Tips For A Greener Christmas Image via WikipediaAs we enter a few weeks of mass consumerism and over indulgence, here are a few tips to green up your Christmas and save you money.
Shopping - buy presents from charities or fair-trade sources and where possible don't buy over-packaged goods. Think about what you're buying and why - don't buy just for the sake of it. There are loads of eco-friendly ideas for Christmas - wind-up torches, something for the garden. There's a wide range of 'green' gifts - from adopting an endangered animal to 'buying' a sheep for an African community to supporting your local wildlife charity.
Christmas Lights - switch them off when you go out and don't have them on all the time. Use energy efficient bulbs in the rest of the house to at least offset some of the energy used. One low energy bulb will save as much energy in the coming year as 30 strings of fairy lights over 12 days. LED lights are brighter and use a lot less energy than traditional bulbs.
Wrapping paper - most of this can't be recycled as it contains little actual paper and too much foil and plastic with added sticky tape and labels. Save as much as you can for re-use next year. Use ribbons and string to tie up packages.
Cards - save money and resources by sending electronic cards to colleagues and give the money saved to charity. Recycle cards to local charities or cut up into gift tags for next year.
Festive spirit - recycle all those bottles in the nearest bottle bank or in your kerbside collections.
Trees - if you have a real tree - make sure it's from a local, sustainable source. Thousands of Christmas trees and grown, cut and dumped each year. Most councils will take trees for recycling after Christmas so they can be composted or chipped for local parks and gardens. Buy a rooted one and plant it out in the garden - if you're lucky you can re-use it next year.
Decorations - deck the halls with boughs of holly - well at least see what you can harvest from your garden to decorate the house - holly, ivy, berries and evergreen plants provide a more natural display and can be composted at the end of the festive season.
Christmas Dinner - buy locally at your farmers market and steer clear of intensively produced food which stresses not only the animals but the environment. Farmers markets can be cheaper than supermarkets, have a wide range of seasonal produce, reduces the food miles and tastes far better.
Check out some of the other energy saving tips that apply year-round and not just at Christmas.