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10 tips for a green Christmas from Friends of the Earth Cymru


Christmas is the time for spoiling yourself, your friends and family. It can also be a time of waste with too much food, presents and packaging. But Bleddyn Lake of Friends of the Earth Cymru believes you can spoil yourself, without spoiling the planet.

"Having a green Christmas doesn't mean being a Scrooge," says Bleddyn. "Visiting the local farmers' market, getting crafty with DIY presents, or promising someone special some special time - helping the environment can still mean a Christmas full of happy memories.

"And when Christmas is over, and the leftovers have been reused, recycled, or composted, you can join your Friends of the Earth local group for a green and active New Year."

1. To tree or not to tree
Choosing the most sustainable tree will depend on how many years you use an artificial tree, whether a real tree is composted or continues to grow, and how and where it's grown. The best option is to use what you have already, whether it's the artificial one that's been in the loft for decades, or a potted tree you drag indoors every year. And who says it has to be a Christmas tree - decorating a large house plant can make a stunning tree substitute.

2. Homemade gifts and cards
Making your own gifts means less strain on the environment, and your wallet. How about homemade jams and cakes, pottery, wood carvings, something knitted, chocolate truffles, sloe gin - use your imagination! And you can make cards and labels from last year's old ones - of course you remembered to save some...

3. Online eco-shop
The Friends of the Earth shop has a fabulous eco-friendly range of cards, calendars and gifts, so you can do all your festive shopping and support the UK's most influential environmental charity at the same time. There's even gift vouchers to let your friends or family choose their own present.

4. E-cards
1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away in the UK each year. E-cards can cut your carbon footprint, save trees and save money - you can send them for free at www.foe.co.uk/ecards

5. Reuse and recycle for decorations
Old jars, wrapped with coloured film and candles inside make beautiful, festive lanterns. Look out for vintage Christmas decoration bargains at markets and car boot sales. Low energy LED fairy lights use a fraction of the energy of standard lights.

6. Be battery wise
Families can get through a lot of batteries, particularly at Christmas. Batteries contain toxic chemicals, don't biodegrade and are difficult to recycle. So use rechargeable ones instead

7. Wrapping paper
Don't waste your money on wrapping paper - the pages from old magazines can work just as well. And don't forget to recycle any wrapping paper you receive - try not to add to the mountain that will end up in our bins this Christmas!

8. Spend time, not money
We all know the best things in life are free. So give your loved ones personalised 'favour vouchers' - promise breakfast in bed, help in the garden, or even to do the washing up for a week. Or if it's someone particularly close, you could make your love tokens a little more racy!

9. Go vegetarian(ish)
Why not cut out the meat some meals this Christmas? Eating less meat can be a big step in reducing your environmental impact, as well as being a healthy choice for many of us. Try the Vegetarian Society for hundreds of fantastic recipes.

10. Get active
If you're planning to get fit in the New Year (and aren't we all?), how about cycling so your travelling will be greener too? And perhaps you could get environmentally active as well, by joining your Friends of the Earth local group. Find out more at www.foecymru.co.uk

For further information, please contact Friends of the Earth Cymru on 029 2022 9577

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