What are you hoping to receive this Christmas? No doubt we’ve all got items we’d love to find under the tree on Christmas morning. One thing that would bring cheer to everyone at Wellington Waste is for Christmas 2018 to be one where the UK becomes more considerate about waste and recycling.
No, we’re not a bunch of Christmas killjoys. We love a good celebration as much as anyone. But with a little more thought we could all have a good time and help reduce the mountain of waste that follows in the wake of every festive season.
Here are a few simple actions that would help reduce the 450,000 or so double-decker busloads of waste generated each Christmas in the UK.
Wrapping Paper and Cards
Let’s be honest, most people are more interested in what’s inside the parcel. There are plenty of attractive recyclable wrapping papers on the market (look out for the recycling symbol), and also plenty that are made from recycled material. Shiny, foil or glittery wrapping paper cannot be recycled.
A quarter of a million miles of wrapping paper are thrown away each Christmas. ‘Normal’ wrapping paper can be added to your cardboard waste for roadside collection. And go easy with the sellotape – this should be removed along with tags, bows etc before paper is put in the recycling.
Christmas cards should also be recycled. Avoid cards with glitter. This is not biodegradable and will hang around in the environment for many, many years.
As new toys come in, old ones tend to get pushed to the back of the cupboard, even if they are perfectly usable. Toys tend to be difficult to recycle because they are made from different materials. Many out of favour toys end up in landfill when they could still be put to good use by local charity shops and children’s charities.
There’s a similar argument with clothes we no longer want. No item of clothing should ever go into your general waste. Charities will be happy to take anything that’s usable and all other textiles that are not heavily soiled can be recycled – here at Wellington Waste, we have 2 recycling bins for clothes, with all money raised going to the Children’s Air Ambulance.
Simple message: buy less and think about how much you serve up. According to one study, the equivalent of over 4 million Christmas dinners are wasted each year. Foodcycle will happily take your excess food and turn it into badly needed meals for the less fortunate.
Remember too that rinsed foil (including mince pie cases) can be added to your recycling along with empty cans.
Is it really that important to have a real tree, rather than an artificial one that could be used for many years? If you do opt for a real tree take it to your local waste recycling centre.
Sadly, Christmas also adds to our plastic pollution problem. Please take a little more trouble to separate any plastic packaging that can be recycled rather than scooping everything into a bin liner to save a bit of time.
Relax, enjoy yourself, but spare a thought for the environment. There’s no reason why having a green Christmas, rather than a wasteful one, should be any less festive and joyful.