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Christmas waste (Jan08)

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….

2 thoughts on “Christmas waste (Jan08)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Julia, I read your blog about your AGA, published back in May. I have plans to re-do my kitchen (due to a 1 in 300 year flood that ruined my home) and can’t make my mind up if I shall have one or not. My heart is in love and wants one. But my mind is being sensible and keeps telling me I cant possibly buy the gas consumpting monster (- especially since my home was flooded last july due to global warming?) Do you really regret yours? I am worried that if I let my heart win I won’t enjoy cooking on it because of to much guilt. I normally try to be good – recycle, hardly drive, have an allotment…even if I do fly a bit to much being a Swede in england. However, thanks for a lovely blog – trying to make a difference!

  2. Julia Hailes says:

    Hi – in response to your question about an aga. Yes, I truly do regret mine. It’s so wasteful to have an aga, which is on all the time. As a result it spends most of the year off. And I really notice how much it’s consuming when it’s on. Far better to heat your home efficiently and cook on gas if you can. The rest of my home is generally cold because I’m trying to make up for having such an energy guzzling cooker…. My advice is to save the guilt and the planet!

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