Did you know that your Christmas lights could add on an extra £20 onto your winter electricity bill? To help you save some extra cash over the expensive festive period, Good Energy has joined forces with the National Trust to produce some top tips that will help you have a greener Christmas.
Below are the top tips sent to UnderTheChristmasTree from Good Energy and the National Trust:
Lighting and Decorations:
A simple switch to energy saving fairy lights for your tree and outdoor decorations could knock a staggering £20 off your electricity bill during the festive period. As well as switching your indoor and outdoor fairy lights to LEDs, other steps you can take include putting your lights on a timer, turning off other lights in the house when fairy lights are in use, or even just using fewer lights.
For decorations, try making or using ornaments made from natural materials such as holly, mistletoe, ivy, pine cones or poinsettia. They are a great way to decorate a room, look perfect in wreaths or hanging off the tree and are fun for all the family to get involved in making. The National Trust holds lots of events during the Christmas period where you can learn how to forage for natural decorations and also make your own wreaths.
A Christmas tree is the staple of every household during the festive season. If you want to buy one that’s UK grown, you can find a retailer that is registered on the British Christmas Tree Growers Association website.
According to the Forestry Commission, more than 6 million Christmas trees are bought and thrown away each year with almost all of them predicted to end up on landfill, so keep it sustainable and recycle. Many local councils now offer Christmas tree collections in early January which is a much greener option as old trees can then be composted or shredded for use in local parks or woodland areas.
Alternatively, rather than buying a new tree each year you could grow your own or rent one instead. Having your own sustainable tree allows you to grow it outside, pot it up at Christmas, re-plant it in January and then use it again next year. Not only is this cheaper in the long run, it also has much less of an environmental impact.
If you don’t have the space required for growing your own tree, some areas offer a great initiative where you can choose a tree to rent over the holidays. They will deliver and collect it, and you can even rent the same tree next year!
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without having lots of delicious food to indulge on over the festive period. However, keep it green and source your ingredients from local producers. And for the turkey, try heading to a local farmer or visit the Big Barn Turkey Map to find all the organic and free-range turkey suppliers in your area.
For the big day, the National Trust’s development chef Clive Goudercourt shares 5 handy hints that make for an energy-saving Christmas dinner:
- Roast your vegetables alongside your turkey and potatoes instead of boiling unnecessarily on the hob.
- Only cook the right amount of food that you need. Cooking excessive amounts means much more energy is wasted.
- Put lids on pans when boiling to help keep the heat contained.
- Defrost your freezer before Christmas. It will run more efficiently and create space for any leftovers.
- Make items like mince pies in advance and cook them when using the oven for something else.
Cards and Wrapping Paper:
When it comes to sending cards and wrapping presents at Christmas, we all need to start thinking greener about what we use and how we use them. Staggeringly, Brits throw away around 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper every Christmas and in 2013 bought over 900 million cards.
E-cards are continuing to grow in popularity and are a much more environmentally friendly way of sending festive greetings. They cut your carbon footprint, save trees and cost much less. But if you still prefer to send traditional cards, you could make your own or buy eco-friendly cards made from recycled materials.
When choosing your wrapping paper, try to buy from recycled and sustainable sources, and recycle it again once you have finished. Better still, try using reusable bags or stockings to wrap presents. Use offcuts of paper or old cards to make gift tags or even try hiding presents around the house instead of wrapping them!
Other steps you might also like to think about include:
1) Putting on a Christmas jumper or wearing some extra layers will keep you warm instead of turning up the thermostat.
2) Travel greener over the Christmas period by sharing lifts to go Christmas shopping.
3) Turn off the TV or games console and have fun the old fashioned way – play games, read a book or go for a refreshing National Trust winter walk.
Find out more about the Trust’s energy work and partnership with Good Energy at www.goodenergy.co.uk/
Have you got any advice on going greener this Christmas? Please share them in the comments box below.