17 December 2019
Ways to reduce waste at Christmas
Read Time: 4 mins
Christmas may be best known as the most wonderful time of the year, however it is also the most wasteful time of the year. With all of the gift giving and the extra food that is bought, Christmas produces a lot more waste than normal. In the UK alone we create 30% more waste than usual during the Christmas period. As well as this being bad for the environment, too much waste can be an inconvenience for you.
How to have a waste free Christmas
It is important to try to reduce your waste over Christmas as much as you can. You can still help the planet whilst also having a good time. Having less waste after the Christmas period means that you won’t have to struggle so much whilst waiting for your rubbish clearance. Many councils don’t operate their waste collection during the Christmas period or the rubbish collection service is very sporadic. Here, we have several different ways in which you can reduce your waste with very little effort.
Paper and cardboard waste
As the festive period approaches, shops, restaurants and pubs start to advertise their Christmas offers. These can start as early as September in some cases! All of these posters, leaflets and signage will be discarded once December 26th comes around. If this goes to landfill, then extra CO2 and methane will be produced. All of these greenhouse gases are contributing to climate change and need to be reduced as much as possible. This is why we strive to divert at least 95% of the waste that we collect away from landfill.
If you are a business owner, you can help to reduce waste by sticking to digital advertising this year. You can advertise your special offers/Christmas menus online utilising social media. Business, commercial and trade waste is something that really needs to be reduced around Christmas time.
You may be surprised to learn that receipts are not always recyclable. Although they are made of paper, most receipts are made up of more than one material as they are printed on thermal paper. This means that the materials are hard to separate and receipts cannot be recycled. According to a study by ParcelHero, it takes 12 trees to make 1 ton of recycled paper. Each year, shoppers are handed approximately 11.2 billion receipts which weigh around 7,300 tons. That’s over 87,600 trees that are being cut down each year just for receipts.
At this time of year, there are more receipts being handed out. Christmas shopping, Black Friday and the Boxing Day sales are busy times for retail. If you want to help to reduce waste, then you should opt for a digital copy of your receipt instead of taking the paper copy. Not only will you be reducing waste, but you don’t have to worry about losing the receipt!
Each year, one billion Christmas cards are sold in the UK alone. We like to think that all of these would be recycled but that is not always the case. Recycling uses up a lot of energy and it is more eco-friendly to not send Christmas cards at all. A lot of people choose to make a donation to one of their favourite charities instead of sending cards. If you feel that you can’t do this, then how about making your own cards? This is a lot more eco-friendly and if you have children, they would love to get involved.
Instead of buying people gifts that have ridiculous amounts of packaging and they may not need or want, make memories with then. Buy them an experience day like a trip in a hot air balloon, a falconry experience or a spa day. Get them tickets to see their favourite band or to a theatre show. This is much better than buying them a gift that they may discard soon after.
Give handmade presents
If you feel like you have to give someone a physical present, then why not make it yourself? Everyone loves and appreciates a handmade gift. If you can knit or crochet, then you could make something to wear. If you are good at baking, how about making some Christmas themed biscuits? You could bake a Christmas cake for someone – these make a great present and keep for a while.
Ditch traditional wrapping paper
Although some wrapping paper can be recycled, a lot of it can’t. If your wrapping paper has any kind of embellishment and is dyed or laminated, you won’t be able to recycle it. Some wrapping papers are too thin to be recycled properly as well. If you want a solution that is 100% recyclable, then the best option is to go for brown paper and twine instead. Both of these are much better for the environment and can look great.
Only buy what you need
As Christmas is approaching, the supermarkets get busier and busier – often opening earlier and closing later. People seem to panic buy and stock up on a lot of food that they probably don’t need. The shops are only closed for two days, so you don’t need to panic. Make a list of everything that you need and make sure you don’t go overboard when you’re doing the Christmas food shop. Try to avoid any unnecessary packaging – go for loose fruit and vegetables if you can. You don’t want to have to hire a skip once Christmas is over!