Waterford City Council is encouraging the public to think green as the Christmas season rapidly approaches.

As we all know, December is a frantic time for Mams, Dads (and elves). Unfortunately, as most sitting rooms and, more regrettably, road sides and ditches are testament to in the days following Christmas, the levels of waste generated by consumers is pretty alarming.

In a bid to help the shop-till-they-drop army out there, the City Council’s Environmental Services Office has offered the following tips to ease the waste burden on all:

Buy rechargeable items: “Many toys require batteries,” according to Ella Ryan of Waterford City Council.

“Why not buy rechargeable batteries and charger instead of disposable batteries? Using rechargeable batteries means you create less waste and you can also recycle rechargeable batteries at the end of their life.”

She continued: “Thousands of tonnes of household batteries are thrown away each year. A very small percentage of these are recycled. When disposed of incorrectly, chemicals from them can leak into the ground and this can affect wildlife and ecosystems.

“If you have batteries to dispose of, please recycle them; both car and general purpose batteries can be taken to Bilberry Recycling Centre free of charge.”

Bring a reusable bag with you when you go shopping: “If you have to take a bag with your purchase, save it and use it again” says Ella Ryan.

“Since the introduction of the plastic bag levy in 2002, consumption of plastic bags has dropped approximately 90 per cent, from 1.2 billion to 230 million per year.

“This has meant that plastic bag litter has been dramatically reduced and has also saved approximately 18,000,000 litres of oil due to reduced production of plastic bags.”

The City Council has also suggested e-mailing Christmas cards to friends who can receive them. And why not buy refills for products?

“By buying refills for products such as ink cartridges or washing powders, you can help the environment as well as saving money,” said Ella Ryan.