Image of gift tags made from old Christmas cards

Top tips for a greener Christmas

We’d like to help you waste less and recycle more over the festive period. Remember there is no limit to the amount of recycling you can put out for us to collect - we know there will be extra over the festive period so please recycle all you can.

To find out about changes to your recycling and rubbish collections and opening hours for the Recycling Centres, please go to Bank Holiday Collections.

Click on the links below for our tips.

Did you know?

Gift buying and wrapping


Food and parties

New Year declutter

 Image of Big Ben wrapped

Did you know?

  • The packaging paper we use in the UK each year at Christmas is the equivalent to the weight of 124 London Eye’s.
  • 300,000 tonnes of card is used in UK households during the festive season - enough to wrap Big Ben almost 260,000 times.
  • By recycling 6 mince pie foil cases over Christmas you can save enough energy to watch an episode of Downton Abbey!
  • An estimated 500 tonnes of Christmas tree lights are thrown away in the UK over the Christmas period. If they are in good working order, you could donate them to charity, but if broken please put out in a plastic bag next to your green box for recycling.
  • Around 250 tonnes of Christmas trees are thrown out after Christmas but we offer free collections for composting in January - check your fortnightly garden waste collection day. Alternatively, you might want to buy a living tree that can be kept in a pot and brought in each year and finally planted in the garden when you’ve finished with it.

All statistics from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)

For more festive facts, stunning photos and tips visit Recycle now's website  Tis the season to be jolly aware of recycling!


Gift buying and wrapping

  • Buy presents made from recycled materials. Search the internet for ‘recycled gifts’ or see some we have found here such as recycled metal picture frames, jewellery, lunch bags, seatbelt cushions, firehose purses, drinking glasses, computer circuit key rings, pencils and many more.

  • Choose products using rechargeable batteries or that can be plugged into the mains.
  • Buy a gift that will last for a whole year such as sponsorship of an animal, membership of an organisation or subscription to a magazine.
  • If you're stuck for ideas why not buy  a voucher?
  • Take re-usable bags with you when you shop.
  • If you buy wrapping paper, make sure it is made from recycled paper and choose white back non shiny types which you can recycle in your green box or re-use.
  • Recycle your Christmas cards in your green box or better still, re-use the best ones to make great gift tags, bookmarks, postcards and even napkin rings.
  • Don’t forget you can also recycle the envelopes, or use for scrap paper before recycling.



Food and parties

  • Show your visitors where your recycling bins are and what goes in them.
  • Use (and borrow) real crockery, cutlery, glasses, and table cloths, not disposable ones.
  • The average family with children can save up to £60 a month by cutting down the food they throw away. Check out for money and time saving ideas in the kitchen. There are some fabulous festive recipe ideas too!
  • Check your store cupboards and freezer to make a list before you shop, so you only buy what you need.
  • If there are tempting Christmas offers and festive treats, don’t forget to freeze them if you don’t get round to eating them.
  • Not sure how much to cook when catering for extra guests at Christmas? Try the on-line portion planner whether you’re cooking for family or a party.


New Year declutter

With lots of new gifts being given and received at Christmas, it is a good time to have a clear out of old clothing, unwanted but still working electrical goods, bric-a-brac and other items that have been replaced by the new gifts you have received.

Donate them to charity shops if in re-usable condition or pass them on to others for free through websites like Freegle or Freecycle or you can recycle clothing and shoes in your green recycling box. Or maybe some of your clothes could be upcycled - see creative ideas here




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