Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Going Green(er) for Xmas - Some Ideas

It’s estimated we in GB will create 3 million tonnes of rubbish this Xmas – enough to fill 400,000 double decker buses! That’s crazy! Can we do better? Here’s a few ideas…..

  1. Agree a cash cap for presents for your nearest and dearest – then everyone’s playing by the same (proportionate) rules.
  2. Make a NUP (No Unnecessary Present ) pact with friends, or at least agree a Secret Santa scheme – where a group of family, friends or work colleagues agree a budget together and secretly draw names for who needs to buy for whom (one present for each recipient) . This way you need buy only one present for the group, rather than a dozen or more.
  3. Buy a live Xmas tree with roots – so you can replant after use – and use next year.
  4. Give cinema or concert tickets, or membership of a favourite museum, or similar as a present – the promise of nice experiences rather than more (often disposable) ’stuff’.
  5. Make a difference/get a warm glow from helping others: give presents to those who can’t imagine the sort of Xmas we can enjoy. www.practicalpresents.org, www.wwf.org.uk and ‘Oxfam Unwrapped’ include great gift ideas (from goats to floating gardens). Closer to home, help give a homeless person a place at a Crisis for Christmas centre – donate via www.crisis.org.uk.
  6. Check out ‘eco stores’ (e.g. www.nigelsecostore.com) for sustainable gifts: amazing!
  7. If you’re buying Xmas lights, check out LED lights: they look good and are far more energy-efficient, saving you £££s in the long run.
  8. If you’re talented in the kitchen, make chutneys, cakes or similar and give as presents.
  9. Buy/give locally-produced or recycled gifts: they’re often unique. Source from the likes of Handmade Hayfield , New Mills Gallery, flea markets and antique shops.
  10. Buy your Xmas meal from locally-sourced supplies (e.g. farmers’ markets). It’s been estimated the ingredients for the average supermarket-driven UK Xmas meal have travelled a combined 49,000 kilometres before appearing on your plate. That’s just madness!
  11. Buy rechargeable batteries – available from the likes of B & Q.
  12. Buy Brussels sprouts (yes, sprouts!) on the stalk – they’ll last 2 weeks stored outside, saving fridge space.
  13. Get your fruit and veg loose – avoiding all that unnecessary plastic packaging. And, if you need to buy some packaged food, avoid getting individual portions: so much wasteful packaging, when the fridge/freezer is available for storage.
  14. Make a few handmade/natural decorations – these can be so much more elegant and distinctive. And it needn’t mean much work. Consider: a spray or two of holly/ivy, a pine wreath, a decorated branch, beeswax candles, hanging snowflakes cut from white paper.
  15. Wrap presents in plain brown wrapping paper, with a festive ribbon, string or raffia binder: they can look very stylish!
  16. Turn off all appliances not in use. Avoid standby mode, which still uses 13-18% of the electricity needed to power them. Save ££££s! Turn off fairy lights overnight or when you’re away. If you’re prone to forget, get some timers to switch them on/off automatically.
  17. Why not be kind to yourself and plan your meals for two or three days, making best use of leftovers from the ‘big meals’, in sandwiches with/without salad garnish or especially, in nourishing stews?
  18. Re-use/recycle your Xmas cards. Cut them up for next year’s home-made cards or gift tags from them or at least take them to WH Smith/Tesco collection points where they’ll be well-used to raise money for The Woodland Trust.
  19. Let’s be honest – some of the presents we get are often unwanted. Recycle these: take to a charity shop or give away to others via e.g. www.freecycle.org.
  20. Use excess cooking fat, mixed with muesli, to make fat balls for the birds. While warm, spoon the mix into muffin cases, add a hanging string or make sure they fit your bird feeder.