Is it Possible to Have an Eco-Friendly Christmas?

Once those Christmas songs start playing in shops and the party invites start rolling in, then it’s official; the festive season has begun. It’s a chaotic time of year, and there’s often a lot to do, from gift wrapping to installing kitchen cabinets to ensure you’ve got enough space for the big food shop. However, as Christmas becomes a bigger and bigger event, it becomes less and less eco-friendly, with tonnes of waste generated from unused gifts, decorations being thrown away, and more. But is it possible to have a Christmas that’s eco-friendly without depriving ourselves of the fun aspects of the festive season?

christmas lightsThe impact of Christmas

The statistics around Christmas make uncomfortable reading for anyone concerned about the environment. In 2006, Australians spent $10 million on Christmas lighting, and around $58 million on decorations, gifts, and other Christmas-related purchases. This included 34 million cuddly toys, and a whopping 11 million dolls, many of which will be in landfill by now. 10 years later, in 2016 we spent $8.8 billion on Christmas alone!

Gift thoughtfully

  • Asking people for a list of things they want, ensuring your gift will be well-received
  • Using your budget to buy one high-quality present, instead of lots of little things
  • Giving experience vouchers, from spa days to cinema tickets – memories last much longer than toys and gadgets
  • Search local Facebook groups and eBay for gifts – lots of parents will be selling un-opened toys from last Christmas
  • Buy local, handmade items where possible, and check out local craft fair for green items such as handmade soaps

By spending a little more time thinking about what you’re buying, you can ensure each gift you give has less of an impact on the environment, and is something that’ll be used and cherished rather than thrown away.

Wrap it up

Wrapping paper is a huge contributor to waste during the festive period. A lot of wrapping paper is now embellished with foil and glitter, meaning it can’t even be recycled, so goes straight to the dump.

Recycled brown paper, or even newspaper can actually look pretty cool under the tree, and you can finish the look off with a reusable fabric ribbon, which is more environmentally friendly than plastic tape or bows. If you have kids, get them to make their own wrapping paper using potato stamps carved with festive designs, or get them to draw their own artwork. Relatives can then either keep the paper, or recycle it easily.

Reconsider sending cards

wrapping paperChristmas cards are something of a dying trend, with more people now preferring to send messages or talk via social media. However, if you prefer to send cards, then make sure they’re made from 100% recycled materials, and can be recycled by the recipient. Again, avoid anything that has foil or glitter, as this will mean they’re harder to recycle.

Keep any cards you receive and take them to a recycling centre. Australia Post have schemes such as Christmas card recycling boxes in their branches, which makes them easy to drop off. If you’re feeling crafty, they can even be turned into festive gift tags for next year.

Tree and decorations

Plastic Christmas trees often last a few years, then get thrown away, so consider buying a local tree that you can replant in-between uses.

Changing your colour scheme yearly means that you have to buy all new decorations, and plastic baubles often can’t be recycled. Buy high-quality decorations that you love, and keep them year after year. They have more sentimental value, and can even be passed onto the next generation. Glass baubles are a pretty option, which can be recycled, and wooden decorations have a traditional look. Lastly, check what kind of Christmas lights you have. LED lights are more energy efficient, and therefore you save money as well as the environment.

The kitchen

Your kitchen will no doubt get more use over the festive season than it does for most of the year, so make sure it’s eco-friendly. If you’re having new kitchen cabinets installed, choose eco-friendly options in recycled or environmentally friendly materials. Check whether your appliances are energy efficient. If you’ve had them a long time, then they can start to become inefficient and cost a fortune to run. Make sure you have recycling and compost bin to hand too.

Chirstmas decorations

When it comes to dinner, try to shop local, supporting businesses in your community and cutting down your food miles. Opt for organic or sustainably farmed turkey and seafood, and once you’ve enjoyed your main Christmas meal, make use of the leftovers so there’s less waste. Cold leftovers are great on a hot day.


With families and friends all dashing around trying to see their loved ones, Christmas travel is chaotic, not to mention bad for the environment. Air travel is one of the biggest strains on the planet, so consider alternatives such as:

  • Lift sharing – driving isn’t eco-friendly, but sharing with other passengers makes it eco-friendlier, as well as saving you money
  • Trains – Although it takes longer, travelling by train allows you to see more of Australia, and gives you time to relax during your journey. A train such as Perth to Sydney takes two days, but feels like a holiday in itself
  • Coach – Coach services such as Greyhound Australia are much cheaper than flying, and mean you don’t have to deal with stressful drives. Book an overnight journey and sleep through the trip

Remember, if you’re going away on a trip, make sure energy isn’t wasted when you’re gone. For example, re-programme your air conditioning so it only comes on for short bursts, enough to remove humidity and keep pets comfortable.

If you’re planning on updating your kitchen before the festive season, get in touch with ecocabinets in Perth on 0468 608 512 for an environmentally friendly option.

9 Ways You Can Be More Eco-Friendly at Home

There’s no doubt that the planet is at a crucial stage, and scientists are worried about the human impact on the environment. With scary headlines about how areas such as the Great Barrier Reef are under threat, and many people have been spurned into action, finding ways to make their own homes eco-friendlier. This can be by looking for kitchen cupboards that are made with eco-friendly materials, or by making small changes that make a big impact. Here are some things you can do around the home that lessen your impact on the environment.

  1. Cut down on plastic

plastic itemsSingle-use plastic is one of the major environmental disasters of our time, with plastic not only clogging up our landfills, but also finding its way to the ocean. While some plastics can be recycled, the process still isn’t as efficient as recycling glass or cardboard, so much of it is thrown out. With the average person creating nearly 2kg of waste a day, cutting down on disposables and using more recyclable waste can make a big difference.

Some small changes you can make include:

  • Using reusable shopping bags – jute or canvas are ideal
  • Buying a water filter instead of bottled water
  • Buying food products in glass, rather than plastic packaging
  • Using bar shampoo and shower gel


  1. Opt for light colours

When re-designing your home, consider using lightly coloured walls, cabinets, and flooring. During a hot Perth summer, having light colours inside the home can help keep it cool. It’s the same reason why homes are often painted light colours on the outside, as they reflect sunlight, meaning you use less air conditioning.


  1. Switch to LED bulbs

led bulb


An easy step you can take is to switch to LED lighting. While LED bulbs are initially more expensive, they use less energy, don’t create heat, and don’t use more power if they’re switched on and off lots of times, so they can save money in the long term.



  1. Shop smarter

Impulse buying can be bad for the planet, as well as your wallet, so think twice before you make any purchases. When you buy an item online or in a store, that’s a lot of energy that’s been used to create the product, plus shipping it to you, so buying less cuts your carbon footprint. Next time you’re about to add something to your cart, think about how many times you’ll really use the product, and whether you have something in the home you can already use.

Food waste is also a major issue in Australia, with tonnes of food that has been grown, picked, and transported ending up in the bin. Create a weekly meal plan before you buy your groceries, ensuring that you don’t buy more than you need, and don’t be tempted by multibuy offers on food with a short shelf life.


  1. Repair things



A great way to buy less is to take time to repair things around the home. Landfill is full of items such as small appliances that could be repaired easily, yet are so cheap to replace that they’ve simply been thrown out. Have a look on YouTube for troubleshooting guides, and learn how to do simple repairs such as changing a fuse. Parts are often easily available online, but if you don’t have any DIY skills, then you can simply find a repairperson in your local area who’ll often charge less than the cost of a replacement, and keep the item out of landfill.



  1. Compost

Composting is an easy way to get rid of kitchen scraps and garden waste. Environmentally friendly, as well as good for your garden, compost fertilises your soil. Add a small waste bin in your kitchen for peelings and scraps, excluding fish and meat leftovers, and simply add into your compost bin along with any grass or tree cuttings.


Coffee grounds are also great for compost, or can be used directly on your plants to fertilise them, so ask your local coffee shop if they’ll give you a bag of leftovers.


  1. Grow fruit and vegetables

An excellent way to put your compost to use is to grow your own fruit and vegetables. Commercial farming puts a big strain on the environment, using lots of water and pesticides, plus transporting this food, so growing some of your food at home can cut your carbon footprint.

Perth has sandy soils, so root vegetables are generally easy to grow, such as carrots, potatoes, and parsnips. Greens such as lettuce and leafy plants can be grown in local soils too, as well as fruits including strawberries and raspberries.


  1. carrot in groundCook smart

When you’re cooking, use less energy by learning to use residual heat. For example, when cooking vegetables, put a tight lid on the saucepan, and turn the heat off a couple of minutes before the end of the cooking time. The same can be done with your oven, which will hold the heat for a few minutes after being shut off if the door is kept closed.


  1. Decorate in an eco-friendly way

Everyone wants their home to look fresh and new, but changing your style all the time can be expensive and a strain on the environment. You can lessen your environmental impact by:

  • Using environmentally friendly paints
  • Installing cabinets and fixtures made with recycled or environmentally friendly materials
  • Re-using old furniture – for example re-upholstering sofas and having wood furniture re-varnished
  • Having appliances repaired and professionally cleaned instead of replaced

Decorating can be expensive, and by choosing more eco-friendly options, you can also save yourself money. You can also change little things around your home, rather than going for a complete overhaul. For example, installing new kitchen cabinets instead of an entire kitchen, or simply changing the accessories in a room instead of completely redecorating.

If you’re considering renovating your kitchen and want to use environmentally friendly methods, then get in touch with ecocabinets of Perth on 0468 608 512.

What Are the Most Durable Countertop Materials?

Style is an important factor when choosing a kitchen. After all, it’s an important part of your home, and adding features such as your custom kitchen cabinets in Perth can make a big difference. However, kitchens also need to be built to last, and when you invest in a new kitchen, you want to know it’ll stand up to repeated use across the years. That’s why the materials you use are so important, especially when it comes to the countertops.

Understanding the Need for Strong Materials

The kitchen is one of the most high traffic rooms in your house and as a result your countertops will see a lot of use on a daily basis. Beyond this regular day to day use, the materials in your kitchen also need to be able to withstand the hazards that come with preparing and cooking meals. Hot pots and pans can quickly burn through non-fire resistant surfaces, and you’ll need materials that won’t get damaged by sharp knives. It’s important that countertops are easy to clean and look good after a quick wipe.

With these risks in mind, it’s critical to consider the durability of the materials you’re planning on using in your Perth kitchen countertops. Here at Ecocabinets, we’re proud to be a leading provider of environmentally conscious custom kitchen designs and installations. Read on to learn more about our top picks of hard wearing countertop materials that can withstand the challenges of everyday life.

  1. Quartz

Comprised of one of the toughest minerals on the planet, perhaps it isn’t too surprising that quartz countertops have exploded in popularity in recent years.

Quartz countertops are created using ground up quartz, which is bound together using polyester resin. The end result is a material that is incredibly durable and resistant to scratches, making it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to build resilient kitchen cupboards in Perth. For even greater longevity, consider rounding the edges and corners of your quartz countertops to minimise the risk of chips further down the track.

Despite its impressive durability, quartz makes no sacrifices in the looks department. In years gone by, quartz countertops typically came only in simple, artificial colours, but new manufacturing techniques have made it possible to create wonderfully intricate and organic patterns that are almost indistinguishable from real stone.

  1. Granite

While natural granite continues to be a popular choice among discerning customers, engineered granite is proving to be a very strong alternative. The latter offers the same gorgeous aesthetic and super durability as its organic counterpart, and even manages to improve on some of its characteristics.

For example, natural granite has been known to develop cracks and chips due to naturally occurring fissures and cavities that exist within the stone, particularly if the stone hasn’t been sealed. In contrast, engineered granite does not have these inconsistencies and is both heavier and harder than natural granite, making it almost impossible to crack or chip with regular use.

In addition, natural granite is typically more porous. Although this trait can provide great texture, it also makes the stone more susceptible to stains, particularly those caused by oils and food colouring.


  1. Dekton

A newer material that has been specially developed for areas such as countertops, Dekton is made by a process that’s similar to how stone is formed over time, using heat and pressure to create an incredibly strong material, but without the micro-defects found in natural stones. Dekton offers advantages such as:

  • High levels of scratch resistant
  • Completely stain proof – because Dekton isn’t porous, even stubborn stains can be wiped away
  • Resistant to very high and low heats
  • Abrasion resistant – will stay looking good even in the busiest kitchens

Dekton is available in a wide variety of colours and finishes. You can choose countertops that closely resemble stone, concrete, or marble, with interesting textures to give a luxe finish to your kitchen.

  1. Neolith

Neolith is a similar material as Dekton, and a great alternative to natural stone. This sintered material is light, so easy to install as a countertop, yet incredibly strong, resisting bending and able to withstand large amounts of heat or cold. Because Neolith is also resistant to UV rays, it stays looking new for longer.

If sustainability is a factor in your choice of countertops, then Neolith is an environmentally friendly choice. Neolith is made without resin or any substances harmful to the environment. When it’s created, around 52% of the materials used are recycled, and when you decide to next your countertops, Neolith is 100% recyclable.

  1. Solid Surfaces

Having been a staple in kitchen design for the past half century or so, it’s fair to say that solid surface countertops have stood the test of time. Available in a broad selection of patterns and colours, solid surface countertops can be incorporated into just about any kitchen design. They’re also very versatile and can be moulded into almost any shape, meaning it’s possible to use solid surfaces in a variety of applications, including backsplashes, sinks, counters and more.

Functionally, the biggest advantage of solid surface countertops is that they’re almost entirely non-porous. This makes the material stain resistant, allows for easy cleaning and minimises the risk of bacteria growth. However, while solid surfaces are very strong, they are not heat resistant and are quite vulnerable to cuts and scratches. It is possible to sand these imperfections down, but some people will be put off by the prospect of extra maintenance.

  1. Paperock

Paperock offer a range of composite materials that are ideal for use in the kitchen, providing affordable yet durable countertops. Their range includes:

  • Paperock Ply – Made up of layers of wood finished off with laminate outer layers, Paperock Ply adds a unique feature to your kitchen. Heat resistant to 180ºC, the top layer is non-porous, so they have the classic wooden look, but are easy to wipe and clean
  • Paperock Solid – Created with layers and layers of recycled paper, then bonded with resin and cured with heat and pressure, Paperock Solid makes stylish and sustainable countertops. Because it’s non-porous, it absorbs no water and therefore has high levels of stain resistance
  • Paperock Layered – Made in a similar way to Paperock Solid, this range has a layered look that adds an interesting feature to your kitchen, and is finished with a shiny non-porous surface

From style to storage options, there are many things to consider when designing custom kitchen cupboards in Perth. Armed with the information in this article, you’ll be better able to make an informed decision when the time comes to selecting a countertop material.

Looking to design, build or install high quality kitchen cabinetry in Perth? With a focus on beautiful design and sustainable business practices, Ecocabinets has the specialist expertise needed to complete your project to the highest of standards. Get in touch with the Ecocabinets team today for your free design consultation.