A-Z of a Green Christmas

By Sarah McClelland on behalf of SLH

This article was originally written for the December edition of Heatons Post, https://www.heatonspost.co.uk/ 

A is for Advent

Try something different this year and do a “reverse advent”. Really simply, get a box or a bag and each day add an item like tinned food, toiletries and clothes. Then drop it off to a local food bank. Check out their opening times at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/stockport/ or https://stockport.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/

B is for batteries

Christmas brings yet more battery-devouring appliances and toys. In the UK we use over 189 million batteries each year. So, use mains or go for rechargeable appliances where possible, and treat your household to a battery charger. Make sure you take old batteries to be recycled – there are recycling stands at most shops that sell batteries including the Coops and Tescos.

C is for cards

1 billion Christmas cards are dumped each year in the UK. Use recycled cards and spread a sustainability message.  Make your own from last year’s cards. Alternatively pick up the phone and speak to loved ones far away. Or send a paperless surprise and protect the planet while putting a smile on a loved one’s face by going to Friends of the Earth Ecards

C is also for clothes

Over 200 million items of clothing are dumped in UK landfills each year. Make sure you donate your old clothes to a local charity shop.

D is for decorations

Use last year’s decorations or decorate your tree with products that are fairly traded and ethically sourced. Or get creative and make your own.

E is for eco-bag

Use a Kick the Plastic Tote Bag available from 4 Heatons Traders. https://www.shop4heatons.com/product-category/jewellery-accessories/bags/

F is for food

Buy local or buy less. Support small suppliers and the local community while minimizing your carbon footprint. Use Lovefoodhatewaste.com for loads of “use up” recipe ideas.

G is for gifts

It turns out we are rubbish at buying gifts. Each Christmas 20% of presents are never opened. This year encourage your friends and family to be honest, keep the receipts and let the gifts be returned. Is this the year to start a new tradition of a family Secret Santa?

H is for heating

Be cosy this Christmas – check that your heating appliances are serviced and working efficiently. Close curtains (at night) and turn down your thermostat one degree. Pop into Blaggs on Heaton Moor Road and pick up a draught excluder kit. Contact local experts such as Warm in Winter to find out what else you can do to make your home warmer not just this winter but every winter to come.

I is for ivy

Bring in some holly and ivy from the garden – ideally fallen branches, but take only what you need.

J is for “jolly jam jars”

There is nothing tastier than homemade jam – delicious to eat and a fab gift. There are loads of jam recipes on the web! OR: Decorate a jam jar and fill it with activities for the family to do during the year eg “Book a trip to the Savoy Cinema”, “Today we will go to the park”, “Make a homemade musical instrument”, “Have an indoor picnic” and each time you hear the cry “I’m bored” you can turn to the jolly jam jar.

K is for keeping your curtains closed.

This keeps heat in and saves energy and money. And with all those guests to entertain, more heat is going to be generated anyway.

L is for lights

Christmas tree lights left on for 10 hours a day over the 12 days of Christmas produce enough CO2 to inflate 12 balloons, so turn them off when they are not needed.

If you crave festive lights, look for products using LEDs instead of traditional bulbs. LEDs last 10 times longer, produce virtually no heat and dramatically reduce power consumption. Meanwhile this is a good time to replace old inefficient bulbs around the house with energy efficient ones. It’s a great investment, as every LED bulb you use could save up to £100 in its lifetime!

M is for million

Over the Christmas period we use an extra 750 million bottles and glass containers, and 500 million drinks cans. Avoid contributing by using our fab refill store; The Good Life on Didsbury Road.

N is for natural

Consider decorating the tree with edible treats rather than plastic baubles to save on creating rubbish. Have a session with the family to make edible decorations.

O is for organic turkey

Millions of turkeys are eaten every Christmas. Try to make sure yours has been reared in humane conditions. Organic turkeys taste better too.

P is for presents

Try to buy local or buy less. Presents bought locally means you will be supporting small suppliers and the local community, while minimizing your carbon footprint.

Could you buy an experience instead like tickets to our fabulous Savoy Cinema, membership of Heaton Moor Golf course, Tennis lessons, membership of Heatons Post. There are loads of options in the Heatons!

Q is for quick search

Have a quick search on https://www.shop4heatons.com/ for more ideas and festive solutions from local suppliers.

R is for recycle

According to Recyclenow.com, households will throw out an additional 3m tonnes – that’s five sacks of rubbish per family – over the festive period. Much of this will be waste that could have been recycled. Recyclenow has loads of great ideas of what you can recycle and where.

S is for stockings

Buy ones that you can use year after year or for a more personal touch make your own.

T is for travel

Aim for a few car-free days this Christmas. Walk or cycle to see local friends and family.

U is for using the right-sized pan

Use the right-sized pan for the vegetables you cook and make sure you have the lid on.

V is for vegetables

Is that mountain of Brussel sprouts too much for the family? Compost all your food peelings or get a wormery to help break down the vegetable food waste into rich soil nutrition. Search the web for “use up” recipes and make sure no veg is wasted this year.

W is for wrapping

It is estimated in the UK we use over 100 million rolls of wrapping paper over the festive season. How about wrapping the gift in a scarf or a tea towel and giving a little extra at the same time? Mel P would like to alter this-she is thinking of putting wrapping paper in the centre of HP this time, so she wants to say about that. We thought you’d be OK with that idea, so perhaps she could word it accordingly?

X is for Xmas

Have a great one!

Y is for you

It is your world, your planet, your choice.

Z is for zzzzzzz

Have a post-Christmas doze content that your Christmas carbon footprint is minimal ?