This December, Daisy Hill Living has shared a series of guides to having a green Christmas.  Part one gave tips on preparing for the festivities, part two looked at going green on Christmas day, and today we’re looking at the clean up….

The gifts are opened, the tree is clinging onto its last few days of daylight before being either packed away in the loft or recycled, and the Christmas cards are still falling over every time you walk past.

Roll on 2012.

But before we see in the New Year with a chorus of Auld Lang Syne, end 2011 the right way.

Here are some simple things you can do before the 31st December to start the year off on a good green footing.

green christmas, ethical fashion, how to reduce carbon footprint

Six million real Christmas trees are bought every year - and only 10% of them are recycled

Dispose of your tree properly

Real trees smell divine and look amazing.  Six million of them are brought into our homes for a few weeks each year, kept warm and cosy as they shelter gifts, adorned with twinkly baubles and bright lights.

But as they age they become dry, their needles drop and they become an increasing fire risk.  So millions of us chuck them out with the rubbish, dump them in the street, or leave them to rot in the garden.

Instead of leaving them to landfill, recycle them correctly, along with your cards and wrapping paper, so they can become wood chip or compost.

Some councils offer a tree recycling service at this time of year, so check to see if yours is one of them.  Others offer a tree collection service from a central community point,

Just make sure you remove the tinsel first.

ethical christmas, reuse christmas cards

Recycling is one way to manage the card mountain, but there are other ways

Recycle Christmas cards

This one’s fairly easy – put your old cards out with other cardboard recycling in the new year and de-clutter your sideboard, shelves and tables.

Many of the big supermarkets also have recycling points where you can take greetings cards in the new year and they’ll recycle them for you.

If you’re looking for something a little more creative, turn them into festive gift labels for next year – you’ll be glad you did when you’re searching around for something to scribble a touching message to your Gran on next Christmas eve.

Or if you can’t wait til next December, cut them into strips today and write your shopping lists on the plain side – pretty and practical!

ethical fashion, green gift guide

Unwanted gifts don't have to end up hidden in a cupboard - let them reach their potential by re-gifting

Unwanted gifts

We all get them – fluffy reindeer jumpers, gift sets of smellies that bring you out in a rash, or books written by someone you don’t much care for.

But unwanted gifts don’t have to gather dust in your wardrobe – they can fulfil their full potential by being “re-gifted” to someone who will love them as much as they deserve.

Or sell them on eBay.

green christmas, ethical christmas, green resolutions

Make new year's resolution that you're going to keep in 2012 - and make them green

Green resolutions for 2012

Make 2012 your greenest year yet with a few resolutions that help the environment (and often your pocket).

Pledge to rid your home of plastic bags, stop drinking bottled water, don’t use the tumble dryer.

Make an ethical fashion purchase or two.

Replace paper towel with microfibre towels, lower your thermostat two degrees, turn off your computer.

What else are you doing to make 2012 the year of the Tiny Carbon Footprint?  Tell us in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

PS We’ll be sharing plenty more top green tips in 2012, so subscribe to Daisy Hill Living today to get new posts sent straight to your inbox – click the button on the right to join.

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