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The Dirty Problem Fuelled By Our $10 Billion Christmas Buying Frenzy

Christmas is a time for giving, family and all the rest of it -- but we could be a bit less generous with our rubbish output.

Christmas brings a lot of joy, but also incredible expenditure. According to the Commonwealth Bank, Australians are set to spend over $10 billion at Christmas time.

Those gifts of course need to be wrapped, and Aussies certainly get through our packaging over the Christmas period.

Last year, we used over 150,000 kilometres of Christmas wrapping paper, according to CARE Australia. That's enough to wrap around the Earth nearly four times.

We are throwing away hundreds of thousands of kilometres of wrapping paper per year. (Image AAP)

“Christmas is that time where we over-consume, we buy things we don’t really need, in a frenzy we buy things that we could make better purchases and make better choices for,” Richard Leck, WWF's Australia's head of Oceans and Sustainable Development, told 10 Daily.

With the sheer amount of presents that are bought over Christmas, there's always going to be a certain amount of wastage -- but we can still cut back.

"If it's only going to be used once don't use it, think of an alternative, think how you're going to manage that and then re-use it and re-use it again," Leck said.

All those christmas chocolate wrappings have to go somewhere...(Image AAP)

With landfill on the rise and more mixing up of rubbish and recycling during the festive period, this naturally puts more pressure on waste processing.

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“Christmas is a time of a lot of presents and packaging and we’re in a gift culture... that inevitably produces a lot of waste,” William Clarke, Professor of Waste Management at the University of Queensland, told 10 Daily.

There's always that weird plastic gift the kids never use. (Image AAP)

However, Australians do appear to be getting on board with reducing their waste, according to Leck.

In the last three months, national figures show there's been an 80 percent drop in plastic bag usage, and Leck holds out hope that will extend over the Christmas period.

And the people we need to look to for inspiration in reducing our carbon footprint? None other than our kids.

"What we have found is that it's actually kids who are so passionate about plastics," said Leck.

Feature Image: AAP

Contact the author: mgay@networkten.com.au