Christmas Green Flash (No. 50)

Christmas is traditionally a time of exuberant celebration, and you can have a great time and still do your bit for the environment.

The traffic is terrible, so shop locally — Cowley Road has a cornucopia of gift shops, and there are plenty of art and craft fairs (see and pop-up shops, including Flash In the Pan (this year it’s at 109 Walton Street). East Oxford Farmers’ Market is holding Christmas markets on December 6, 13 and 20, 10am-1pm at East Oxford Primary School.

Homemade presents, cards and wrapping paper are hard to beat — there are lots of ideas online. And how about an elegant Christmas twig instead of a tree? Find one on a woodland walk in mid-December and give it time to dry before spraying or decorating. After Christmas it can go on a fire or back to the woods.

Over Christmas we generate around 30 per cent more waste and most of this can be recycled. Here are four tips:
1) Wrapping paper, Christmas cards, wine bottles, glass jars and lids, plastic bottles, tubs, pots and trays, foil, tins and cans and drinks cartons can go in the blue bin. Batteries left in bag on top.

If you can’t fit it in your blue bin, leave it in a cardboard box or clear bag (not a black one) next to your bin. Please try to recycle as much as possible as extra landfill waste will not be collected. See for Christmas collection times.

2) Turkey or meat carcasses, can be boiled to make delicious soup with any leftover veg. Put the bones in the small green food waste caddy. If you don’t have any special plastic biodegradable bags, you can wrap it in newspaper. For tips on how to store food, Christmas recipes and advice on freezing see Love Food Hate Waste website or Oxfordshire Waste Partnership website where you can make a pledge for a free recipe book.

3) Reuse unwanted Christmas presents by taking them to charity shops. Wrapping paper can be kept for next year. For more information visit Oxfordshire’s A-Z reuse directory.

4) Christmas trees (real ones, not artificial!) can be taken to the bottom of South Park to be recycled into woodchip to use in the city’s parks and open spaces.

Other collection points are: Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre car park, Blackbird Leys Park car park, Bury Knowle Park (North Place), Florence Park, Manzil Way Gardens, Margaret Road Recreation Ground in Headington and Meadow Lane Recreation Ground, Jackdaw Lane.

Have a great green Christmas!

The DRARA Environment Action Group aims to support practical ways of reducing energy use and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles.    For further information about the Environment Action Group, please contact: Anna on

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