Need not greed
Christmas is a time when we all love to celebrate with lots of food and gifts but do you sometimes end up throwing away excess food or receive gifts that you don’t really want or need ? Everything we buy uses up the earths resources and has a carbon footprint. Find out more at Consumption Natural resources and the environment | Friends of the Earth. Are there ways that you could just consume a bit less this year?
Christmas Trees – Real vs Fake
Studies have shown that unless you use a fake tree for 10+ years, a real tree is better for the environment. If you go for a real tree, choose one that has been grown locally and recycle (they can be turned into chippings). More info available from the soil association: Christmas Trees – Real vs Fake | Sustainable Christmas (soilassociation.org)
Choose Seasonal vegetables
Choose traditional vegetables like potatoes, sprouts, carrots, parsnips and leeks, ideally grown locally. These can be purchased from a local farmers market (details available on the ECO Church web page )
Get creative with gift wrapping
A lot of wrapping paper contains plastic so is not recyclable. If it’s plastic it will not scrunch up. Instead, try using brown paper, adding your own decoration with stamps or greenery from the garden. You could even create your own freehand designs. String or Japanese Washi tape can be used instead of plastic adhesive tape. Another alternative is drawstring bags that can be reused.
Avoid buying new plastic decorations
The great thing about plastic is that it is long lasting so Christmas decorations can be used over and over again and it’s great to welcome ‘old friends’ each year. If you want to introduce new decorations, why not try making Christmas wreathes and table decorations using greenery from the garden. There are some great youtube clips that will show you how. Felt and knitted Christmas decorations look great and are fun to make too.
Consider local traders, fairtrade and natural materials for Christmas gifts
Instead of going to big chains or on-line retailers, why not try local independent shops like Natures Intention in Bromsgrove who sell ECO friendly produce (Nature’s Intention | Zero Waste Shop (natures-intention.co.uk) or support a charity like Urban Neighbours of Hope (John & Elise Fletcher) who sell jewellery produced in the slums of Thailand (RoyRak). Traidcraft also support many local cooperatives (Fair Trade Products & Ethical Gifts | Traidcraft Online Shop (traidcraftshop.co.uk). If you are buying clothes, natural materials like wool, cotton and bamboo are more sustainable that man made fibres. If you are buying electronic goods, could you buy refurbished rather than new items?
Donate superceded Electronics
If you are replacing electronic equipment such as TV’s, tablets, phones or laptops, your old ones can be re-used. Laptops, tablets, phones, printers and desktops can be donated to ‘IT schools for Africa’ via Philippa Fieldson and can be dropped off at the Parish Centre or the Vicarage. Details of what they will take can be found at Equipment specifications (itschoolsafrica.org). Birmingham City Mission are always glad to accept old electronic items, particularly TV’s as long as they are flat screen. Contact details can be found at Birmingham City Mission | Providing for those in need – Birmingham City Mission