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Festive waste and recycling tips

At this time of year it’s good to give some thought to how you can reduce your festive waste – and make sure that as much as possible can be recycled.

Make your Christmas a green one with our top tips for reducing and recycling more.

Reduce, reuse and buy recycled

  • avoid over-packaged gifts - look at how potential gifts are packaged and swap to a brand using less packaging
  • look out for gifts with easily recyclable packaging like cardboard without the polystyrene inserts
  • buy your festive vegetables loose or take a reusable vegetable bag and avoid those small plastic bags
  • buy refills - we have a lots of lovely refill shops in the area so there is bound to be one near you. As well as food, you might find some ethical gifts to buy too
  • avoid single use or disposable items like cutlery and plates
  • buy recycled - buying items made from recycled materials helps close the recycling loop and reduces the need for raw materials, for example buying recycled wrapping paper reduces the number of trees that must be felled to make wood pulp for paper and card
  • use natural decorations such as ivy, fir cones, mistletoe and holly which all look festive and can be composted if they are not covered with glitter. After Christmas, greenery can be separated from the base and added to your garden waste bin ready for the first collection or dropped at your recycling centre
  • take care when boxing up your artificial Christmas tree for storage as they need to be used for up to nine years in order to have less impact than natural alternatives
  • if you have a real Christmas tree, after use cut up the tree into sticks and stack neatly in a shady out-of-the-way part of the garden. The rotting tree fragments support many insects and other wildlife, as well as improving the soil and feeding nearby plants
  • buy rechargeable batteries this year for all your children’s toys and electrical goods as these can be used again and again. When your batteries and electrical items are done, don’t forget to recycle them. You can recycle household batteries at the kerbside alongside your other recycling. Use a carrier bag and leave them next to or on top of the lid of your recycling bin for collection on your recycling day. Electrical items can be taken to our recycling centres.


Every year in the UK we throw away a staggering one third of all the food we buy. Do not throw away your leftovers, think about freezing them and eating them again another time. Here’s a few ideas:

  • eggs and dairy - you can freeze eggs, dairy and milk. Try grating cheddar cheese and then freezing it to use as a pizza or shepherd’s pie topping. Stilton can be frozen and defrosts just as good as fresh
  • leftover cooked meat – all sorts of leftover meat can be frozen. Simply wrap it up in portion-sized amounts and label it. Thaw in the fridge and use as normal, in a risotto or curry
  • potatoes – boil for about five minutes and freeze them for later. When you want them, thaw overnight and roast the next day. Mashed potato also freezes well
  • get creative in the kitchen and find a whole range of Christmas leftover recipes on the Love Food Hate Waste website.

You could also start your own compost heap this Christmas with all your vegetable peelings from Christmas dinner. We have teamed up with to provide an exclusive offer of discounted home compost bins.

Make use of your recycling bin

Follow our handy tips to find out what you can recycle this Christmas.

  • paper - this includes wrapping paper.  Before recycling, remove any sticky tape and decorations such as ribbons and bows. Wrapping paper can only be recycled if it passes the scrunch test - paper can be recycled but foil or glitter-decorated paper cannot and needs to go in the general waste
  • cardboard - boxes, and food and drink cartons, for example juice or milk cartons.
  • household metal packaging – including biscuit and sweet tins, and clean aluminium foil, for example mince pie cases
  • plastic bottles and food packaging – party drink bottles, yoghurt pots, margarine tubs
  • cans – drinks cans
  • glass – bottles and jars like drinks and cranberry sauce jars.

Don’t forget to rinse your recycling to reduce contamination from food and squash it down to give you as much space in your recycling bin as possible.

If you do opt for a real tree, find out how you can recycle your christmas tree.