insideKENT Magazine insideKENT Issue 69 Dec 2017 - Page 133

CHRISTMAS Have yourself an ECO-FRIENDLY CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS IS HANDS DOWN THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, SO IT’S HARD FOR ME TO SEE ITS FLAWS. NO LONGER JUST A RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL ONCE CELEBRATED ONLY BY PEOPLE OF FAITH FOLLOWING CHRISTIAN OBSERVANCES HOWEVER, SOME WOULD ARGUE THAT IT’S NOW TRANSMUTED INTO A GIFT-GIVING, OVER- CONSUMING PERIOD OF INTENSE MATERIALISM. OTHERS WOULD ARGUE THAT THE FESTIVE PERIOD’S WORST TRAIT – ALL OF ITS WASTE AND AN ENORMOUS CARBON FOOTPRINT – IS A GREAT BIG ENVIRONMENTAL SMACK IN THE FACE TO OUR PLANET. OPINIONS ON THE MATERIAL SIDE WILL DIFFER FROM HOME TO HOME, BUT IN TERMS OF US ALL BEING A BIT GREENER, SMALL CHANGES CAN ACTUALLY GO A LONG WAY – HERE’S SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU CELEBRATE THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR IN AN ECO- FRIENDLIER FASHION. BY POLLY HUMPHRIS Home CUT YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS TREE In the UK, an estimated six million Christmas trees are sent to landfill every year, which approximates to 9,000 tonnes of extra waste. What’s more, each tree sent to landfill has a carbon footprint of about 16kg – when you consider the average UK person has a yearly carbon footprint of around 1,000kg, that’s pretty hefty – and costs local authorities over £2.30 to shift. Don’t be tempted to switch to an artificial tree though, they’re generally made of all sorts of hazardous, non-recyclable materials and are often shipped in from far and wide adding to that already sizeable carbon footprint. Instead, head to a local, sustainable Christmas tree farm and cut down your own pesticide-free tree; it’s fun, so the whole family can get involved, plus it eliminates the transportation required for shipped trees (check out the British Christmas Tree Growers Association website for more info: Always recycle your tree too – local pick-up points for used trees are easy to find, and Christmas trees are usually shredded into chippings and reused locally in parks or woodland areas. DECK THE HALLS MINDFULLY Reuse and recycle are the key points here. There’s simply no need to buy new Christmas decorations every year; surely a bauble’s a bauble, right? If your baubles are looking a bit tired, revamp them by recovering them with recycled papier-mâché or even newspaper and magazine cuttings to create a cheap and quite quirky look that saves money, packaging and energy. If you want to go one organic step further, holly, branches, berries, dried fruit slices, fir cones and ivy are all very usable and can be transformed into really rustic and homely Christmas centerpieces and table decorations. You can always reuse old cards to make garlands and knock up some red and green bunting from unwanted material to hang liberally too. SAVE ENERGY Obvious, but essential advice – don’t leave your Christmas lights on all day and if you have a lovely, large outdoor display, buy and set a timer, or just be careful to have them shining bright in all their seasonal glory from dusk until bedtime when they’ll make their greatest impact. LED and low-energy Christmas lights are not only more affordable, but are widely available from most big shops now. Additionally, LED lights generally don’t produce heat, so they’re a worry-free option for decorating your Christmas tree. 133