Since NORSUS has been working with circular economy for decades, we have some Christmassy circular economy tips to share:
Think about the circular economy hierarchy when you are considering gifts, food and waste. Reduce, reuse, redesign, recycle & recover & if you can’t use the materials anymore, recover the energy.
- Gifts: Tell your friends and family that you think used gifts are great – then they know you will be happy with something pre-loved. If older children in the family have grown out of toys or clothes, wrap them up for another lucky child. Books you have read and enjoyed can be given to others to pass on the joy. Make the gift more personal by writing a greeting inside, referring to your favourite pages or quotes. Another idea is homemade gift cards for services the receiver would find helpful (e.g. help in the garden / around the house / baby-sitting / dinner / a walk together with you providing hot chocolate and snacks / a course in something you know how to do).
- Christmas wrapping paper: use some paper you already have. Do you have loads of drawings your kids have done, or newspapers or magazines? Use that paper rather than buying wrapping paper. It saves you from getting into trouble when they find their precious drawings in the recycling bin. You can decorate the packages with natural materials you find on a walk, like dry leaves as labels. Other decorations could be edible treats.
Christmas food: if you should have too many Christmas biscuits (it’s a Norwegian tradition that every house needs 7 types), then try and use them for new dishes, like in a cheesecake base, or Eton mess. If you are too full of goodies and the dessert option is just not for you, then the heating value of Christmas biscuits is actually really high, so you can use them as firelighters.
Gingerbread house: If you make a gingerbread house or other gingerbread decorations this year, put them in a box in a dry place and use them again next year. We know you can get at least 10 years use – from our own empirical evidence.
Clothes: Christmas themed clothes don’t get worn out, as they are only used for a few days every year. Look out for used Christmas clothes on used clothing websites or clothes swapping forums. You can let Christmas clothes that are now too small get a new life, or even arrange your own Christmas Jumper swap with your friends, colleagues or neighbours.
- Our circular economy tip for Santa is this: You have 8 reindeer pulling the sled, which by our calculations provides the equivalent of approximately 10 900 kWh* biogas, which means that you could heat your workshop with biogas for almost the whole year. Biogas is also useful as a transport fuel, so if you’d like to give the reindeer a rest during the Christmas rush, you could get the sleigh about 2020 km on its journey with that amount of biogas. Doing your whole journey on biogas would be a challenge, as you’d need about 150 more reindeer.
* A key assumption for this calculation is that reindeer dung has a biogas production capacity similar to that of cattle manure