Let’s try to be a bit more gentle on the planet this Christmas. We have collected some ideas for a greener Christmas (in no particular order!) and would love to hear from you, what would you do?
- Have a massive clear out: You can sell (if you have time) or donate to charity or to someone else. Become a member of your local free share group (it’s free) to offer the items you no longer need. Items usually get picked up quickly. Recently we’ve given away a broken computer, a broken shredder, a collapsed wardrobe, some big boxes of children clothing and children toys, some fabric scraps… Somebody’s junk is someone’s treasure!
- Use and recycle: Now look at everything that can be used or reused. Be creative! Last year’s Christmas pudding leftover dried fruit ma a lovely dried fruit salad for example. Cut up last year’s Christmas cards to make gift tags (or if you’re really crafty, they can make excellent material for new Christmas cards). After Christmas, many stores have cards recycling stations, keep an eye out for them. Instead of sending Christmas cards, you can also send e-cards and donate the equivalent to a charity.
- Give yourself a ‘green’ challenge: If you’re not already doing it, recycle all your glass and plastic bottles until the New Year. Some councils don’t take them from your house but you can find recycle points everywhere. (Obviously it would be better to walk there than drive!)
- If you choose a ‘real’ Christmas tree, remember to contact your council to enquire about Christmas tree recycling.
- Forget wrapping paper! Imagine the tons of paper used every year just to end up in the bin. Open your presents carefully, fold the paper away and reuse it. Use craft paper and fabric ribbons which can be used and reused (and composted when they’re really done). Get the kids to decorate some old boxes with paint, cut outs, magazines, fabric scraps… Sew some easy reusable gift bags which can be used and reused for birthdays, parties, keep the kids’ things organised.
- Start your Christmas shopping early. Throughout the year, jolt down some gift ideas. That way you won’t be stuck shopping for last minute gadgets which will be discarded after a few days.
- Buy good quality gifts: one way to protect the environment is to make sure that every item that is produced is fully used. This way we will have made the most of the resources used to produce it.
- Buy ethical gifts whenever possible. A wooden toy like the Lanka Kade collection helps provide families in Sri Lanka with a steady income. They are made of recycled rubberwood sourced from exhausted rubber plantations. Fairly traded fancy dress will provide hours of fun too. Organic products like bubble bath, massage oils are also thoughtful presents that you know will be well used. The instant gardens makes beautiful organic gifts for grown ups.
- Christmas is the perfect time of the year to discover your local food market. Produce is fresh, of excellent quality and usually produced locally. You will support your local economy and save on the fuel it would normally take to transport the produce to the supermarket.
That’s a few of our tips for a green Christmas. What about you? What do you do, don’t do?