It doesn’t feel like it was 12 months ago that we were putting together our usual list of tips and hints on how to make your Christmas as environmentally friendly as possible.
As with every Christmas, we always notice that there are new things that can be done to reduce waste on all fronts, whether its on present buying, present wrapping or cutting down on the waste associated with food and drink.
The following are the recycling teams guide to all residents to help them enjoy a hopefully white Christmas but also a green one too.
This topic alone generates a whole range of responses. Some websites say that if you have an artificial tree, then use that rather than buy a real one. Or maybe buy a second hand artificial tree? Failing that you can rent a Christmas tree and if buying a real tree, ensure its UK grown and from a grower registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.
And of course if you do go for the real tree option, please remember to recycle your Christmas tree at one of the many sites dotted around the borough. If you do this, then at least your tree will have a second life as mulch on garden beds and paths in the borough’s parks. Locations for recycling trees can be found here: http://goo.gl/RAOqY4
So, now that you’ve sourced your tree from an ethical supplier or dusted down the artificial tree from the loft, you just need to make it look the part in your home without worrying about the damage being done to the environment. The following link has some great ideas on how to make your own Christmas tree decorations from items that you would on any other day, throw in the bin. Making baubles using old CD’s, turning old light bulbs into Christmas penguins, reindeer’s made out of old toilet rolls? This can also be a fun activity to do with children.
The following link can help you out with the above as well as many other ideas: http://www.boredpanda.com/diy-christmas-ornaments/
With the tree and decorations in place, thoughts now turn to presents. Shopping on the high street or online will be most peoples experiences of Christmas gift buying. But there are other ‘greener’ or arguably more interesting options to consider. For example, you could look at making something yourself? Could you make soap for example? http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/knit-free/how-to-make-soap-soap-recipe-lavender
Or make a case for an iPad: http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/pattern-finder/sewing-projects/sewing-for-the-home/make-ipad-case
There are many websites offering ideas on making gifts that have the added advantage of the gifts not coming in any additional packaging and generating more waste.
Presents can also be wrapped in newspaper or in paper from magazines. If some ribbon is used to hold it together, the effect is such that you hardly pay attention to the fact that its not wrapped in proper Christmas wrapping paper. Once the presents have been opened, the wrapping paper can simply then go straight into the recycling bin – which might be the place you want to look to get it from?
Food and Drink
There is no doubt that the purchasing of food and drink has its fair share of waste if the right amount of planning isn’t taken into account. A huge resource of ideas, tips, hints and suggestions regarding food including freezing, storage, recipes and the using up of leftovers can be found on the Love Food Hate Waste website: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/
With regards to drink, then most of this will come in either a plastic bottle, an aluminium can, glass bottle or a tetra pak which fruit juice and now some wines come in. The good news is that you can recycle all of these things in Lewisham. Please make sure that over the Christmas period, you remember to recycle all drinks containers including those jars that once contained those Christmas pickles. All we ask is that everything is clean before it goes into your recycling bin. To find out exactly what goes into your recycling bin, please click on the following link: http://goo.gl/Gt9L9W
The recycling bin can also be used for all cardboard packaging which many gifts will come in. Our crews will endeavour to keep those bins emptied over the Christmas period, but please be aware of the changes to the service due to the holidays. Full details can be found on the following link: https://recycleforlewisham.com/2014/12/01/christmas-and-new-year-refuse-and-recycling-collection-arrangements/
By the afternoon of Christmas Day, presents will have been opened, wrapping paper and packaging will have been recycled and some presents might start to look like it wasn’t quite what you wanted. You might have the option of taking the item back with the receipt which is fine. If not, and the item in question is clothing, think about charity shops or a textile bank to ensure the item gets a second chance and will be worn by somebody who wants it.
A list of the textile banks can be found on the following link: http://goo.gl/G6yFpZ As well as clothing, there may be other gifts that you have received which a charity shop might accept and sell to people who might want it. You may also be receiving gifts that will render some of the things you already have in your house obsolete. For example, you might get new kitchen appliances which will be seen as an upgrade to what you already have at home. It could be a toaster, kettle or a coffee making machine. It may be a new DVD player, laptop or games console? If residents do have redundant electrical items at home that do not work or are broken, please recycle them using either one of our Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) banks or take the items to our Reuse and Recycle Centre. Details on the locations of the WEEE banks can be found here: http://goo.gl/ciZGzo
And finally, please remember to leave your bins at the boundary of your property on the correct collection day if you want them emptied. Once they have been emptied, please bring them back in off the street. Last, but not least, Lewisham’s recycling team would like to wish all residents in the borough and a merry Christmas and a happy new year.