Christmas is nearly here and we all know it's the most wasteful time of the year, sorry, the most wonderful time of the year!
So how about some tips for a greener Christmas? It's certainly something we all need to think about. Here are some sobering facts on the waste that is generated in Scotland at Christmas time.
We send 95 million Christmas cards. That's over 13,000 wheelie bins full!
we use 19,000 miles of wrapping paper, enough to wrap mainland Scotland's coastline 2 and a half times. Most of it goes straight to landfill ....
More than 50,000 tonnes of food and drink will be thrown out in December alone!
Every year we import 10,000 tonnes of gifts from China. Many Christmas presents are never used and may eventually be thrown out.
This Christmas why not consider sourcing, or creating unique gifts that are kinder to the environment?
The best way to save the environment is to buy less! Do we really need to buy a certain number of gifts, or spend a certain amount?
Buy local - not only are your supporting your local shops and community, you will cut down on air miles, therefore carbon emissions.
Why buy a potentially unwanted gift when you can give an experience instead?
Secret Santa is the way to get one great present instead of lots of little (less useful) presents. Get together with your family as well as your colleagues.
Send e-cards, or make your own - preferably without glitter (really bad for the environment). If you do buy cards, please ensure they are made from recycled paper.
Make your own gifts*, extra points for making them out of repurposed/recycled materials! Friends and family will really appreciate the effort you have put in. Check out the chocolate bark and gift boxes, bathbombs and giftbags made from wallpaper scraps we made at our recent Crafting Christmas Workshop].
Thanks so much to everyone that has been involved in some way with our work this year, you really are helping us to make a difference. Have a great Christmas and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
*Remember, all the handouts from our workshops, including instructions and recipes, are now available on the Gate Church website here
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Give Box Sorting - 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th January, 1-4pm
Gate Church International
Thanks to the record amount of donations we are receiving in our Give Boxes we will continue to sort through them weekly in January and would love one or two more volunteers to help us! Email or call us for more information.
We don't yet have solid dates for public workshops and events in January, as we have quite a few planned with various community groups. However we are planning the following for February onwards (dates will be confirmed in the new year);
- Clothing repair cafes around the city
- Film screenings
- Seed Swap event (early spring) at Miller's Wynd Allotments
- A special event or two for Pass It On Week (9th - 17th March) for which the theme is 'The Big Declutter'
- Energy Fair (March) - we will have stallholders from various national and local organisations covering everything energy related, from information on home renewables to energy efficiency measures to e-bikes. Something for everyone!
Having submitted the planning permission over a month ago, we await news in the New Year. Other groups around the country have been contacting us for advice on setting up a fridge, so at least in the meantime we have been able to help others with the research we have done! There has been so much interest in this project and we can't wait to get started.
In the last 12 months we've managed to redistribute just under 8 tonnes, that's 8000kg of your donations, to people in need of clothes and household items, or people who could use all the more random bits and bobs. In November we held a 'Frock Swap' where we passed on 187kgs of party outfits, shoes and jewellery to new homes! We also managed to raise £303 for Lifegate Community Cafe, who we would have normally given some of the clothes to. They are using the money to help those who are struggling at Christmas time, so a huge thanks to everyone that contributed.
So a huge thank you if you have donated to the Give Boxes, it's made such a difference to the people of Dundee, and most importantly it didn't end up landfill!
To see our current locations check out the Give Box Map on our website.
Since our new funding started in April we've been working with community groups, the University of Dundee and the general public to help spread the message of climate change and what we can all do about it. We've held Climate Conversations, student cooking on a budget and energy saving workshops, and a series of workshops on reducing household plastic, we've had recycling and christmas craft workshops, vegetable planting with nursery kids and film screenings. We've been to groups such as Girls Brigades, Boomerang Youth Cafe, Uppertunity @TheCircle, Eagles Wings, Making Dundee Home, Taught By Muhammad community cafe's, and to several community events and fayres with various activities all so we can chat with people about climate change. It's been a busy but fun year and we'd like to thank everyone for either attending or helping at these events!
COMMUNITY OWNED BUILDINGS
Works have started on our building renovation as we begin installing insulation into our hard-to-reach loft spaces. We're also seeing real benefits from our new central heating system and grade-A condensing gas boilers which were installed in March. We're all looking forward to a toasty but energy efficient Christmas!
We have had 36 different volunteers give a whopping 293 hours of their time this year - to help at our various events, sorting days and workshops. Thank you so much to everyone who was able to help out, we couldn't have done it without you!