I know, I know, it comes round so quickly, it only seems like a few months ago that you were Christmas shopping and hanging up your decorations. But like it or not, Christmas is here again and everyone in the recycling team (all three of us) will be doing our utmost to make the festive period a sustainable and environmentally friendly occasion.
So how do you prepare for a greener and more sustainable Christmas when you have to get a tree, put up decorations, buy lots of food and drink and buy and wrap lots of presents?
Well, there are some measures you can take to try and reduce your impact on the Worlds resources at a time of mass consumerism. The following are some ideas and tips that we’ve put together from a wide range of sources that will help you reduce waste, tackle contamination (which is a massive problem in Lewisham) and make your food go a little further without wasting it.
One of the early purchases around Christmas time is the tree. What are the options when it comes to deciding on what type of tree to buy and where do you buy it from? Then when you have finished with it, what do you do with it?
Well, if you have an artificial tree that’s still in good condition, then use that. Whilst they are made of PVC and cannot be recycled, if you already have one, then it may as well be put to use. It can also be used year after year after year.
However, if you want a tree with the environment in mind, a real tree is the way forward. Christmas trees are farmed on land that is usually not suitable for other crops and are converted to mulch or wood chips after use leaving virtually no residual waste. Try to buy a UK tree which do provide a habitat for wildlife whilst growing. The best option would be a tree with a rootball intact that can be planted afterwards or kept in a container. More information on trees can be found here: http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/1711560/eco_christmas_trees.html
So the tree is up, now the decorations. What about re-purposing old decorations? Sleigh bells from last year that adorned a wreath that you don’t use any more can go on your tree and save you money. Also, if every family reused just two feet of ribbon, the 28,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around planet Earth?
Cheap Christmas ornaments can be made from wine corks. These reindeers for example are cheap and easy to make.
If you want to know how to make them, please see the following link. There are also other ideas on this site that can be used: http://www.remodelandolacasa.com/2014/11/jfekw.html
Once you have the tree and decorations up, you’ll start thinking about food and drink over the Christmas period. The Recycling Team can’t stress enough how useful the Love Food Hate Waste message is. Figures show that Britons throw out the equivalent of 2m turkeys, 5m Christmas puddings and 74m mince pies.
If you’re unsure of what to do with leftover turkey, vegetables, mince pies or the odd spare Christmas pudding, then fear not, there is a website that can help with all of these things. The Love Food Hate Waste website has been set up to inform and educate people about the enormous waste of food that goes on everyday. There’s also an enormous amount of recipe ideas which everyone will find very useful, see the link here: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/
And don’t forget to compost. All manner of peelings are generated over Christmas which your compost bin will devour. Its simple and easy.
As for the drink, whilst that will keep and won’t be in danger of going off quickly, there are things to think about when it comes to the packaging of those drinks. Christmas generates enormous amounts of plastic and glass bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.
These can all be recycled using your recycling bin. One thing to remember however is to ensure everything that goes in there is clean and contamination free. Please do not use the recycling bin for food waste, garden waste and also for textiles. The latter can go into a textile bank or a charity shop. Please use the following link to find out exactly what can go into your recycling bin: http://goo.gl/rqh90J
After prolonged partying you eventually make it through Christmas and start the new year with lots of optimism. One of the first things to think about is when you take your real Christmas tree down, what are you going to do with it? Well, if you live near a Lewisham park, why not bring it along and leave it at a designated spot. From here we will collect it and turn it into mulch which will be used on the parks and gardens across the borough. The list of parks where trees can be left is on the following link: http://recycleforlewisham.com/2011/12/08/christmas-tree-recycling-locations/
And finally, there’s just the New Years resolution to make. You could start the year on a much greener footing and say that you will recycle more this year and make all efforts to stop contamination of the recycling bins? Did we mention this was a problem?
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Lewisham residents.