Enjoy a greener Christmas

For many households, Christmas is a time when more waste than usual is produced. Here we explore a few simple ways to make it a greener Christmas!
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What should I do with the food we don't eat? Always try to plan your meals and buy accordingly for the right amount of people. Don't prepare for 4000 if you're only catering for 4! Put all of your uncooked veg peelings, brussel sprout stalks etc in your home compost bin. If you have leftovers, consider meals that you can make with them over the coming days, or freeze for later use. Visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for more shopping and recipe tips. Of course you can buy compost bins and wormeries that will take cooked food. Visit www.gardenorganic.org.uk/compost for more information.

Can I recycle my wrapping paper? Wrapping paper that is just paper can be recycled but if it is contaminated with foil, plastic or glitter then many councils may refuse it. Try to buy recycled paper. Or make festive wrapping bags from scraps of material. They can be used year on year. You could also avoid using sticking tape and instead use natural twine or string.

To send Christmas cards or not? Together we send and receive up to 1 billion Christmas cards each year. Try something different such as picking up the phone, sending an e-card, donating to charity or sending a plantable seeded card. If you have cards sent to you, reuse them by making them into gift tags for next year!

Real tree or artificial? This depends on where you live and where you can source your tree. If you have access to trees which are growing nearby, then it's a nice option to support a local grower. Especially if their trees are part of a sustainable cropping system. Buying imported trees involves a larger carbon footprint and it is harder to certify their sustainability. Artificial trees are good only if you reuse them year on year. Tree decorations don't have to be plastic or annual. Have fun making your own, from recycled paper chains, to a variety of happy paper angels. Bows of all shapes and sizes from material scraps also look good.

It's Twelfth Night, what should I do with my real Christmas tree? When buying your tree consider getting one with roots which can then be planted in your garden and used year after year. Otherwise, shredding your tree will leave you with a mulch for the garden or can be used as a 'brown' addition to your compost bin. Most councils now offer tree collections if you don't have access to a shredder.

We hope you have a very merry, green, Christmas!