Making your white Christmas green!
18th December 2017
With less than one week to go until the Christmas holidays kick off in all their glory, the increasing media coverage of all things ‘Christmas’ has got me thinking about the festive period.
Throughout my years in the waste and resource sector I am always looking for new ways to reduce waste and increase reuse that are simple and easy to adopt. Here are a few of my festive favourites to help minimise guilt and waste generation this festive holiday, without making you look like a bit of a Scrooge!
First of all, think about all the wrapping paper we use, and what little chance it has of ever being reused or recycled. Why do we love to tear and rip open our presents? My advice would be to unwrap the presents carefully and keep the wrapping paper safe with your decorations – I presume you reuse these year on year – ready for next year.
Or as I did one year, use the offprints from one of my academic papers, and wrap all your presents in that, as the better quality paper is more likely to be recycled, and it allowed me to send a very personal waste management message to boot.
Remember, not all wrapping paper can be recycled, before you throw it away be sure to try the scrunch test!
Secondly, Christmas cards – try to make sure they have a high recycled content (you need to help close the loop) and are simple cards that aren’t covered in tinsel, glitter and other shiny additions so they can be recycled. If possible make sure they are supporting a worthy charity too, after all it is the season of good will!
With used Christmas cards it is a good idea to give them a second life, and my preference is to cut them up and use the best bits as gift tags and decorations for next year. Over recent years I have seriously decreased the number of physical cards I send, and with the explosion that is social media, I have embraced Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my Christmas message.
And finally, think about the presents you buy for friends and family and in particular the toys for your children.
Could you recycle an old board game or repair a discarded favourite toy from your youth? My son is currently playing table football with his grandparents on a table I was given 35 years ago! But, if you are wanting to buy something, new then perhaps choose something with more ‘green credentials’ like LEGO that will stay with you from generation to generation…
A personal message this Christmas
Christmas maybe the time of goodwill to all men and women but it is also becoming a symbol of consumerism, and we must act to address this now. We must all make our decisions, and live with them.
Now please don’t let this Grinch get you down, and remember that every little helps. I believe now is the time to embrace the education opportunity that Christmas brings, and to look to a future where design for disassembly, repair and repurposing are the norm.