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How to have a resource efficient Christmas

Hanna Hayward 17 Dec 2014

Tis the season to be merry, and often, wasteful. Without sounding like a Grinch, there are so many easy ways we could all have a more resource efficient festive season, on sites and at home.

Construction sites shut down during the festive season, a well-deserved break from the cold. But this can often lead to a waste of energy if site teams don’t switch off. Leaving heating and power on soon adds up: a 2kW convector heater and a 2kW water heater will cost £95 to leave on over the break, while a 400W flood light will cost £9.50, a 10KVA transformer will cost around £34 and a desktop computer will cost around £5.90 to run over the break. That could be a total of approximately £144! So, it makes financial sense to physically switch off all unnecessary heating, lighting and other non-essential equipment, and adjust thermostats in offices so that heating is set to frost protection only (approximately 5ᴼC). Then you can rest easy over the festive break.

The Christmas shut down is almost here

And there are many simple steps to have a more sustainable Christmas, by applying resource efficiency principles of reuse and recycle! Christmas gift bags, ribbon and wrapping paper can be reused for different people to the year before, and even Christmas cards can be turned into gift cards or to make new cards. But avoid buying glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper as it is difficult to recycle. You can use old maps, musical paper or newspapers to make great wrapping paper, topped off with a ribbon or a bow! Christmas cards however, are easily recycled – drop them off at Sainsburys, M&S, Tesco Extra, and WHSmith.

Torn between real and fake Christmas trees? Plastic trees are reusable but you could by a small tree in a large pot and reuse it every year without having to plant it. Of course Christmas wouldn’t be as magical without the fairy lights but try to not use as many and make sure they’re turned off at bedtime!

We can also spend better: support local small businesses by buying gifts from them to help boost our local economy and buy charity Christmas cards to make a difference with our spending. You can also easily make your own Christmas Jumper instead of spending £15 on an itchy high street one you will only ever wear once! I made mine by upcycling one of my plain jumpers with some excess ribbon from wrapping presents. And it means I can donate the money I would have spent to CRASH, the construction and property industry’s charity for homeless people.

Wishing you all a very resource efficient Christmas and a sustainable New Year!



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