In the run up to the festive period, your general waste bin wants a word…
We all put on a few pounds over Christmas. But whilst you’re enjoying this festive season, spare a thought for me. I’ll spend the entire period feeling so overstuffed my lid won’t fit. But with a bit of planning, you can enjoy a much more sustainable Christmas that puts a lot less weight on my wheels.
Be honest, how much ‘stuff’ do you throw away each Christmas that you really didn’t need to buy in the first place? Often we buy things ‘just in case’ but every extra item that probably won’t get used is more waste for me, and more needless cost for you.
Glitter makes up less than 1% of the microplastics that find their way into our oceans. That’s not a big impact, you might think, but all of that glitter is unnecessary. You can still choose lovely cards and wrapping papers, just avoid the glittery stuff. The same goes for metallic shiny wrapping papers as they’re a nightmare to recycle.
We’ll all be doing a lot more online shopping this year and all that cardboard and paper packaging is brilliantly recyclable (blue bin please!). Expecting some big boxes? Why not use them to pack away the decorations to save buying more plastic containers?
DIY cards: Brilliant for getting the kids involved. Brilliant for reducing waste. Get crafty with your cards and cut the cost and environmental impact of sending Christmas wishes. Just make sure you choose recyclable materials (and definitely no glitter!). If you want to be really eco-friendly, send e-cards instead.
Tree-mendous! Chopping down a real tree every year isn’t very eco-friendly, but then neither is buying a reusable tree because, as they’re made of plastic, they take lots of fossil fuels to manufacture. The better option? Look for a reusable tree that’s low in PVC and higher in PE (polyethylene). That way, you’ll not only reduce waste, you’ll limit the environmental impact too.
DIY decorations: Dried flowers and fruits, twigs and cuttings from the holly bush in the garden can make a beautiful wreath or tree decoration. All natural, and all with zero carbon footprint.
Buy smart: Buying is trickier than ever this year. More of us might be wary about buying vouchers, which increases the risk of unwanted gifts ending up beneath my lid. So buy smart. Choose vouchers for brands that will definitely be here next year, buy experiences or make your gift a post-Christmas shopping trip. Better still, make it a local shopping trip.
Bottled up? More cans and bottles than your bin can take? Please don’t sneak them into general waste. That just makes me even more overstuffed. Take them to your nearest recycling point, or put them next to your recycling bin in a clear sack but, before you do, keep hold of any you might be able to reuse. From jam making to candle holding to school crafting, there are lots of ways your clean jars and bottles could be put to work next year.
Chari-tree: You should have had your bin collection calendar by now which includes the date of your Christmas tree collection (get in touch if you haven’t had yours). But did you know your tree could benefit several local charities? For a small donation they’ll take your tree, while you get to do good. Search online for participating organisations.
Power-up! If Santa is going to deliver toys that need batteries remember that used batteries need to be bagged and placed on top of the red bin. Please don’t place them in general waste. They make my stomach rumble.
Undeck the halls: Once it’s time to take down the decorations, pack and store them carefully. That way, you can reuse them again and again. You’ll reduce waste and you won’t need to buy as much next year.
Check your Christmas collection dates: Some bin collection dates change over the Christmas period. Make sure you check yours so you don’t miss out. I feel lighter already…
>Check your bin collection dates here
Thank you! And have a very Happy Christmas.