University Winter Shutdown 2015/16

Before leaving the University for the festive break please remember to:

  • switch off ALL electrical appliances at the wall
  • switch off ALL lights
  • turn down radiators to “1”
  • do not leave anything on standby

Remember that energy use really does all add up, so switch off all equipment, including printers and mobile phone chargers as well as the obvious computer and lights!  Turning off any equipment over the Christmas break will help us meet our carbon reduction targets and reduce cost to the University over the break.

Last year we avoided a whopping 249 tonnes of CO2 and saved £51,436 – a 27% reduction of the University’s total energy use! This was 50 tonnes more CO2 avoided than 2013/14, so hopefully we can continue the trend and avoid even more this Christmas

Green Events not to miss this Freshers’ Week

Here are the highlights for all things sustainability-related in St Andrews during Freshers’ Week – don’t miss out!

Monday

The Big Green Fair (St Katherine’s Lawn behind Library, 11am-3pm) is an outdoor festival celebrating the environment, with live music and great local food. Find out more about what our eco-friendly societies are up to this year and how to get involved in their activities & projects.

The Big Giveaway with StAnd Re-Use (same time, Arts lecture theatre): Household items, kitchenware and stationery donated by previous students, all available for free! That’s right – FREE! Arrive early to avoid disappointment and don’t forget to bring a bag

Tuesday – Carbon Conversations, St Andrews Botanic Garden, 12pm – 1:30pm

Carbon Conversations is a free 6-session programme run in St Andrews which looks at individual carbon footprints and what can be done to reduce them, through interactive sessions which include games and group discussions as well as individual reflection. This taster session will introduce you to some of the activities so you can decide if it is for you, while enjoying lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the St Andrews Botanic Gardens. Bring a friend and pick up some great energy and money-saving tips!
Meet at the front gate at 12pm or find us either in the glassclass or learning den. Bring your lunch and we will have some to share

Wednesday – Sow, Grow and Eat at the University Community Garden, 2-4pm
Growing your own food is a skill for life. With the University now having 10 food growing spaces that are open to students, staff and local people it’s also a very popular part of life here. Find out more and get your hands dirty at this special session in the St Andrews University Community Garden where we will be harvesting crops and enjoying some food made from the garden’s produce. Drop in at any time during this session. (Edible Campus: Transition UStA event)IMG_1524

University Community Garden (opposite the Observatory on Buchanan Gardens)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1145078895519158/

 

Thursday – Charitable and Volunteering Fair, Students’ Association, 11am onwards

Passionate about development and Fairtrade? Then come to our stall at the Charitable and Volunteering Fair and find out how you can get involved. This is an especially exciting time to do so as the town is celebrating its 10 year anniversary as a ‘Fairtrade Town’ and the University will also be celebrating its 10 year anniversay, in 2016. What are you waiting for?

Friday – Freshers’ Bike Sale, Agnes Blackadder Car Park, 10am onwards

Looking for a cheap, green and healthy way of getting  around town? Want to learn how to fix your bike? Then come along to our annual and extremely popular second hand bike sale!

This year Bikeworks will bring bikes, teaming up with St Andrews Bike Pool so you can learn to fix your new bike or bring along one you own already to ensure it’s in good working order.

We sell out very quickly so make sure to be early to avoid disappointment!

 

freshers bike sale

 

From China to Scotland: Engineers get Creative

Last week saw 22 engineering students from the South China University of Technology (SCUT) complete an intensive three week ‘Creativity in Engineering’ course here in St Andrews with ELT. The course focused on tackling the University’s sustainable energy challenges and seeking ways  to help us achieve our goal of becoming the UK’s first energy carbon neutral university in 2016.

Creative Engineers from SCUT, China

Creative Engineers from SCUT, China

Eager to find out more, the students were briefed on the University’s plans by David Stutchfield, the Energy Officer within our Environment Team, and were subsequently invited to visit our sustainable energy projects.

First on the list was Guardbridge, the £25 million biomass district heating project situated four miles from St Andrews in a disused paper. This scheme will heat and cool the University’s building with low carbon energy, saving around half a million tonnes of carbon within 20 years.

Guardbridge Old Paper Mill Site

Guardbridge Old Paper Mill Site

Next, was the site for the community wind farm project at Kenly, which will save 19,000 tonnes of carbon per year when it comes online. The students also got the opportunity to visit an active biomass plant, micro renewable energy projects at MUSA in St Andrews and the Michelin factory in Dundee.

After their (multiple!) trips the students were tasked to expand on the University’s current proposals and use their creativity to seek innovate ways that they could be made more sustainable. Their efforts culminated in group project presentations at the end of the week, bringing together the knowledge they had gained from the site visits, the lecture series and the ‘English for Engineers’ language course.

It was a tough decision for the judging panel but it was decided that Zhang Baori, Jiang Ziliang, Peng Jie and Huang Ledeng’s group was the best overall! Their proposals included high altitude wind turbines alongside an integrated anaerobic digestion (AD) and combined heat and power (CHP) system at Kenly farm. Thank you to all the groups involved, your proposals have proven your drive to produce new and inspired ideas!

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Action shots of the winning team's proposals (above). The winner team and judges from left to right: Peng Jie, Zhang Baori, Rohan Fernando, George King, Jiang Ziliang, Pamela McIlldowie, Nicola Dobson, Huang Ledeng (below)

Action shots of the winning team’s proposals (above). The winner team and judges from left to right: Peng Jie, Zhang Baori, Rohan Fernando, George King, Jiang Ziliang, Pamela McIlldowie, Nicola Dobson, Huang Ledeng (below)

Interhall Energy Highlights 2014/15

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This year’s Interhall Energy Competition came to an end at the Hall Champions League Award Ceremony this week. Celebrating the achievements of all the halls across sports, charitable fundraising, and energy saving, it was great to see so many committee members in attendance, fueling some friendly interhall rivalry!

Overall, the combined efforts of all the halls this year has reduced the University’s CO2 emissions by a fantastic 205 tonnes…that’s the weight of 34 male African elephants!

In order to achieve this, the Hall Environment Reps have been doing some fantastic work raising awareness for a range of environmental issues through a variety of activities, including:

  • bike repair workshops
  • maintaining their hall Environment boards
  • Fairtrade bake sales
  • green film screenings
  • food waste collections and composting
  • books/clothes/DVD swap events
  • installing shower timers
  • shopping bag re-use initiatives
  • “bring your own cup” parties
  • seed sowing and gardening
  • Facebook campaigns to encourage recycling
  • …and much, much more!

Each month’s winners also put their prize money to good use, investing in publicity materials for environmental campaigns, equipment for their hall gardens, and funding bike maintenance sessions with the student Bike Pool group.

The Environment Reps have been supported throughout the Interhall Competition by staff from Transition, the Environment Team, the Students’ Association, and Residential Business Services. On top of this, two student interns, Gillian and Bryony, worked to produce a “toolkit” of resources for the reps, and publicised the competition through the Interhall Energy facebook page, which now has a shiny new logo:

10404450_768810933210166_3441283677716847000_nSo, without further ado, here’s the roundup of all the winners of the Interhall Energy Competition 2014/15!

Monthly Winners

October – McIntosh Hall
November – University Hall
December – Andrew Melville Hall
February – Andrew Melville Hall
March – Agnes Blackadder Hall
April – Albany Park

interhallwinners

Semester 1 Overall Winners

1st – Andrew Melville Hall
2nd – McIntosh Hall
3rd – University Hall

Semester 2 Overall Winners

1st – Andrew Melville Hall
2nd – David Russell & Fife Park Apartments
3rd – Deans Court

Hall Champions League Winner

McIntosh Hall

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Congratulations again to all our winners! We can’t wait to meet next year’s group of Environment Reps and see which hall will come out on top!

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Useful links:

Introduction to the Interhall Energy Competition & Hall Champions League

Top Energy Saving Tips

Why join a car club?

Why join a car club_

St Andrews has yet another claim to fame – hosting Scotland’s very first electric car club!

The club will be run by E-Car, with a fleet consisting of 8 Renault ZOEs and 2 Renault Kangoo vans available to pick up from charging locations at the Gateway building, Agnes Blackadder Hall, and David Russell Apartments, with more charging locations in the pipeline.

But what makes joining a car club better than owning your own car?

Convenience & Flexibility

Car clubs increase mobility by offering all members of the community the convenience of a car without the stresses that come with owning one. Hiring a car means there is less to worry about – the hourly fee covers everything including insurance, servicing, cleaning, maintenance, repairs, and recharging. To make journey planning even easier, E-Car’s booking system allows you to book the vehicles at a moment’s notice, or up to 2 months in advance. You don’t even need to collect a key – just wave your membership card over the reader on the windscreen to unlock the car and get going!

Saving money

Using a car club is almost always cheaper than owning, insuring, and maintaining your own car. With E-Car you pay a one-off membership fee of £50, then pay as you go depending on your usage of the vehicles – from £4.50 an hour for the ZOEs, up to £50 a day for the Kangoos. By only paying for the time that you need, you free up your budget to spend on something more exciting!

Lowering carbon emissions

It is estimated that each car club car ultimately replaces 24 privately owned vehicles on UK streets. Not only will this go a long way towards helping tackle St Andrews’ traffic and parking problems, but by replacing the cars with zero-emission electric vehicles, your personal travel carbon footprint will be lowered too.

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Renault ZOE and Renault Kangoo – the two models that make up the 10-car fleet.

So there you have it – with an average range of between 65-90 miles per charge, there’s no excuse not to go and explore Fife and beyond! If you’re travelling further afield,  check out Charge Your Car for a full list of charging points, which will enable you to charge on the go, with rapid charge points reaching 80% charge in just 30 minutes!

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Got more questions? Check out E-Car’s FAQ page.

Image credit: E-Car Club St Andrews, Renault.

Top Energy Saving Tips

10919460_756276734463586_7398227301080169715_oThe results from the first half of the Interhall Energy Competition are in, with Andrew Melville, McIntosh, and Uni Hall leading the way in energy reductions, winning extra money for their hall committees and boosting their position in the Hall Champions League.

If your hall is struggling to keep up (or you’re trying to keep your bills down in private accommodation), read on for some tips that might help you turn the tables in semester 2!

Heatingblogpic1

  • Try not to have your window open and the heating on at the same time. Ventilate the room when you are not using it instead.
  • Keep your radiators clear of furniture – it will absorb the heat.
  • Close your curtains at dusk to shut out the night and keep in the heat.
  • Turn your thermostat down by one degree – you probably won’t even notice the difference!
  • Close doors to keep the heat in.
  • Cosy up at bedtime and turn your heating down at night whilst snug in your duvet.

 

Lights & Electric Appliancesblogpic2

 

  • Switch off lights in empty rooms.
  • Switch your appliances (such as laptops and TVs) off  and unplug them rather than leaving them on standby.
  • Towel dry your hair so you don’t have to use your hairdryer as much.
  • Try not to leave phones or other items charging overnight – a few hours are usually all that’s needed.
  • Watch your favourite TV shows with friends – it’s more social, and means you’re only using energy to power one TV!

 

Cookingblogpic3

 

  • Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need each time you boil it‌.
  • Cook with lids on pans and match ring size to saucepan size – this will also cook your food faster!
  • Try to avoid cooking in the oven and instead use other ways of cooking such as boiling, stir frying, or grilling, in order to save energy.
  • You can use a microwave instead of the oven for fresh food too. They’re quick, easy and economical to use and they’re handy if people in your hall eat at different times. For example, jacket potatoes take just five minutes in the microwave instead of an hour in the oven!
  • If you do need to use the oven, get your friends round to cook at the same time, or cook big batches of food together and freeze what you don’t need that day. It’s more energy efficient to use all the oven space available.
  • Try not to open the oven door while you are cooking. Keep the glass clean and you can peek in when you need to!
  • When cooking vegetables, use just enough water to cover the food.
  • Load and unload the fridge as quickly as possible – try not to leave the fridge door open for longer than you need to!
  • Never put hot food in a fridge or freezer. Let it cool first.

 

Washingblogpic4

Your dishes…

  • If you need to pre-rinse dishes, do it in cold water instead of hot.
  • If you’re washing dishes in the sink, use a bowl or sink full of water rather than leaving the hot tap running.
  • If you have a dishwasher, wait until you have a full load before putting it on, and use your dishwashers’ economy programme whenever possible.

Your clothes…

  • Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine – why not combine your washing load with someone else?
  • Use a lower washing temperature (between 30 -40oC), as 90% of the energy used in washing machines comes from heating the water.
  • Use a clothes horse to dry your clothes instead of using a tumble dryer.

Yourself!

  • Taking shorter showers means there is less energy used to heat the water.

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Remember to ask your Hall Environment Rep if there are any upcoming events or campaigns you can assist with – energy saving is a team effort!

Image credit: The Green Age

We’ve gone electric…will you?

Wee Green Machine at Library

Ever seen our “Wee Green Machine” driving around town? It has been used by the University’s Grounds Team since 2009, and is soon to be joined by two brand new electric vans! Once delivered in a few weeks time, all the University’s mail and catering will be delivered with a little help from some clean, green energy.

To coincide with the expansion of our fleet of electric vehicles (EVs), three new dual socket EV charging points have been installed at the Bute Building, David Russell Apartments, and Agnes Blackadder Hall, and are available for all staff and students to use for FREE!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALook out for posts like these popping up on campus!

Although two of the six available charging spaces will be used to serve the University’s mail and catering vans, the other spaces are freely available for use by any member of the University community in line with our strategic commitment to reducing transport carbon emissions.

All you need to do to use one of the charging points is to register for a “charging card” to enable access to the charging facilities with provider Charge Your Car here.

If you’ve never considered going electric before, why not check out our interview with PhD student and long-term EV convert, Euan, to get the lowdown on what it’s like to drive one, and keep up to date on the latest EV news and reviews over at EV Association Scotland.

Green Resolutions for 2015

10resolutions
Happy New Year! We hope you all enjoyed a restful and enjoyable break for the holidays, and are looking forward to what 2015 has in store.

It’s not too late to make a green resolution for the year ahead, so here are some of our ideas…

Food

seasonalvegs

Eat less meat

Not everyone is ready to resolve to become 100% vegetarian, but resolving to eat less meat is a quick way to lower your carbon footprint. It is estimated that if each person cuts meat from their diet for one day a week it would be equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road! Find some good vegetarian recipes, pick a couple of days a week where you will only eat vegetarian food, and make sure that when you do eat meat it comes from farms that ensure a high standard of animal welfare.

Eat more seasonal and local fruit and veg

Although supermarkets stock a wide range of fruit and vegetables year-round, those that are not in season locally will have been grown in energy-hungry greenhouses, or imported from afar. Find out what is in season, and be sure to buy locally where you can. By changing your meals according to the seasons, you’ll never get bored of what you eat!

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Transport

bike

Pedal power

Put down the keys, grab your helmet and resolve to pedal more in 2015! By leaving the car behind and using a bike for short journeys, not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but will also give you a good workout and much-needed exercise after the festive holidays. It’s still very dark in January, so if you’re cycling after sunset remember to stay cycle safe and make sure your front and rear lights are working.

Public transport

Granted, if you live in a remote area, or there is half a metre of snow outside your door, cycling sounds less appealing. If that’s the case where you live, start using public transport to get around. If public transport connections are poor in your area, consider campaigning for improved services, or investigate other sustainable options, such as car sharing.

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At home

Digital Thermostat and male hand

Energy efficiency

Make 2015 the year you resolve to increase the energy efficiency of your home! Simple changes like turning the thermostat down a degree, swapping your traditional lightbulbs for CFL (compact flourescent lightbulbs) or LED bulbs, fitting reflective radiator panels, and using window insulation film can all make a big difference to your energy consumption (and your bills!). If you don’t know where to start, contact the Energy Ambassadors who will give you all the information you need to get started.

Chemical-free cleaning

Detergents loaded with toxic chemicals end up in our waterways, poisoning rivers, and lowering the surface tension of the water, which presents another danger to aquatic life. Do a bit of research, and do your bit to reduce your impact by choosing eco-friendly washing and cleaning products as an alternative to harsh chemicals.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

As technology develops, we are able to recycle more and more materials, so make sure you’re up to date on what your local recycling service can and cannot recycle by looking up your local council’s website (Fife’s recycling information is available here). Remember to try and reduce the amount of household waste you produce in the first place by refusing to buy over-packaged goods, and reusing materials where possible.

Take shorter showers

The average person in the UK uses over 63 litres of water each time they take a shower, with the average shower lasting around 8 minutes. Aim to bring your shower time down to under 5 minutes, and when lathering up turn off the water until you are ready to rinse.

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Out and about

Eco-Friendly Shopping

Reusable bottles

Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. Shockingly, that’s about how much oil was needed to produce the bottle! Aim to ditch bottled water, and instead take a reusable bottle with you when out and about to keep you hydrated. Taking a reusable coffee cup with you will also help reduce your paper waste and some cafes (including the University’s cafes!) will also bag you a discount on your hot drink.

Beat the bag charge

With the 5p carrier bag charge brought into place late last year, there has been a huge reduction in the number of plastic carrier bags used in Scotland. Make it your mission for 2015 to keep a reusable bag handy in your bag, coat pocket, car, by the front door, and in your desk drawer to ensure you never have to pay the charge again!

 

Remember that you don’t have to make these changes all at once! Why not resolve to make one green change to your lifestyle every month? This way, the change is more likely to be permanent as it happens more gradually…

Images: vegetables, bicycle, thermostat, reusable bags

Environment Team Year in Review

Year in review

It’s been a busy old year for the Environment Team, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to reflect on what we’ve been up to over the last 12 months…

The year kicked off with new food waste regulations which came into force on 1st January, pushing our total recycling rate up to 73%! Once our food waste is collected, it goes on a rather interesting journey…click here to find out more about what happens to it after it leaves our kitchens.

nexus-r-shuttle-recycling-bin-signkitOne of many new food waste bins to pop up over the campus in 2014!

Once everyone returned for Semester 2 our first big event was Fairtrade Fortnight, with a whole host of activities planned to help raise awareness about trade issues including Fairtrade wine tasting, campaigning at local supermarkets, and a talk from a Nicaraguan coffee producer.

IMG_0608Fairtrade wine tasting in Fairtrade Fortnight.

Hot on the heels of Fairtrade Fortnight, 2014 saw the biggest Green Week yet with 35 events attracting over 750 participants – including the Principal! From tree planting to beach cleans, and swap shops to film screenings, there was plenty to keep us busy!

Green Week Pledge - PrincipalLouise Richardson pledges to make the University carbon neutral during her term of office.

This spring our five Transition interns surveyed various parts of the campus to record their levels of biodiversity. St Mary’s Quad and Andrew Melville pond were found to be particular hotspots for wildlife, so be sure to keep an eye out the next time you’re passing through!

Red Admiral (2)Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)

As students prepared to pack up and leave for the summer, StAndRe-Use were out collecting unwanted items and donations to pass onto students in September. Over a tonne of items were collected including household items, sports equipment, stationary, books, DVDs, thousands of clothes hangers, and a plethora of other weird and wonderful goods!

1907648_1412791679003714_120925503465276672_nJust a small selection of items collected by StAndRe-Use.

Estates was a hub of activity over the summer with three student interns joining the team to work on a number of projects. Find out what Dominyka, Daihachi, and Elena got up to in each of their respective blog posts.

There was also plenty to celebrate as the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA) received a Gold Green Tourism Award for their commitment to environmental excellence and sustainability in practice. Read more about MUSA’s green efforts here.

P1060479MUSA – the latest recipient of a Gold Green Tourism Award.

As we welcomed new students to St Andrews in September, we also launched our updated Little Green Guide, and got to meet a lot of new faces at Transition’s Big Green Fair on a gloriously sunny day on St Katherine’s Lawn. The queue for the big StAndRe-Use giveaway snaked all the way round the library, and all 4,000 items disappeared within an hour, marking yet another successful event for the team!

1466148_761842487209824_2028672481353058614_nOur Freshers’ Week mural full of green pledges!

October was a particularly busy month for us with Transition hosting Scotland’s first Transition Roadshow event, welcoming fellow “transitioners” from across the country to network and share ideas. We also launched our Green Raisin Competition and were overwhelmed with the number of fantastic, sustainably-designed entries, as well as our achievement of making this year’s foam fight the first one to produce zero waste to landfill. On top of all that, the new carrier bag charge came into effect at the end of the month, and our biomass plant at Guardbridge received planning permission from Fife Council. Keep up to date with developments over at the Guardbridge Energy Centre site.

Rebecca Clark & Sarah Fenner - St Andrews themed MonopolyThe winners of our Green Raisin Competition.

November saw a new set of Environmental Facilitators “graduate” from our training course at an event attended by the Quaestor and Factor, Derek Watson. Our banana suit was also put to good use publicizing the university’s renewed Fairtrade status, along with the launch of our Fairtrade gift guide. Be sure to keep an eye out for news about Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 – can we manage to top the success of this year?

Environmental FacilitatorsEnvironmental Facilitators’ graduation event.

Finally, as the students all knuckled down for their exams and began to leave St Andrews to spend the holidays elsewhere, we launched our Winter Shutdown campaign to ensure we manage to save as much energy as possible over the break by switching off all electrical appliances and turning down the radiators. Our Environmental Facilitators helped spread this message to all our staff, as well as setting up food bank donation points across the campus, collecting over 150kg to donate to the St Andrews food bank to spread a little Christmas cheer.

Donated foodThe huge collection of food bank donations from our Environmental Facilitators.

All in all a pretty good year! We’ll be back blogging again in January, but until then…

Merry Christmas centred

How to Cut Your Christmas Waste

blog graphicThe holiday season is time for celebration, but these days it is often also a time of excess, with more and more food, presents, and decorations being bought every year. It is estimated that each person throws away an extra 50kg of waste at Christmas time, so we’ve come up with some tips on how you can reduce this waste…

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Cards and wrapping paperknotwrap

After the festive season is over, be sure to recycle your cards and wrapping paper. Try to avoid foil wrapping paper as this is much harder to recycle, and look out for cards and wrap made from recycled paper or FSC certified materials.

Alternatively, package your presents in decorative, re-usable boxes, bags, or fabric wraps, like these ones from Lush.

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ElectricalsElectrical items_0

At this time of year, people often receive gifts of new models of items they already own, such as cameras, televisions, hairdryers, MP3 players, mobile phones, and other electrical goods. Recycle the replaced goods by selling them, donating them to charity, or taking them to your local recycling centre.

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Fairy lightsfairylights

Using LED lights to decorate your home will not only reduce your energy use by up to 90% compared to traditional lights, but also save you money on your utility bills. Remember to turn the lights off before going to bed to avoid wasting energy.

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Ribbons and bows original_red-merry-christmas-ribbon-10-m

Ribbons and bows are often in perfect condition after a gift has been unwrapped. Stop them from ending up in landfill by saving them to reuse next year.

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Foodrecipe-image-legacy-id--1176533_11

 There will inevitably be lots of leftover food after you’ve enjoyed your Christmas dinner. Check out these recipes for tasty and imaginative ways to make the most of your leftovers, and reduce your food waste. Moroccan turkey salad or Christmas pudding trifle, anyone?

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Decorations354c9fbd6304803aecfc7963cb34b918

Christmas decorations can be very expensive, so why not see what you can make from what you already have? Check out this page for suggestions, or if you want more ideas, a quick search on Pinterest produces thousands of results for DIY decorations!

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For more tips on how to cut your Christmas waste, check out last year’s blog post, and our green gift guide.

Images: fabric wrap present, electricals, ribbon, fairy lights, Moroccan turkey salad, DIY decoration