Wicklow County Council is encouraging people to celebrate Christmas more sustainably this year as more than ever we need to enjoy the festivities without generating extra waste and cost.
Over the Christmas period we buy more food, give and receive many gifts and use much more energy. Care with planning for the big day and a focus on reducing our use of energy will help us keep our spending down.
Food expenditure increases dramatically in the run up to Christmas. We buy the best of foods for our table and for friends and family gatherings. While most will be eaten, Christmas is a time when more food gets thrown out than at any other time of the year.
Good planning and a shopping list can help keep the bill and waste down. Don’t buy food for tradition if nobody will eat it, make plans to save, store and reuse the leftovers and remember that the shops will reopen quickly after Christmas so no need to overstock on essentials.
Do remember to put some great local Wicklow products in the trolley. www.wicklownaturally.ie is a great place to check out what’s available.
“Food is one of the big contributors to our greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting waste and buying local is a simple cost-effective climate action we can all undertake,” explained Jim Callery, Environmental Awareness Officer with Wicklow County Council.
However, with the best will in the world there will have extra waste for the bin over Christmas. Extra packaging, gift wrapping and food peelings will all end up in the bin so the advice is to make good use of all three bins, minimizing what goes in general waste, while maximizing our recycling or use of brown bins and composting.
Make sure all in the house are aware of how to segregate and recycle waste correctly. Visit mywaste.ie for further information on recycling and waste management. Remember all recycling should be clean, dry and binned loose.
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, commented: “Every household should have a recycling bin provided by their bin collector and Wicklow County Council provides a network of five recycling centres which take a greater range of materials for recycling including free recycling of electrical goods. Christmas trees are also taken free-of-charge after Christmas in our recycling centres.”
The additional lighting, extra cooking and need to heat our homes increases our energy consumption over the Christmas period. Big cost increases over the last 12 months are challenging for all, but most of all those households who can least afford it. Everyone can take steps to reduce energy use and save money in the process.
Start with simple steps like reducing the amount of time lights are on and getting into the habit of switching them off when a room is not in use. Turning the heating down by one degree can cut heating bills by 10% per cent.
Mr Brian Gleeson, CEO of Wicklow County Council, stated: “Staff in Wicklow County Council are undertaking the Reduce your Use campaign and we also aim to reduce our carbon emissions 50 per cent by 2030. We will continue to invest in energy efficiency and encourage all householders to take similar action within their means to reduce their use and our climate impact from energy.”