Dreaming of a 'green' Christmas?

27 November 2008

Are you dreaming of a `green' Christmas? Well, even if you're not, you can enjoy the festive season by taking inspiration from Friends of the Earth's ideas for presents, parties and decorations which won't cost the earth.

Presents

•  Try flea markets, antique jewellery and vintage clothing shops for gifts - you'll be giving a unique present, as well as recycling.

•  Indulge with a local, organic hamper made up from the local farmers market or give gifts of locally-brewed beer or organic wine.

•  Treat people to a special experience instead of an item - such as theatre tokens, annual membership of a gallery or a weekend at a spa.

Food and drink

•  If you can, opt for seasonal local food and drink. A traditional Christmas dinner uses seasonal British produce and buying your food from a local market or grocer helps the local economy and cuts down on `food miles', which contribute to climate change.

•  Buy loose rather than pre-packed vegetables - it'll help cut down on waste packaging.

•  If you're having a party, avoid serving food and drink on disposable plates and cups - they will just add to our growing mountain of waste. Borrow extra crockery from neighbours. Many wine shops lend boxes of wine glasses, if you're buying supplies from them.

•  Around half of the waste produced by households at Christmas could easily be recycled, but last year almost 90% ended up in the dustbin.

Christmas trees, lights, cards and wrapping paper

•  Last year we sent around 744 million Christmas cards. If all these were recycled instead of thrown away, it would help to save the equivalent of 248,000 trees.

•  Choose charity cards and wrapping paper which have some recycled paper content.

•  Try the Natural Collection's new paper range made of raffia fibres from the bark of the mulberry tree, coloured with sugar cane or banana. http://www.naturalcollection.comNo trees are cut down to make it, as the fibres keep growing back.

•  More than 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper will be used on Christmas presents, using the equivalent of approximately 50,000 trees. Last Christmas, DEFRA estimated that 83 square km of wrapping paper ended up in UK rubbish bins.

•  If you buy a real tree, and more than 6 million of us do, check with your local council if they will recycle it. Many local authorities grind the trees into wood chips and use them to mulch gardens or parks, instead of dumping the trees in landfill sites.

www.foe.co.uk
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