A sustainable Christmas in Redbridge - recycle what you can

Alan Howe and John Sharrock from Barkingside 21

Alan Howe and John Sharrock from Barkingside 21 - Credit: Archant

It’s that odd period between Christmas and New Year when all the presents are opened and everyone’s stomachs are stuffed.

Think about how to recycle your Christmas cards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Think about how to recycle your Christmas cards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Before the fun is really all over, why not use this time to consider how you might dispose of your Christmas tree, leftover cards and mountains of wrapping paper.

With fly-tipping a regular scourge on our streets, festive recycling is something we should all be aspiring to do, says environmentalist Alan Howe, 68.

“There is no excuse not to be green at Christmas,” said the secretary of community and environmental group Barkingside 21.

“Christmas was in fact originally green – Father Christmas had a green outfit but it was changed to red by Coca-Cola.

“[The festive period] was all about nature and having food that was in season, which is why we have brussel sprouts.

“It was not about trying to force it to do something it is not meant to do.”

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Alan, who became a green campaigner after retiring in 2002, says it’s easy to be thoughtful – whether that’s consuming less or having your bulky waste taken away.

He chooses to give money rather than buy presents - even for his grandchildren - in a pledge to be more environmentally-friendly.

“We spend time with them, that is what they want,” he said.

“My own kids used to throw away the toys and play with the boxes.”

If you are already enjoying your presents then it’s not too late - just read our tips on how to recycle and do your bit.

Meanwhile, Alan says the message to be more green is more prominent than it was back in the 1990s when Barkingside 21 was set up.

“We are getting there,” he said. “The message is gradually getting through and people are becoming more savvy about these things.”

What of those who don’t care? What message should we give?

Alan said: “We are running out of places to put things and it is ruining our evironment.

“Our environment is a support system and if we kill that we have killed ourselves.”

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