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Dreaming of a Green Christmas?

An estimated three million tonnes of extra waste are generated in the UK over the festive period but celebrating in an earth-friendly way is simpler than you might think. Here are some excellent tips from Recycle Now and the Energy Helpline to make it easier to enjoy Christmas while doing your bit for the planet.

Eco-friendly presents are a gift to the whole world and there is a wealth of ideas from environmental organisations and charities. Why not calculate the carbon emissions you produce from your flights, home and car using CarbonNeutral's calculators and offset them over Christmas by sending green gifts from www.carbonneutral.com? Or make someone a present by dedicating a tree to them? If you're not sure what to buy, vouchers and tickets at least have the virtue of very little packaging.

The 12 Days of Christmas from Recycle Now

Day One - When you're tearing around your supermarket, getting the final items for that perfect Christmas, don't forget to look out for the recycling facilities offered at your local supermarket. Many of them offer recycling facilities for things that cannot be recycled through your doorstep collection, such as textiles, CDs, books and shoes.

Day Two - You've seen those acres of plastic wrapping which you can't get through to get your hands on your lovely pressie – well, next time you take your recyclable rubbish to the bring site, why not check if that plastic wrapping could be recycled there too? Remember to stagger your visits to give your local authority chance to empty the banks over the seasonal period!

Day Three - You've watched all of the Christmas TV programmes you could possibly watch and you think it may be time to stir from the sofa and recycle that festive rubbish. But if you have a doorstep collection scheme running in your area for waste paper, glass bottles and jars or cans, how much easier could recycling get? Fill up your container, pop it outside and settle down for the next film.

Day Four - Why not get a breath of fresh air? Get your wellies on and take all of those vegetable and fruit peelings, teabags and eggshells out to the compost bin to make festive fertiliser? You could reduce the rubbish in your bin by over 20% and that's a lot of composting just waiting to happen!

Day Five - Those noisy electric toys that seemed like such a great idea when selecting presents for the little elves are probably getting a little tired by now and although you might be secretly glad about this, how about using rechargeable batteries for the future? Millions of batteries go to landfill every year

Day Six - New Year's Eve and full of good intentions and plans for 2006? There's an easy New Year's resolution to get you started – get into the recycling habit, it's never been easier! Set yourself a challenge to keep your bin empty in 2006 – think about ways to reduce rubbish at home and work by using recycling bins and collection schemes.

Day Seven - It's New Year's Day and the morning after the night before. Clear out the party clutter created by your New Year's celebrations - there are recycling centres in your area (check out www.recyclenow.com and click on the bank locator to find your nearest!) so after you are all ‘partied out', make sure you sort out all those items that can be recycled – aluminium and steel drink cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and paper - and take them to your nearest recycling bank or pop them in your kerbside collection bin.

Day Eight - We all love receiving clothes for Christmas – cosy clothes for those winter walks and party clothes for festive frolics but I make sure that I take my unwanted items to the local charity shop!

Day Nine - It's estimated that we will create more than three million tonnes of rubbish in Britain this Christmas. Even though more than half of this could be recycled, most of it will be thrown away – so please use your nearest recycling facilities

Day Ten - It is estimated that we could use an extra 750 million bottles and glass containers and 500 million drinks cans over Christmas. Make sure you take all your empty cans, bottles and jars to the recycling banks. And cut down on the amount of glass you use - buy large bottles of drink rather than lots of small ones to save on packaging.”

Day 11- Almost over and by now your Christmas tree might be looking worse for wear, probably just like you feel! Over eight million Christmas trees will be bought in the UK this year, most of which will be thrown out after the festivities. If you have a ‘real' tree in your home, please recycle it when Christmas is over – many retailers such as Focus DIY and local garden centres will take back your tree for recycling. Alternatively contact your local recycling officer.

Day 12 - Well, it's officially over, 12 days after Christmas and it's time to take it all down … but before you reach for the bin bag remember to take all those Christmas cards to your local WH Smith or Tesco for recycling. Help those lovely folk at the Woodland Trust reduce rubbish and generate new woodland through this fantastic scheme.

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