Friday, December 28, 2012

That was Christmas - now for the recycling

That’s it, then. You’ve opened your presents, you’ve stuffed your face, you’ve marvelled at the new 3D Queen, you’ve been for a walk in your festive jumper and you’ve not got washed away in a flood.

Kiss me quick before it goes into the compost
For you, Tommy, ze Christmas ist over. 

But before you can start to think about getting back to work, or making any New Year resolutions, or paying off all the bills, or planning next year’s holiday, there’s one thing you’ve got to do: sort out all the leftovers.

Just as busy hospitals operate a triage system to decide which incoming patients are worth saving, you’ve got to take a robust, unsentimental approach to the Trimmings that Time Forgot.

Here, then, completely free of charge and printed on the finest recycled paper, are your top five post-festive Reuse It or Lose It Tips.

WRAPPING PAPER: easy one, you’re thinking. If you’d opened all your presents really, really carefully, you could by now be folding up the paper, giving it a quick iron, and putting it away in the loft ready for next year. As if. Most of it is scrumpled beyond redemption after an over-enthusiastic three-year-old ripped into it on Christmas morning. The rest has been used to wrap triangular presents and has a entered a spatial distortion field from which no amount of ironing will ever rescue it. Recycle.

BLUE QUALITY STREET: long after the green and purple ones have gone, and long after the last toffee penny has yanked at your fillings, you’ll find a small pile of blue coconut-flavoured uselessness lurking at the bottom of the tin. Not even hungry magpies are attracted to these, and they won’t burn. Send them for landfill.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS: did you know that they recently discovered the gene that codes for not liking these unlovely offshoots of the brassica family? People who have the gene are what are known in medical parlance as “normal”. People who don’t have it, and like sprouts, are... well, it’s not their fault. Sprouts are dangerous things, though. Just before Christmas there were reports about a man from Ayrshire who overdosed on Brussels sprouts. So if you have a any left over (and you will have), encase them in lead, bury them at least six feet deep, backfill the hole with nuclear-reactor-grade concrete, and set up an exclusion zone dotted with Vitamin K detectors. You can’t be too careful.

SPUDS: donate them to science. Yes, seriously. Another pre-Christmas TV news item reported that top plane-maker Boeing is using bags of potatoes to test wi-fi transmission in the passenger cabins of new aircraft. This raises lots of questions – not least of which is: “What were they on at the BBC Christmas party, and where can we get some?” But there’s always life in an old King Edward. Keep for later.

BATTERIES: you mean you remembered to buy batteries before Christmas Day? So all those toys and electronic do-dahs worked straight out of the box? If you’re that well-organised, you don’t need anyone's help getting rid of the old ones – have a fantastically green New Year.

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