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Lancashire Times
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12:15 AM 18th December 2021
nature

The RSPB's Top Tips For A Greener Christmas

photo Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)
photo Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)
As the festive season approaches, the RSPB, the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, share their top tips on how to have a Christmas that’s kinder to wildlife and the planet too.

While the festive period is wonderful, it can create tonnes of unnecessary waste each year. Wondering what you can do to help reduce your waste and impact, gift more sustainably or looking to find a new use for those items that would usually end up in the bin? The good news is, it’s easy and often cheaper to go environmentally friendly.

photo - Terry Bagley (rspb-images.com)
photo - Terry Bagley (rspb-images.com)
So, with no sacrifices needed, read on for the RSPB’s top five small changes that make all the difference.

1: Oh Christmas Tree
While the plastic vs real Christmas tree debate rages on with no clear ‘green’ winner, there are thankfully options for disposing of your real tree that can help to make you a responsible Christmas tree owner.

The RSPB recommend checking if your local council is offering a tree recycling service for a cut tree, or you could consider renting a tree from a Christmas tree farm that will re-use the tree year after year. Potted trees can also be planted in your garden or re-potted in a larger tub ready for next year.

photo - Terry Bagley (rspb-images.com)
photo - Terry Bagley (rspb-images.com)
If you’re still struggling to get rid of a cut tree, cutting it up and stacking the logs in a quiet and sheltered part of the garden can provide a wonderful home for wildlife too, according to the RSPB. To find more inspiring ways to give the nature on your doorstep a home this Christmas, see the charity’s handy guides here. https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/nature-on-your-doorstep/

2: Give the gift of togetherness
Giving a gift that focuses on shared experiences often creates warmer memories and is more appreciated than a purchased gift. Getting out to a nature reserve is a great way to reconnect, and thankfully the RSPB has a great range of over 200 reserves across the UK to visit.

Family membership with the RSPB can cost as little as £6 a month, and if you take a homemade cake and a picnic you’ve got the most wonderful day out. This option is great for letting little ones blow off some steam too! To find your nearest reserve to explore, see here. https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z

3: Under the tree
Supporting a charity doesn’t mean you have to set up a rolling monthly donation; the RSPB has some fantastic shops on their sites across the country stocked with unique, wildlife inspired and ethically sourced treats inside. The charity have so much more on offer than bird care products - think homeware, food and drink, cosmetics and toys and books galore – find your nearest store here or shop online at shopping.rspb.org.uk.

photo - Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
photo - Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
For the wildlife lover in your life, a pair of binoculars or telescope can make the perfect gift. The RSPB have a fantastic range suitable not just for wildlife experts, but beginners too. Whether it’s a pair of binoculars for the family to spot nature in your own garden, a telescope to use out birding, or compacts that make seeing wildlife on your summer hikes that little bit extra special, the charity have something for everyone. With friendly experts on hand at a range of RSPB stores on reserves across the country, head out for a lovely day out and a spot of Christmas shopping all at the same time!

If you can’t decide from the RSPB’s extensive range of gifts and treats, wrap up an RSPB gift card this year instead. What’s more, when you purchase any gift through the RSPB, there’s the added benefit that the income raised helps fund the RSPB’s conservation work too.

4: All wrapped up
There might be a lot of glitter round at Christmas time, but do you know the effect it has on the environment? Glitter is becoming a growing problem due to the microplastics used that then make their way into our oceans.

Thankfully, cutting down on glitter doesn’t need to mean cutting out little touches such as Christmas crackers and decorations, as sustainable options are becoming easily available. There are great alternatives out there – think recyclable wrapping paper, sustainable crackers, and responsible table ware and decorations.

5: Lessen the bin load
If you’re bins looking a bit full, why not upcycle? The RSPB has some crafty ways to repurpose your sweet wrappers, cardboard tubes or bottle tops while keeping the kids entertained - take a look at the charity’s creative ideas for your waste here. https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/upcycling-for-nature/

photo Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)
photo Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)
According to the RSPB, winter is also the perfect time to be feeding your garden birds. You don’t need a fancy feeder – check out the charity’s guide to making a window feeder from a recycled milk bottle. https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-kids/games-and-activities/activities/make-a-recycled-bird-feeder/?channel=paidsearch&gclsrc=aw.ds

Don’t forget that some kitchen scraps, like cheese, cooked rice and potatoes provide a great energy source for birds, or you can also find out what’s best to feed the birds in winter, using the RSPB’s handy seasonal feeding guide here. https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/when-to-feed-garden-birds/