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10 Eco Friendly Ways to Reduce Waste this Christmas

There’s a huge issue at Christmas when it comes to waste and how much ends up contributing to landfills across the world. From wrapping paper and cards to unwanted gifts and unloved presents, the festivities are one of the biggest contributors to waste within such a short time period, so it’s important to know ways you can do your bit to help ease these pressures with just a few simple acts.

Donate Your Christmas Trees

If you chose to have a real Christmas tree this year, then you may wonder what to do with it when the needles have fallen and the decorations are down. Before you bin your tree, it’s worth seeing what local collection schemes are available that support good causes and prevent them from ending up in landfill.

There can be many uses for Christmas trees that have been shredded, to be used in forests and parks. This saves the need for using synthetic materials and utilises resources that are already available disposed of by homes.

Repurpose Christmas Cards

One of the biggest contributors to waste at Christmas is the volume of cards that can’t be recycled in household waste. Many contain glitter, glue and metallics that mean they can’t go in with normal card or paper bins. The only way to help reduce landfill waste with Christmas cards is to reuse them.

A perfect way to do this is cutting them out and reusing them as gift tags for the following Christmas or even birthdays. With so many designs having gorgeous pictures, scenes and typography, the options are endless for who they could be sent to.

Reuse Wrapping Paper, Bags and Boxes

As well as cards, wrapping paper also contributes to 100s of tonnes of waste in landfills each year with many papers not passing the ‘scrunch test’ and therefore being unsuitable for recycling.

If you have been given presents in paper that will likely end up in a landfill, then take your time opening and see if you can salvage it to reuse for other presents. For decorated bags and boxes, think about whether these really need to be thrown away or if there’s a place you can store them and repurpose them when the time comes. The beauty of bags and boxes is that they never go out of fashion and with present giving being an annual occurrence, you’re sure to be able to use them again.

Give Away Unwanted Presents

Let’s be honest, we get so much at Christmas that there’s always something that wasn’t really wanted and maybe was a panic buy. If you’re in this situation then here’s how to reduce the wastage that millions of unwanted presents end up in landfill each year.

  • Ask for the receipt. It may be awkward but if you’re not keen on a present, then ask for the receipt. You can exchange it for something you want.
  • Regift. If you don’t want to ask for the receipt or an exchange, then why not regift the item to someone who you think would love it.
  • Donate to charity. Shops can struggle for seasonal stock, especially around Christmas and New Year, so why not donate your unwanted items to be resold and help a great cause.

Reduce Leftover Food

‘Eat, drink and be merry’ is fully embraced at this time of year but can also lead to mass wastage of food. When planning your Christmas meals and parties only buy what you think you’ll need. This reduces the chances of having to throw food away, which could have been enjoyed by someone else.

If you do find yourself with lots of non-perishables, then think about donating these to your local food bank that need donations at this time of year. Christmas often puts food banks under huge amounts of strain so anything anyone can give to support those in need is always welcomed. Take a look at what you can and can’t donate here.

Reuse Parcel Delivery Packaging

If you shop online rather than in store you may find yourself inundated with packaging. Firstly, it’s important to try and find out whether the company you’ve chosen uses packaging that is eco friendly such as recyclable materials or those which can be composted. If boxes and packaging are reusable, then why not use it to wrap and send your own parcels?

Recycle Bottles and Cans

Cans and bottles are a super easy win when it comes to reducing waste. Most councils have recycling schemes but if you’re finding your bins are filling up over the festivities then don’t be tempted to stop recycling. Take them down to your local bottle bank and keep recycling to ensure that you don’t contribute to further waste at this time of year.

Donate Pre-loved Goods

If you’ve had gifts this Christmas, then there may be older items that are perfectly good and need to find new homes. It can be tempting to do away with the old in favour of the new, but this can add to the issue we face already with landfills bursting and waste being a problem across the globe.

For any perfectly good items that you no longer love, look to donate to your local charity. Many items can be resold either in their stores on online and help raise funds for vital services, which are needed all year round. Items such as laptops, computers and phones can all be donated, professionally wiped and resold to those who are looking for a cheaper piece of tech.

Alternatively, why not sell on an auction or preloved websites and donate the money to charity, both are great ways of supporting a cause close to your heart.

Swap or Sell Seasonal and Festive Clothing

Have you bought a new Christmas jumper for the season? Or maybe a party dress that you won’t wear again? Lots of seasonal and festive clothes get worn once a year before they’re no longer loved. The good news is there’s such demand when the season gets underway that people will be sure to snap up a funny jumper or beautiful party outfit in no time.

Regift Unloved Toys and Games

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for kids big and small, but with the UK toy industry at an annual rate of £1.4billion, it’s easy to understand how toys and games are one of the biggest causes of waste at Christmas and New Year.

Have a clear out of games and toys before Christmas and give to help other children and family for a Christmas they’ll remember. Games consoles, jigsaws, books and dolls are always sought after, so rather than sort out toys and games in the New Year when storage is tight, start giving some items away ahead of the festivities.