EPA ‘Dreaming of a ‘Green Christmas’ in Offaly

The Environmental Protection Agency is hoping that everyone in Offaly will have a merry and ‘Green’ Christmas.

The Environmental Protection Agency is hoping that everyone in Offaly will have a merry and ‘Green’ Christmas.

Over the festive season more waste will be generated than at any other time during the year and the EPA wants to remind Offaly households to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and jingle all the way to their compost heap, green bin and local recycling centre.

Jonathan Derham from the EPA says, “We wish everyone in Offaly a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and happy New Year and would like to remind people at this time of year that by keeping some useful waste prevention ideas in mind we can all save money and cut down on the pressure placed on our environment.“

Dr Derham continues, “By following the below tips from the EPA over the holiday season, and by making these habits part of our New Year’s resolutions, we can all contribute to a greener future. Always remember - by not generating waste, we eliminate the need to handle, transport, treat and dispose of it.”

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Christmas Ideas for people in Offaly:

* The average Irish family throws out €700 worth of food each year and this has a negative effect on every family’s pocket as well as the environment. More food is thrown out during the festive season than at any other time of the year due to over-buying, over-cooking and over-serving. The EPA’s Stop Food Waste Programme recommends checking what items you already have in stock before going shopping as well as thinking back to last year and identifying which items remained unused at the end of the season either because they were unpopular or purchased in too large a quantity. There are great Christmas recipes on yummy meals to make over the season that stretch the value of your euros and use up any spare food. See http://www.stopfoodwaste.ie/userfiles/file/SFW%20Recipes%202012.pdf

* In the run up to Christmas remember to defrost your freezer, it will work more efficiently and create more space to store leftover food.

* While doing your gift and grocery shopping try to buy produce locally, this supports small suppliers and your local community, while minimising your carbon footprint.

* Over Christmas Irish households produce more than thousands of tonnes of used packaging which is suitable for recycling. To reduce these figures Remember, the more you recycle, the more jobs are created. Why not put your presents in gift bags that can be re-used in following years?

* The smell of a Christmas tree is an essential part of many homes during the festive season and real trees are good for the environment as they are biodegradable, recyclable and help to remove carbon from the atmosphere while they are growing. Check with Offaly County Council in the New Year for details of local Christmas tree recycling facilities.

* Finally, it’s great to have a warm, cosy house at Christmas so keep curtains closed and doors shut; this keeps heat in, saves energy and money. Furthermore, with lots of people in the house over the festive season, turn down the thermostat by 1C, this saves money and reduces the Christmas carbon footprint while providing a great excuse to get everyone wearing a fun and festive Christmas jumper!

* If you got a new hair dryer or other electrical item as a gift then please pass on the replaced one for re-use if possible, or drop you old electrical unit into an authorised collection facility or to your local electrical retailer who will recycle it for you.

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Offaly County Council can direct you to your nearest recycling facilities, or check out http://www.repak.ie/recycling_facilities.php for a list of bring banks and recycling centres.