This year Ecoceanic Swim and Nakawe Project are teaming up as WasteElves.
Want some new ideas for having a fabulous Christmas on a smaller budget than last year? Fed up with seeing piles of black plastic bags full of rubbish after Christmas?
We can give you a helping hand to save money, the environment and time over the festive season with ideas to reduce, re-use and recycle items that would normally end up in the bin and landfill.
Cards: Research has found that in 2015, 1.4 billion cards were sold, and on average, individuals send an average of 19 cards each. This leaves families with many cards to take down and dispose of in January. The sentimental individuals among us probably store their cards in a box for keep safe. But the majority will throw away most of our cards. When getting rid of these, they should be recycled as normal. Up to 1 billion cards could end up in the bin, rather than recycled. Look out for Christmas card recycling bins in January.
REUSE: For creative types; cards can be made into bookmarks, interesting collages for picture frames, scrapbooks, made into drinks coasters, or turned into new Christmas cards!
It has become clear that although waste over the Christmas period waste is inevitable, however, a lot of it could be avoided, through recycling and reuse. Every little really does help; so by following some of the tips on this blog for a more green-fingered environmentally friendly Christmas.
Wrapping paper: It’s firstly important to check whether your wrapping paper can be recycled. Some is paper based, which is fine to recycle, yet others have a plastic or metallic coated finish, which unfortunately cannot be recycled. If you are green-fingered and concerned for the environment and waste, then luckily you can purchase recyclable paper. My grandmother taught me to always unwrap presents without tearing the paper to reuse the paper and ribbon/twine. This not only saves the environment but saves money.
Reduce & reuse: You can also reuse other things like old t-shirts or old paper like butcher’s paper — that can be around the house to wrap presents,
Reuse: If you are creative in any way, funky coloured wrapping paper can be used to wrap notebooks in, line bookshelves with, made into paper chains or other decorations to hang up.
Christmas and food, they’re inseparable. Approximately 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 17.2 million Brussel sprouts are thrown away every Christmas. It’s not just the food which gets wasted, from champagne to jars of cranberry sauce, 13,350 tonnes of glass are thrown out after Christmas. Recycling all of them could save 4,200 tonnes of CO2 equivalent being produced.
However, there is really no reason to throw out all this leftover food.
Whether you think of turkey, mince pies or chocolates hung on the tree, food is usually a large part of our celebrations. However, turkey sandwiches for a week after Christmas or not enough food to feed the 3 extra relatives you’d forgotten you’d invited can put a dampener on our festivities.
TREES: Research has found only 1 in 5 have a real tree; owing to popularity of convenient fake trees which can be used year after year, and save families money. Environmentally however, a fake tree would have to be used at least 10 years to keep its environmental impact less than that of a real tree, due to its large carbon footprint being made of plastic. For those who have the garden space to do it, consider getting a potted tree that you can plant and pot after Christmas and dig out when Christmas comes round. This saves money, and is much greener method. If you do not have a potted tree, your leftover tree can be put in a compost heap and left to slowly biodegrade, chopped up and taken to a woodland, where it will make a nice home for many critters and small mammals. Alternatively, you can arrange for the local council to pick it up.
REDUCE: Have an artificial tree. You can use your tree again and again. It doesn’t have to be decorated the same way each year and at least you know it will fit the awkward spot between the sofa and TV every year! If you chose this option get a tree you will keep for years and years to keep it’s environmental impact
REUSE: Buy a real tree in a pot. Keep your tree watered whilst indoors (it’ll drop needles and die if you forget) and put it in your garden for the rest of the year. Next Christmas bring your bigger tree back indoors.
BUYING: If you can buy a good quality second-hand item, you’re reusing it and stopping it from going to landfill. It prevents a new item from having to be made and you can buy items that you know are going to be used.