Christmas, the most ‘wonderful time of the year’ – and the most wasteful

close up photograph of a Christmas tree with a bauble

Posted on: 13 December 2018

Householders across the county are being urged to think of the environment over the festive period and to take steps to ensure that Devon has a ‘green’ and pleasant Christmas.

Christmas might be the most ‘wonderful time of the year’ – but it’s also the most wasteful.

British households typically produce around 30 per cent more waste during the period, so it’s particularly important to recycle everything you can and plan your meals.

Using shiny or glittery paper for wrapping is very popular – unfortunately however it’s not great for the environment.

Foil-type paper can’t be recycled, and often matt coloured wrapping paper is laden with taped-on bows, ribbons so it can’t be recycled either.

Recycle Devon suggests that you try something different this year – why not use brown parcel paper with a coloured ribbon. It’s not only better for the environment but it will also look great.

It’s inevitable however that some wrapping paper and cardboard will be discarded – so please check your local recycling collection information at recycledevon.org to see if it includes wrapping paper.

Glass bottles and jars can be recycled again and again. If everyone in the UK recycled one more glass bottle it would stop nearly 4,000 cars worth of CO2 getting into our atmosphere.

Recycling six mince pie foil cases will save enough energy to watch an episode of your favourite Christmas Day TV soap.

Check recycledevon.org for where you can recycle your Christmas cards but even before recycling your cards, why not be ready for next year and make gift tags out of this year’s Christmas cards and then recycle the rest?

And if you’re having visitors to stay this Christmas, let them know where your recycling bins are and what goes in them.

Christmas lunch, New Year’s Eve celebrations and friends and family popping round all mean one thing – fridges and cupboards stocked with food and drink.

Unilever estimates that we throw away over four million Christmas dinners. That’s 263,000 turkeys, 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding, 11.3million roast potatoes and 17.2million Brussels sprouts.

Some simple, quick planning will mean that you have just the right amount of food for the festive period.

Click here for the party food planner which removes the guesswork by suggesting how much to cook.

And for food that doesn’t get eaten, you’d be amazed at how many foods you can freeze like cheese, leftover meat and bread.

If you’ve spotted something in the fridge that’s just about to go over its use by date, you’ll be able to extend its life by popping it in your festive friend – the freezer.

And while we might spend a little extra time getting ready for Christmas and New Year nights out, just remember that toiletries such as plastic shower gel and shampoo bottles can all be recycled.

For those of us that choose ‘real’ Christmas trees, they are 100% recyclable and can be shredded and composted at home or put out for collection via your local council or taken for composting to your nearest Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

When the festivities are over – with a mass of new gifts being given and received, there are bound to be clear outs of old furniture, clothing, and equipment that has been replaced by the new gifts you have received. Unwanted items can be repaired or passed on to someone else, check out the Reuse it section for local reuse and repair information in your area.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Waste and the Chairman of the Devon Authorities Cllr Andrea DavisStrategic Waste Committee said:

“Christmas time provides an excellent opportunity to recycle more.
Planning how much food is realistically needed helps reduce food waste, using all the recycling opportunities provided to Devon residents and thinking carefully how to dispose of items will make a difference .
“Together we can ensure that Devon enjoys a green and pleasant Christmas!”

Posted in: Community | Environment