A (Nearly) Zero Waste Guide to Christmas

Posted 18 December 2016

The Christmas period is one time of year when everyone is a little overindulgent. But overeating and enjoying your favourite tipple aside, come the end of the holidays, your bins tell of truth of what being merry and bright really means. According to research conducted on behalf of Tameside Metropolitan Borough, in the UK, we throw out 30% more rubbish over Christmas. In addition to 1 billion Christmas cards that are binned during December, the amount of wrapping paper that ends up in our refuse could stretch up to the moon if laid end to end.

Whilst there is no need to curb your luxurious tendencies and cut back on the decadent food, gifts and fun that we all look forward to come Christmas, just a few simple steps could help you to do your bit to reduce waste this festive season. Here are a few of our top tips.


Limiting paper waste

Paper waste is extremely high during the winter months, but with the right know-how you don’t have to add to the tons of waste accumulated year-on-year. Paper is very easy to recycle, and as well as putting it into your recycling bin for collection, your local council or recycling bank will help you deal with the excess in the most eco-friendly way possible. Make sure that you buy only recyclable wrapping paper, however, to ensure that it can be disposed of efficiently.

A better way to limit paper waste at Christmas, or any special occasion for that matter, is to choose gift bags instead of wrapping paper. In addition to saving you tons of time when it comes to wrapping gifts, these gift bags can be reused, so you save your loved ones money as well as the planet!


Reduce food waste

In 2014 alone, more than 4 million Christmas dinners were thrown out. To put this in perspective that’s 263,000 turkeys, 17.2 million Brussels sprouts, 11.3 million roast potatoes, and 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding. While no one likes to under-cater for their family at Christmas, the trend for cooking to excess is quite simply harmful to the environment.

If you do plan on cooking more than you need, there are plenty of great recipes for making the most of your leftovers. From leftover turkey and ham pie to Christmas pudding trifle, it’s easy to make your cooked food keep you going until after the New Year.

Your garden birds will also appreciate your leftovers with fruit cake and mince pie scraps all great treats that will give them the nutrients and energy to get through the harsh winter months. Your peelings shouldn’t go to waste either, add them to your compost bin to create mulch that can be used when the spring and summer months arrive.


Let the legacy of your tree live on

The centrepiece of any home at Christmas time, your Christmas tree shouldn’t be thrown on the scrap heap when the festivities are over. If you have a real tree at Christmas, then recycling it is an essential route to reducing waste. Many companies and local councils offer Christmas tree collection and recycling services, and your tree could be used as compost to help nurture next Christmas’ trees or as chipping to decorate gardens for seasons to come.

Choosing a living Christmas tree with roots is another way to make this type of waste non-existent and you can even turn it into a great family tradition, watching and watering your tree for years and years.