Putting our planet on your gift list
This Christmas it doesn't have to be only your tree that's green. With a little thought and effort you can make a difference, writes Rebecca Tsui
With less than a month to go till Christmas people are all excited and planning how to celebrate the festival. But we should also spend a little time thinking about the environment.
For the past three years, local green group Green Sense has organised the Green Christmas Campaign for schools. This year, about 300 schools are taking part. 'We're happy to see more and more schools joining our campaign,' said Gabrielle Ho Ka-po, project manager of Green Sense.
Most Hong Kong schools organise Christmas parties every year. Green Sense wants to help educate the students on how to have a more environmentally-friendly festival.
'We hope they will treasure food and just order enough for the party to prevent wastage. Also, we encourage them to bring their own cutlery,' said Ms Ho. In addition, the students are urged to not to wrap gifts and to reuse decorations.
Green Sense is also organising a recycling campaign. While everyone has surely received a gift they did not want, some of these might be useful to others. Green Sense has collected some of these unwanted items and will sell them at the Cultural Centre Plaza in Tsim Sha Tsui this Sunday. The flea market will start at 1pm. Proceeds will go towards the group's upcoming green campaigns.
Although plastic is not environmentally-friendly, plastic Christmas trees can be used again and again for many years. This saves the destruction of real trees.
You can make your own decorations with things that you no longer want, such as dolls and key chains.
Remember to store them properly so you can re-use them next year.
Food and drinks
It is always best to bring your own containers and cutlery.
You should try to prepare the appropriate amount of food, and bring home leftovers to enjoy later.
Prepare healthy dishes such as salads instead of just buying potato chips. Home-made fruit punch is much better than canned soft drinks and helps reduce the number of discarded tins.
Try not to wrap presents. If you really have to, wrap them using paper from newspapers or magazines. If you receive any gifts you do not want, pass them on to charity organisations or green groups. They can make other people happy and help raise money for good causes. Instead of buying and sending Christmas cards, go for e-cards, which are much more environmentally friendly.
1 What can be used as Christmas decorations?
2 Is it necessary to give Christmas cards and presents?