Top ten tips for a green Christmas

Monday 21 December 2009

Christmas is a time for celebration, but also the time when extra eating, drinking and present buying leads to high volumes of waste – with Brits producing 3 million tonnes of waste over the festive season.

With Scotland having set up a 2020 Climate Delivery Group to drive forward a green future, the University of St Andrews Sustainability Institute is now calling on every household to play a part and cut the waste this Christmas. Jan Bebbington, Director of the University of St Andrews Sustainability Institute, and newly appointed member of Scotland’s 2020 Climate Delivery Group, said:

“The Scottish Government has shown leadership both in bringing forward climate change legislation as well as having appropriately high aspirations for 2020 reductions. Delivery must follow commitment and I am pleased to be involved in Scotland’s 2020 Climate Delivery Group.

“It is estimated that over the festive season Brits throw out 1 billion Christmas cards, 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper, 750 million extra glass bottles and containers, and 500 million extra drinks cans. We can each play a part in reducing waste this Christmas, and talking climate change.

The University of St Andrews Sustainability Institute’s ten top tips to enjoying a green Christmas are:

1. Recycle – Christmas cards, bottles, glass jars and cans

2. Re-use wrapping paper – wrapping paper is often still in good condition after it has been used. Why not save it up and reuse it next year?

3. Always switch Christmas lights off when you leave the room – it’s a myth leaving fluorescent lights on uses less energy than turning them off

4. Buy eco-friendly gifts – buy gifts made from recycled material, gifts with as little packaging as possible, or gifts produced by local craftsmen.

5. Some live Christmas trees can be re-planted after Christmas. Why not re-plant your in your garden after Christmas?

6. When travelling home for Christmas – travel by train or bus

7. When cooking Christmas dinner, keep the lids on pans. More than one quarter of the fuel is wasted when you cook food without a lid

8. Set the oven to the temperature you require – no higher

9. If you have a multi-functional oven choose the fan setting – it will cut energy consumption by 20 per cent

10. Use crockery, rather than plastic or paper plates or cups – if you’re having a party and don’t want to buy that many reusable items, there are a number of places where you can hire them for the evening.



Jan Bebbington is Professor of Accounting and Sustainable Development in the School of Management at the University of St. Andrews and the Director of the St Andrews Sustainability Institute.

Her research interests focus around the themes of corporate social reporting on sustainable development; full cost accounting and modelling; and governance for sustainable development. She is also Vice-Chair (Scotland) of the Sustainable Development Commission.

The Sustainable Development Commission is the Government’s official advisor on sustainable development (see For further details regarding the 2020 Climate Delivery Group go to: Contact details: [email protected]

Issued by the University of St Andrews

Contact Emma Shea, Communications Manager on 01334462 109 or email [email protected]

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