Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, filled with lavish food, beautifully decorated trees and adorable cards from friends and family. However, what many don’t realise is that it is also the time of year when we waste the most, cards, trees and ornaments alike. Whilst humans enjoy themselves throughout the month, the recycling and landfill centres pay for it deeply… It is estimated that over the Christmas period, we waste 30% more rubbish than usual- 3 million tonnes more than usual. Whilst much of the waste is non-recyclable, a surprising quantity of it is. For example, only some types of wrapping paper are recyclable- if it is laminated or covered in glitter or doesn’t pass the scrunch test, then it is not recyclable.

Around 54 million platefuls of food are thrown in the bin on average. Not only is this a waste of food, but it is also a waste of money- people spend masses on food over the holidays and at least a few platefuls of it are thrown out and never consumed. Not only is the food wasted, but the containers as well- although some can be recycled. 1 million mince pie cases are equal to 1 tonne of aluminium, and in the UK alone, we consume at least 150 million mince pies.

Many households in Britain still remain unmotivated to care about the waste they throw away, but as more attention gets drawn to the matter, that will change. In 2018, a survey carried out revealed that 1 in 10 British households had arguments about the amount of wasted material used over the festive period. Although this may go against many peoples views of a standard Christmas, an easy way to cut waste would be to decrease the amount of wrapping paper you use (try putting presents in gift bags and covering them with tissue paper, so it can all be used again for the next year).

As the festive period comes to an end, people will begin to take down their Christmas decorations. Christmas cards (as long as they aren’t plastic or glitter covered) will be recycled, real trees will be composted (check your local borough for more details) and broken Christmas lights will be handed in to small electrical recycling or deposited in specific recycling bins.

The thing to keep in mind for the Christmas coming, is that one of the ways to reduce your waste, is to simply not buy as much; sometimes less is better. But for the moment, make sure to recycle as much as you can, and try to reduce your waste throughout the year. Happy recycling everyone!