Christmas Waste and Recycling Tips

With Christmas on the horizon, here are some great tips and tricks to help make your festive season the most sustainable yet!

The Christmas period is a time to eat, drink, and be merry. But all that joviality comes at a considerable environmental cost. Did you know, the UK generates 114,000 tonnes of waste plastic packaging at on the day each year? To put this in perspective, that’s more than the weight of 3.3 million Emperor Penguins! In North Somerset in 2020, 3,399 tonnes of recycling were collected over the 5 week festive period – that’s a quarter more than usual. Clearly, we need to be a bit more conscious of the amount of waste we’re producing.

With 227,000 miles of wrapping paper used each year – enough to wrap around the earth 9 times – making sustainable choices where possible can make a big difference. Of course, no one wants to do without the treats and special festive touches that make Christmas the special day it is. But there are ways to still enjoy all the things we love, and make Christmas green as well as white!

How to Reduce Waste at Christmas

Looking to make your Christmas more environmentally friendly? Here are some easy ways to reduce the amount of waste you produce, and deal with it more responsibly.

  • Shop local and plastic free where possible.
  • Don’t overbuy and check what you already have before you shop.
  • Use up leftover food – visit Love Food Hate Waste for tips!
  • Upcycle items where possible.
  • Donate unwanted gifts to a charity shop, don’t throw them away.
  • Start food composting.
  • Be creative and use handmade decorations or plants from the garden like holly and ivy.
  • Carefully sort and leave any unavoidable waste out for recycling collection.

Eco-Friendly Wrapping Tips and Ideas

Wrapping paper is often difficult to deal with, and North Somerset Council have announced that are unable to recycle it this year. This is because it often comes highly decorated with mixed materials such as foil and glitter, and is often sent for collection with ribbon and Sellotape still attached. For Nailsea residents, that means all wrapping paper waste that fits this description will have to go in the black bin to be converted into energy.

But, if you want to ditch unsustainable wrapping paper, here are some great alternatives.

  • Use brown paper as this can be easily recycled with cardboard waste – why not get children involved and decorate it to make it look extra special and unique?
  • Recycle the packing your gifts might have arrived in and decorate spare boxes or Jiffy bags.
  • Why not wrap presents with spare fabric using the Japanese furoshiki technique?
  • Consider using old newspaper, or reusable items like gift bags, tins, jars, or baskets to display presents.
  • Cut down on Sellotape use by learning how to tie presents together with ribbon or string alone!

Christmas Waste and Recycling in North Somerset

When dealing with your Christmas waste and recycling, make sure all materials are properly separated, and look to reuse anything you can. Gift bags, ribbons, boxes, and even wrapping paper with Sellotape careful peeled away can be put away for next year.

Wondering about festive collections? North Somerset have announced no change to collections over the period because Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day all fall at the weekend. There are no garden waste collections between 18th December and 16th January. Check your collection days here.

Note: recycling centres in Backwell, Portishead, and Weston-super-Mare will all be closed on the 25th and 26thDecember, as well as the 1st January. Otherwise, they can be used as normal.

Opening Hours for North Somerset Recycling Centres >

Christmas Tree Disposal in North Somerset

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a beautifully decorated Christmas tree to rock around! But how can real trees be disposed of in the best way?

North Somerset Council are working with local organisations to make these unwanted trees a resource for the local area. Many trees collected will be chipped and used for land regeneration.

There are also some local organisations accepting trees as a means of raising money. These include Noah’s Ark Zoo and Farm, St Peter’s Hospice, and Weston Rotary in support of Weston Hospicecare. They’ll collect and dispose of your tree in exchange for a donation – a great way to support some fantastic local causes.

If you don’t mind waiting until 16th January to get rid of your tree, you can chop it up and put it in green waste bins or leave it whole next to your bin for collection.

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More Christmas Waste Tips from North Somerset Council >