The excesses of Christmas are now behind us and it's back to normality for the New Year. Many of us like to think of January as a chance to make a fresh start so how about a greener start? Year long resolutions can be hard to keep so here's a few ways you can be kinder to the environment in the next few weeks which may inspire you to keep up the good work throughout 2017.
Eat perishable food up. Diets and healthy eating seem to be on a lot of people's minds come 1st January but with so much food still lying about I would suggest postponing such thoughts until 1st February. I read an article this week saying that if you wanted to diet you should wrap up the contents of your Christmas cheese board and put it to the back of your fridge. Since cheese has a very limited shelf life this seems like a waste of good food. So get your Stilton out and enjoy with a few crackers, add it in a soup or top some pork steaks with it.
Donate unwanted food to a food bank. If you really can't bear to look at another unopened box of biscuits or tub of chocolates then find the collection point for your local food bank. Many families won't have enjoyed such treats at Christmas and will be thrilled to receive them.
Dispose of your real Christmas tree. The new advice for this year is to burn your Christmas tree rather than letting it decompose. If setting fire to trees doesn't sound very appealing then contact your local council about how to get rid of it. Some have a designated day when it can be collected from your house whilst others will ask you to take it to a household recycling centre so it can put through the chipper.
Pot it out in your garden. If you bought a potted tree rather than a cut tree it can be potted out. Ours is going up to our allotment.
Remember... Make a note of where you store any leftover Christmas cards and wrapping paper so they can be used next year.
...and reuse. Before you put this year's Christmas cards in the recycling bin cut out any images that can be made into gift tags for next Christmas. I have a large round cutter for this purpose but you can simply use normal scissors or pinking shears.
Look after the wildlife. The last couple of days have been very cold which is not good for a lot of birds trying to find food. Put up some bird feeders with a selection of nuts, seeds and fat balls. If you start now you should get a nice selection of birds visiting your garden in time to take part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch between 28th-30th January 2017.
Go green at work. At home it's far easier to be green as you're in control but office workplaces can be terrible for their green credentials. There's plenty of little things you can do without being branded the office 'weirdo'! Always make sure your computer and monitor are turned off properly at the end of the day. Stop using disposable cups for drinks. Try to reuse paper first before recycling it – I used to tear sheets of paper in half to make a scrap pad for notes. Stop printing out unnecessary correspondence.
How green are you going to be in 2017? Do you find it easy to make sure changes to your lifestyle?
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