Energy saving this, recycle that, eco friend the other, honestly, if you are the type of person who gets fed up hearing these terms then perhaps you should not read on, as this article is all about having a green Christmas. When you think about the amount of waste that Christmas makes, typically we buy too much food, use an enormous amount of energy, purchase unwanted presents that get put away and not used, and that’s without talking about the thousands of Christmas cards we send. We are always being told that we should be more ‘green’ and think about the environment so why does that automatically stop at Christmas? By adopting a few simple techniques, we can all do our bit and save on fuel costs, food shopping and protect the Earth at the same time. Here are our top tips to get you started. If you have any green Christmas tips please use our comments section and tell us.
Did you know that an estimated 1.7 billion Christmas cards are sent each year in Britain? This is the equivalent of 200,000 trees, but around 1 million Christmas cards are thrown away every year. Why not make your own, or send texts or e-cards instead. My sister has actually emailed friends and family and told them that she won’t be sending cards this year but instead she is donating the money she would have spent to a charity. If you do buy cards, don’t forget to recycle them, you’ll find that most supermarkets offer recycling points.
Recycled Wrapping Paper
What’s the point of recycling rubbish if you don’t buy recycled products! It is estimated that 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper end up in our rubbish bins each year. That could wrap up a small Channel Island! Recycled wrapping paper is available to buy, WH Smith stock it, or you could try designer Lisa Jone’s paper recycled wrapping paper.
Use Real Holly for Decorations
Don’t spend money on artificial Christmas decorations that won’t biodegrade, instead, let nature decorate your home. You can make great decorations for your house from cloves stuck in oranges, gingerbread and Christmas cookies, holly, seasonal berries, ivy and evergreen branches. Then once you have finished with them, you can put them in the composting bin.
If you have read our article on Christmas trees – real or Fake? You will know that real ones are far more eco friendly. Artificial trees are made using toxic chemicals and give off these chemicals when produced, they have to travel long distances to get here and they are not biodegradeable. Real trees are carbon neutral, absorbing as much carbon dioxide as they grow as they will emit when burnt or left to decompose. They are also a wildlife habitat and a naturally renewable resource, and generally feel much nicer in your home. They can be planted in your garden after Christmas, and even used again next year.
Buy Rechargeable Batteries
Most toys and novelty gifts require batteries and with constant use they will soon run out of power. I have got the same four rechargeable batteries that I bought with my digital camera over 8 years ago and they are still able to charge up. Just think of the savings I have made and the fact that I have not had to purchase any more. Moreover, batteries contain toxic chemicals, don’t biodegrade and are difficult to recycle. They cost more to begin with plus you have to buy the charger but some stores are now doing ‘value’ or reduced cost ones.
Recycle Your Unwanted Presents
My brother and I always used to give each a rubbish present every year which cost about a fiver until we came up with a solution. Now we donate that fiver to a charity of our choice. If you have received an unwanted present, don’t let it go to waste, instead, donate it to a local hospital or hospice who will be very pleased to receive your unwanted gifts to give to patients. Another way to be rid of an unwanted present is to find a regifting website or forum and swap them for other people’s unwanted gifts! Or there is always ebay!
And don’t forget to turn off your Christmas fairy lights!