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Christmas Unwrapped

Going Green at Christmas

Celebrate the festive season by cutting consumption, recycling, and sourcing locally, ethically and organically. 

Whatever our religious beliefs, the period around the Christmas holidays is a time of celebration, with plenty of eating, drinking and the giving of gifts. We send 1.7 billion Christmas cards each year. That’s the equivalent of 200,000 trees. We use a further 50,000 trees-worth of wrapping paper. Altogether, it mounts up to create around 3 million tonnes of rubbish over the festive season alone.

This year try to think about the wider impact of your Christmas consumption and take steps to make your Christmas greener and more ethical. This does not mean giving up on celebrating altogether. It just means taking more care about what you buy, where it’s going and what is going to happen to it after it’s finished with.


Trees, Decorations and Cards.

Six million Christmas trees are bought each year in the UK and most are thrown out afterwards. Instead of adding to the waste, think about whether you truly need a tree in your house. If you really do want one, buy a tree that has come from a sustainable source, and make sure you recycle it afterwards via your local authority. Or buy a synthetic one that will last you a life time (one you can bring out year after year). Some Christmas decorations are made in sweat-shops, so try and be creative and make your own instead. Eliminate card waste altogether and instead send an electronic card (for those who have computers) instead or look for cards made from recycled material.


Most of the rubbish you produce around Christmas can be recycled one way or another. In the UK we discard enough wrapping paper to cover an area larger than Guernsey. Dont add to the mountains of waste: re-use or recycle. Around one billion cards will be thrown away after Christmas. Recycle yours through the Woodland Trust scheme at W H Smith or Tesco. Put your vegetable waste into the compost, and instead of hanging onto unwanted gifts, give them to charity.

M Purtill



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