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New Zealanders gifting with the environment in mind this Christmas

Next year, over 30,000 new native trees will be planted around the country thanks to New Zealanders choosing to gift sustainably this Christmas.

Conservation charity Trees That Count launched a Christmas gifting campaign in November that encourages New Zealanders to avoid waste generated from unwanted Christmas gifts and fund a native tree instead.

Trees That Count matches the funds received with native trees for planting groups across New Zealand, and people who are gifted a tree are kept informed of where their tree is planted and how it’s growing.

“We’re working to change our kiwi gifting traditions to be less focused on ‘stuff’ and more focused on growing our future,” says Chief Executive Adele Fitzpatrick, who cites research from recycling company Reclaim which states New Zealanders throw away 30% more rubbish over the summer holiday period than usual.

The same research also shows the waste kiwis generate nearly doubles the week after Christmas, which amounts to an extra 50,000 tonnes of waste that week alone.

“I think as kiwis we jump at the chance to be more environmentally friendly, but we don’t often know how. Gifting a tree has resonated with people as a way to do this, and we’ve seen loads of people decide native trees are the way to go this Christmas,” says Fitzpatrick.

“That’s a lovely shift in focus.  We have a live count of trees being gifted on our website, so we’re watching it tick over every few minutes.  Nice one, kiwis.”

Trees That Count data shows a trend of grandparents giving native trees to their grandchildren, trees given to teachers from children and more corporates opting to gift trees to customers and staff, ranging from big businesses like Mazda who gifted thousands of native trees to customers, to small kiwi-owned businesses like Mad Campers gifting trees to travellers in New Zealand for Christmas.

“We’re thrilled to have hit a chord with people, but it’s not just Trees That Count that benefits from more native trees being planted. More native trees mean more habitats for our native birds, better water quality in our streams, cleaner air and more beautiful places for future generations to explore.”