As Christmas preparations reach frenzy pitch across the UK, shoppers and householders in the Winchester District are being encouraged to save money and protect the environment by making 2016 a lower carbon Christmas.

Inspired by this year’s Woolly Hat Fair on the theme of the 12 Days of Christmas, the Winchester District Low Carbon Board is proposing a complementary 12 Days to help reduce the waste and greenhouse gas emissions generated over the festive season each year.

Day 1              Save paper and postage costs this year: send a virtual Christmas card or record your own video greeting.

Day 2              Instead of buying new decorations this year, have a Christmas swap shop with friends, rummage at the charity shops or make your own from recycled materials.

Day 3              Shop smart – take your own carrier bags, make a list to avoid accidental over-buying, and avoid presents in excessive packaging.

Day 4              Wrap with a difference – use newspaper, magazines, scarves or other alternatives rather than buying wrapping paper.

Day 5              Buy a Christmas outfit that you know you can restyle to wear again.

Day 6              Make your own crackers and table decorations.  The kids will love to help.

Day 7              Love your leftovers.  Check the internet for great recipes to liven up the cold stuff.

Day 8              Feed your composter – it will make short work of vegetable peelings and some of that biodegradable packaging.

Day 9              Give unwanted gifts to charity shops, resell them on sites like Ebay or repurpose them as gifts for birthdays.

Day 10           Recycle your cards, bottles and electrical items that have been replaced by shiny new ones.

Day 11           Make use of the Council’s Christmas tree collection service at www.winchester.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/garden-waste-collection/

Day 12           Keep warm and pay less by switching to a cheaper energy tariff or supplier – check the Citizens Advice comparison tool for help.

Cllr Frank Pearson, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, Health & Wellbeing, added:

“Up to one in eight Britons struggle to make ends meet after over-spending at Christmas.  The ’12 Days’ from our Low Carbon Board will help to reduce pressure on household budgets, whilst providing families with some great opportunities to make things together, use their imaginations and avoid the Christmas crush in the big shopping centres.  In fact, we think they will help to put the joy back in Christmas – as well as a few pennies back in your purse.”

Susie Phillips, Chair of Winchester Action on Climate Change’s Waste Group, said:

“Households generate a whopping 25% more waste at Christmas. According to estimates by recycling advisors WRAP, discarded Christmas wrapping paper in the UK alone could stretch to the moon. Along with one billion cards and enough tin foil to cover Suffolk that adds up to a whole lot of rubbish generated over the festive period.”

Around 60% of all Christmas waste can be recycled.  If it was, 352,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases would be saved every year. This is enough energy to fly Santa in a plane around the world on Christmas Eve 64,500 times, or the equivalent of taking 111,000 cars off the road each year.  For more information about managing your waste and recycling effectively, log onto the City Council’s website at www.winchester.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/