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Council Promotes A Green Christmas In County Clare

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Clare County Council is urging members of the public to “think green” and spare a thought for the environment in the run-up to Christmas this year.

The Council will launch its annual Green Christmas campaign at a special event in Áras Contae an Chláir on Thursday, November 22 during which food and crafts producers will illustrate the importance of purchasing goods locally and the knock-on positive effects for the environment.  Talks on upcycling will also demonstrate to members of the public who attend the many benefits by providing new ideas for customised, sustainable Christmas gifts.”

The Council’s Environment section will also host an information stand promoting the importance of upcycling, recycling and waste prevention during the festive period.

The November 22 event coincides with European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR), a European-wide project aimed at promoting sustainable waste reduction actions in Member States.

Mayor of Clare Cllr. Pat Daly said the upcoming event will help to raise awareness about the benefits of supporting local producers for both the economy and the environment.

He stated: “By shopping for locally-produced food or fair trade labels, the people of Clare will be helping the environment by reducing the air miles required in sourcing such products.

“There are also many ways in which the public can help protect the environment in the lead up to, during and after Christmas. Each December and January the Council sees a huge increase in activity at its’ recycling facilities and bring banks, which is testament to the public’s heightened awareness of the importance of protecting the environment around them. “This year, I would appeal to everyone to take heed of the ‘green’ tips being provided by the Council to help reduce the amount of waste we produce,” the Mayor added.

Pre-Christmas tips from the Local Authority include buying presents that do not require excessive packaging, wrapping presents with recycled paper, sending festive e-cards to cut down on packaging, supporting local and fair trade producers, recycling shopping bags and composting food waste. Householders are also being urged to recycle all packaging, and take empty bottles and tins to one of Clare’s many bring banks.

According to Joan Tarmey, Clare’s Environmental Awareness Officer: “One of the main objectives of the campaign is to inspire people to add a twist to their Christmas gifts this year by upcycling. Upcycling is the latest trend, and it’s all about being creative and reusing everyday items to make creative and truly original items.  We all love customised gifts, so if you’re looking for original gift ideas, drop into the 30 minute upcycling talks starting at 1pm in Aras Contae an Chláir in Ennis. There will be some sample ideas there to inspire you”.

Ms. Tarmey continued: “We all needlessly produce extra waste over the Christmas period. The coming festive period provides us all with an ideal opportunity to redress our waste habits’. So whether it’s reusing items to customise our gifts or decorate our Christmas dinner table, there are many ways to keep the festive season fun while caring for our environment. We are urging everyone to buy local and upcycle where possible this Christmas.”

12 Tips to Reduce Your Waste This Christmas:
1.    Buying Presents – buy locally produced gifts, you’re supporting local jobs and helping the environment by reducing air miles.  Treat someone to an “experience present” such as theatre or concert tickets, evening classes, restaurant vouchers, etc. to cut down on Christmas packaging.
2.    Cook your Present! – invite friends over for dinner as a present and prepare a special meal of their favourite foods.
3.    More Gift Ideas – other great gift ideas include hand-made Christmas tree decorations, native trees vouchers, solar powered radios and torches, energy saving light bulbs, aid for development work overseas, or a home composter available from Clare County Council.
4.    Offset extra miles – give a tree or garden plant as a gift to help offset the extra miles travelled at Christmas.
5.    Buy a battery charger – avoid gifts which require batteries, or purchase a battery recharger and rechargeable batteries.
6.    E-Cards – Why not send a festive e-card instead of a paper one, or make your own from paper and textile scraps you find around the house.
7.    Alternative wrapping – Try alternative wrappings like newspaper, old material and string or ribbon that can be reused. Or consider gift bags as they can be reused over and over.
8.    Shopping Bags – Bring your own reusable bags when shopping. Say no to plastic bags.
9.    Make a List! – Make a shopping list so you’re not tempted to buy things you don’t really need or want.
10.    Low food air-miles – Shop for locally produced food or fair trade labels. Challenge yourself to make dinner entirely from locally produced produce.
11.    Food for Thought – At least 20% of all the food we buy is thrown out!  Visit www.stopfoodwaste.ie for inspiring ideas of what to do with leftovers. Feed your composter with any uncooked food waste.
12.    Recycle – remember to use your dry recyclable collection provided by your waste collector.  You can also use your local bottle bank and/or Recycling Centre.

Upcycling talks: will take place in the Council Chamber foyer in Aras Contae an Chlair on November 22 from 1pm.  Talks last 30 minutes and are free of charge.

-ENDS-

Note to Editor:
-    Joan Tarmey, Environmental Awareness Officer, Clare County Council is available for interview.  To arrange please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 086-8534900 or media@dunphypr.com