Christmas is a wonderful time of the year but present buying, house decorating and increased consumption of food and drink means that the amount of waste we produce increases dramatically. In fact, research has found that the average Christmas week in Britain generates over 750 million more wine bottles than usual and enough wrapping paper to cover the island of Guernsey! However, there is plenty we can do to ensure that we minimise our Christmas contributions to landfill.
When it comes to the most important meal of the year, it’s best to buy local both in terms of the quality and flavour you will receive and the impact on the environment. Farmers’ markets, farm shops and local butchers and grocers can sell you everything from sprouts to sausage meat - and you should be able to pick up foodie-friendly presents and extra treats too.
Ordering a free range local turkey won’t just cut down on food miles, it will be one less bird that is a product of environmentally damaging intensive farming. Also, unwanted goose or turkey fat can be mixed with muesli to make fat balls for the birds in your garden.
Eat, drink and recycle
Visits to Christmas fairs, light switch-ons and Christmas tree farms often involve enjoying a disposable cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Why not plan in advance and take your own reusable cup with you if you know you’ll be tempted by a tipple on a festive excursion? Otherwise, if your cup is recyclable, make sure you dispose of it appropriately, either by using a public recycling bin or taking it home.
At Amberol we are happy to supply a wide range of indoor and outdoor recycling bins across the UK. For example, people who are out and about in central London this Christmas will never be far from an Amberol bin, installed as an integral part of Westminster Council’s Recycling on the Go initiative. In fact, such is the popularity of our bins in this area, one of our most popular outdoor bins is named the Westminster.
Wrap it up
An easy way to check if Christmas wrapping paper is recyclable is to scrunch it up – if it stays in a ball shape it can usually be recycled. The problem comes with laminated paper or paper with glitter or any type of foil or plastic ingredients which can’t be recycled. The issue with this is obvious when you consider it takes 50,000 trees to produce the 8,250 tonnes of gift wrapping used in the UK each Christmas. The good news is many retailers are now producing recyclable gift wrap options. It’s also worth salvaging gift wrap to reuse where possible or considering getting creative with plain brown paper and twine for a more natural approach to wrapping. And don’t forget the same rule applies to Christmas cards – avoid foil and glitter!