.
“Think about whether the item brings you joy any more or whether it’s just gathering dust,” says Sammy.
“By listing on Rosella Street you could make someone’s day this summer while also reducing your carbon footprint.”
One of the focuses of Rosella Street’s sustainable summer is encouraging people to use the platform’s rental option.
“We’ve calculated that, on average, each of our rental listings can save four kilograms of waste from landfill,” says Sammy.
Rather than relying just on the people in your physical spheres for items you may need to borrow, Rosella Street allows users to harness the power of the internet to expand their neighbourhoods.
“By renting, we can eliminate tonnes of landfill,” says Sammy.
Each Rosella Street transaction attracts a $1 donation to a bush tucker tree-planting initiative in the Northern Territory – a carbon reduction bonus, adding further value to unwanted Christmas gifts listed on the site.
Users are subject to a rigorous onboarding process, resulting in a digital marketplace for the conscious consumer that is teeming with intentional listings that connect people and communities and the things they own.
So if you’re looking for a loving home for that very thoughtful gift you already own in duplicate, Rosella Street may be your answer.