One of the most striking things about Christmas is the amount of waste we all produce. Waste heat, waste light, waste food and most of all waste packaging. Actually, quite a lot of presents are wasteful too. I wonder what percentage of gifts are actually appreciated and how many of those are useful.
I have to admit that I’m a real fan of useful presents but I know that not everyone agrees with this approach. The first Christmas after I was married, I gave my husband a filing cabinet. He really needed to get his papers in order – but he never used it! He gave me a Nintendo and a pair of roller blades, which I thought was rather frivolous! So they didn’t get much use either…..
Most of my family meet on Christmas day at my sister’s house. She does a wonderful Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. In fact she’s so efficient that she has a list of what we’re going to eat on a blackboard to make sure that we don’t forget to help ourselves to all the stuffings, cranberry sauce, bread sauce or anything else. It’s great.
One of our traditions is to read or recite poetry before lunch. My contributions are not always environmental but this year I found quite a good poem about climate change… But more fun than that was one of my sons singing ‘Over the Rainbow’.
More recently, its become a custom for me to collect up all the waste from unwrapped presents. I carefully sort through it and separate out wrapping paper to use next year, from waste paper and cardboard for recycling. Then I join the throng at the recycling centre – there was quite a queue this year. The really good thing was that my local council have extended the number of things they recycle. They have separate places for cartons, mobile phones, plastic bags and batteries amongst other things.
Of course I’m a supporter of recycling but more important than that is to produce less waste in the first place. And that’s a big challenge for all of us….