Liverpool City Council Green Champions tell you how to make your festive season fun and environmentally friendly!
The festive season is a special time that marks the end of the year, whether you are Christian, or a different faith, or no faith at all. It is a chance to pause and reflect on the last 12 months, to wonder what the future will bring, and to appreciate what we have; a time to enjoy spending time with family and friends.
2019, for us, has been the year that the environment has taken centre stage in our politics, our media, and in our everyday lives. Greta Thunberg has become a household name. Our school students, supported by local organisations and trade unions, have taken to the streets. Liverpool City Council has joined many other authorities throughout the world in declaring a Climate Emergency. Of course, this has also led to the launch of LCC’s Green Champions Team!
While Climate Emergency means that we certainly have challenges ahead, we also look at it as an opportunity for us to make positive changes to our lives. The changes we need to make will have a positive impact on our health, our friends and family, our finances and on our local community.
We share a few ideas with you all, from recipes and gift suggestions to places to go and activities you can do with the kids (or with grown-up friends and a glass of mulled wine!).
We hope these little bulletins will help you all to enjoy the festive period.
Our bulletins will each have a special theme – Decorations, Presents, Food & Drink and Out & About, but a recurring theme will be ‘shopping local‘!
Shopping in an independent business helps keep the money you spend in the local economy. If you shop local, around 70% of your money goes back into local activity. Local businesses pay tax which goes back into local services. Thriving high streets boost house prices, provide good jobs in your community, and reduce antisocial behaviour.
In terms of environmental impact, shopping local means less packaging and lower carbon emissions due to shorter journeys from producer to point of sale.
For each of our themes, we will be providing links to local businesses, so you can do you bit for the environment and your community while you prepare for Christmas.
Whether you already have your decs up, put them up on 1 December or are a ‘12 Days of Christmas’ kind of person, a few simple changes can make our decorations that little bit more eco whilst still getting into the Christmas spirit.
The most environmentally friendly decorations are those that get used year on year, so if you are looking for new decs, buy ones you know you will use again. Where possible, avoid plastic; if you are feeling really creative then you can make your own.
Saltdough decorations can be really pretty and great fun to make with the kids, or even get some friends around for a saltdough decoration making party!
Popcorn on strings instead of tinsel, or baked biscuits on ribbons to hang on the tree, are some of the other classics. Next time you are out for a walk, why not pick up twigs, pinecones and holly to make your own creations?
Is it better to have a real tree, or a fake one? Research suggests that you would need to use a fake one at least 20 times in order for it to be better for the environment. If you already own an artificial tree the advice is always to keep using it for as long as you can, but if you don’t – consider avoiding this purchase.
Of course, some real trees have more of an impact than others. Many retailers now sell trees that have roots, so that you can either put the tree outside in its pot to reuse next year, or you could plant it in the garden. It is best to buy a tree that has been grown as locally to you as possible. Look for the ‘Grown in Britain’ label or Forest Stewardship Council ‘seal of approval’ to ensure it has been grown to set environmental standards.
If you buy a cut tree remember to recycle it after Christmas!
If you have not already bought your Christmas crackers, then a little thought can be an easy step to making your Christmas more environmentally friendly. Choose reusable crackers that you fill with presents each year and use again and again, or simply one of the many plastic free options that are now available.
Switch to LED Christmas lights. If every UK household swapped a string of incandescent lights for its LED equivalent, we could save more than £11 million and 29,000 tonnes of CO2, just over the 12 days of Christmas.
Shop local suggestions for your Christmas decorations: