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

Green Gift Guide

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No one wants their gift to end up gathering dust (or worse, ending up in the bin!), so if you’re struggling to find a gift for the person who has everything, these green gift suggestions should give you some inspiration, as well as help reduce the amount of “stuff” that builds up at this time of year:

Food

jarsEveryone has to eat, so give the gift of some seasonal home baking. Not much of a cook? Give a friend everything they need to make their own sweet treat, presented in a handy re-usable jar! Instructions available here.

An experience

Concert1Much more memorable than a pair of socks! Get tickets for an upcoming play, movie, sports event, or concert that the recipient can look forward to after the festive season. Alternatively, take them out for afternoon tea, a nice dinner at a local restaurant, or book them in for a relaxing spa treatment. Not only do these gifts avoid clutter and a pile-up of “stuff”, but you get to enjoy the experience too!

Lessons

1394003159_Cooking-Class-at-Tra-Que-Herb-Village-in-Hoi-AnGive the gift of a new skill! Whether it’s learning a new language, taking a cooking class together, attending salsa lessons, or taking a craft class, there are lots of different fun and creative things you can do together throughout the new year. If you want to give a “physical” present too, why not buy a calendar and mark in the dates of all the classes to give the recipient something to look forward to?

Subscriptions

netflix-movies-expiring-jan-2014Whether it’s for their favourite magazine, newspaper, or Netflix, a year-long subscription is a gift that can be enjoyed month after month, and shouldn’t break the bank.

Adopt an animal

WWF-AdoptionIf they’re an animal lover, why not adopt or sponsor one of their favourites on their behalf? Whether its a dog at the local shelter, or an endangered species, the money will either help fund their care or give much-needed funds to conservation efforts – both very worthy causes.

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For more ideas why not check out our Fairtrade Gift Guide?

Images: jars, concert, cooking class, TV screen, panda

Guest Blog: Fairtrade Christmas Gift Guide

giftguideheaderThe Environment Team work closely with the University’s Fairtrade Steering Group, and are proud to present this guest blog written by their Fairtrade intern, Catriona! Read on for lots of great ideas for ethically-conscious gifts…

 

Shops in St Andrews

chocs

Iain Burnett specialise in fairly traded chocolates. Their famous speciality truffles have just started being sold in the store, but there are a range of chocolates available from fruits to floral. The perfect gift for all chocolate lovers!

oxfamdecs.

If you are looking for something a little different, Oxfam currently have a wide range of household items, stationary and gifts, including gifts designed just for Christmas! It’s well worth a look if you aren’t sure what to get for someone.

bonkers.

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For cute and individual decorations and pieces Bonkers have a range of Fairtrade wood, metal, glass and fabric gifts.

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besstshirt.

Looking for something that screams St Andrews that will also keep you warm in the cold winter months? Your Shop in the Students’ Association have some lovely Fairtrade cotton clothing including t-shirts and sweatshirts. Perfect if you are looking for a gift for yourself or someone else.

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bootsextractsFor the person who likes a bit of pampering, Boots extract range is all Fairtrade and includes: body butter, body wash, and sugar scrub, in a variety of scents. Perfect for a “treat yourself” evening.

christmashamper

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Why not try putting together a Christmas hamper for all those people you aren’t quite sure what to give. Shops all around town have a huge variety of Fairtrade goodies just perfect for a hamper…

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For Teas and Coffees, try: Balgove Larder, Save the Children, St Andrews Health Foods, Sainsburys, Tesco, Starbucks, Morrisons, and Spar.

For Chocolates try: Burns Sweet shop, Mitchells Deli, Holland and Barrett, and Luvians Ice Cream Parlour.

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Online Goodies

For sports lovers…check out Bala and Nigel’s Eco Store for a range of Fairtrade footballs.

For those who enjoy a tipple…why not get a bottle or case of Fairtrade wine, or for something stronger, try Fair Spirits’ quinoa vodka or Belize rum?

For those that like to accessorize…check out the ethically cool jewellery ranges available from Eighteen Rabbit, Amazon, and Luna Tree.

For children…there is a wide variety of Fairtrade clothing, toys, and more!

For more inspiration…browse dedicated Fairtrade retailers like Shared Earth, Eighteen Rabbit or Etiko’s for a huge variety of clothes, accessories, food gifts, homeware, toys, stationary, and much, much more!

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Holiday Waste

Graphic showing holiday waste from the USA - in the UK we are only slightly better at reducing holiday waste

Graphic showing holiday waste from the USA – in the UK we are only slightly better at reducing holiday waste