Christmas: The Most Wasteful Time Of The Year?
Predictably, the Christmas period is one of the worst in the year for generating waste.
Recycling doesn’t just mean putting leftover cardboard in your blue bin or taking empty bottles to the bottle bank.
The Oxford dictionary defines the term ‘recycle’ as: “convert [waste] into reusable material.” This means you can take something you might regard as waste in your own house and re-using it, perhaps for a different purpose entirely.
At Christmas in the UK alone:
- 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging is thrown away rather than recycled
- Six million Christmas trees are discarded
- 83 square km of wrapping paper is binned or burnt (that’s enough to gift wrap Jersey!)
But why is recycling important?
It helps protect the environment by preserving wildlife and saving natural habitats – millions of trees can be saved just from recycling paper.
Recycling reduces energy consumption by putting less strain on manufacturers to produce new products. Recycling just six mince pie foil cases this Christmas will save enough energy to watch the EastEnders’ Christmas special!
Purchasing recycled products creates a larger demand for them: this encourages production companies to manufacture them.
How can I do more to make less waste this Christmas?
As with anything, recycling can be simple… if you know how to do it.
Cut up the front of Christmas cards and create gift tags to use for the following year. You can also reuse wrapping paper by shredding it to make decorative protective packaging around future gifts.
Every year, the average UK household will throw away between £250 and £400 worth of potentially edible food and it’s not hard to imagine that the Christmas period is responsible for a large chunk of that.
Everyone is familiar with the traditional, Boxing Day Christmas dinner sandwich, but leftover meat can also be used in curries, pasta dishes, and salads. The bones can even be made into stock for warm winter stews and soups.
Christmas trees are often chopped up by councils and used as bark for local play areas and parks. Simply contact your local council for more information.
And Christmas just hasn’t happened unless you have received a tin or box of assorted chocolates. The used wrappers can be transformed into a Christmas wreath for your front door with just a little wire and glue.
If everyone in Britain recycled one more thing this Christmas, it would make a significant dent in the several 100,000 tonnes of waste that will be sent to landfill sites.
To get inspired about how to recycle other household items, visit our previous blog Recycle Homeware Ideas.