Tips for an eco-friendly Christmas
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is encouraging residents to have their most sustainable, eco-friendly Christmas yet - without breaking the bank!
With Christmas preparations underway and many of us on the look-out for that special gift, why not try out some sustainable alternatives for your home, friends and family? With a few simple ideas, you can significantly decrease your waste and carbon footprint while still enjoying the festivities!
Christmas is one of the most wasteful times of the year- with an extra three million tonnes of waste produced and discarded throughout the festive period (up 30 per cent compared with the rest of the year). Small changes can make big improvements to the environment if everyone plays their part.
Some hints and tips for an eco-friendlier Christmas include:
1.Buy a real tree - Choose a FSC (Forest Steward Council) approved Christmas tree to ensure it’s grown sustainably. Research suggests that you need to keep an artificial tree 9 years for it to be as environmentally friendly as a real tree!
2.Save on paper waste by sending an e-card online. An estimated 1 billion Christmas cards – the equivalent of 33 million trees - end up in the recycling bin each Christmas.
3.If you need to gift-wrap, avoid glitter and plastic wrap. Why not make your own wrapping paper out of newspaper, brown paper or even a scarf! In the UK 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is used at Christmas.
4.Buy local for your Christmas dinner and gifts. This not only supports your local shops and economy but it also cuts down on transport emissions. Buy gifts which your family and friends would love such as membership of magazines, tickets to cinema or theatre or vouchers to their favourite restaurant.
5.Plan your menu ahead and use up those leftovers! Need recipe ideas? Log onto www.lovefoodhatewaste.com to save money and the environment.
6.Switch to LED lights. LED’s consume 80% less energy than twinkling incandescent lights. If you have any outdoor Christmas lights or decorations switch to solar powered and set them on a timer so you don’t waste any precious power.
7.Buy rechargeable batteries, they will last for years to come! A staggering 189 million batteries are used over the Christmas period!
8. Avoid single use plastic - Buy products which are made from compostable or recyclable materials. Shop around for plastic-free, wooden toys and avoid any games that contain plastic parts.
9. Re-gift unwanted presents! One in five of us received an unwanted present the last festive season. If you unwrapped something which wasn’t your taste have a think if there’s anyone else you can re-gift it to this year. A lot of charities also have donation schemes over Christmas.
We can all play a part in helping to ensure that the season of excess does not put a strain on our environment whilst fully enjoying the Christmas festivities.