12 Ways to a Greener Christmas


Monday, June 12, 2006

Merseyside revellers are being urged to think green this festive season as waste bosses promote ‘12 green tips’ for Christmas.

Carl Beer, Director of Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (MWDA), said: “Christmas has traditionally come to mean over-indulging on food, drink and presents, and it is estimated that British households generate three million tonnes of waste over the festive period, including cards, food waste and trees.

“There’s no reason why we can’t all celebrate in a greener way. There are at least 12 simple ways to avoid the mountain of extra rubbish we normally collect at this time of year, and give our conscience a break in the process.”

Cllr Kevin Cluskey, Chairman of MWDA, said: “If we don’t cut down the amount of rubbish we are producing then taxpayers could potentially face fines of millions of pounds – Christmas is as good a time as any to turn over a new leaf.”

The 12 tips for a more environmentally-friendly holiday are:

1) Buy Christmas cards made from recycled materials – the smaller the better – or make your own from last year’s cards (or send festive e-cards).

2) The greenest Christmas tree is one bought in a pot that can then be replanted in the garden after the festivities. If you buy a rootless version, remember to recycle the tree later at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) – see www.merseysidewda.gov.uk for details of your local Centre.

3) Save on product waste by buying an ‘experience’ gift, such as concert tickets, football tickets, a flying lesson or a year’s membership to a museum or attraction.

4) When you use the supermarket, insist on buying loose, unwrapped fruit and veg.

5) Look out for wrapping paper made from recycled paper. Look in charity shops for ideas. Or for smaller gifts design and print your own wrapping paper. And instead of using sticky tape to wrap gifts, try string, ribbon or lengths of wool. Make gift tags from last year’s Christmas cards. Recycle your Christmas wrapping paper and cardboard boxes at your local HWRC.

6) Vegetable leftovers, egg shells, tea bags, cardboard egg boxes and even scrunched-up paper can be thrown on the garden compost heap.

7) Either re-use old Christmas cards and wrapping paper or take them to a HWRC. Last year the Woodland Trust collected and recycled 82 million cards across Britain – that’s 1,630 tonnes of rubbish diverted from landfill. The Woodland Trust’s recycling scheme (2nd – 31st January) includes points at many WH Smith and TK Maxx stores as well as Tesco. See www.woodland-trust.org.uk Don’t forget to put glass and plastic bottles, tins, cans and paper in recycle boxes too.

8) Instead of exchanging presents, give home-made vouchers that allow you to swap, say, an hour’s ironing for a massage.

9) Buying one larger product instead of several smaller ones cuts down on the amount of packaging required.

10) Take your old plastic shopping bags with you to do the Christmas shopping or, better still, buy a re-usable bag-for-life.

11) Buy a waste-free gift for someone – have a tree planted on their behalf at www.treeforall.org.uk or www.carbonneutral.com

12) Using disposable plates, cups and glasses might be a tempting time saver at parties but you’re simply creating more waste. Instead, borrow enough washable crockery and glassware from friends and family. Also, remember to recycle your glass bottles and jars at either kerbside, HWRC or bottle banks.