Top tips for a low-waste festive season

18th December

Christmas is great fun…but we don’t half produce a lot of rubbish at the end of it. That is why recycling at this time of year is so important. Here are some tips from Wealden Council that will help to save some of our precious resources.

Wealden remains the top performing recycling authority in East Sussex, with 52% of all household waste recycled.

The three lessons for a low waste festive season are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle:


•      Many people like to send and receive Christmas cards but if you send ecards instread, it does reduce the amount of rubbish. The UK is estimated to use almost 300,000 tonnes of card packaging at Christmas which laid out end to end  would cover London to Lapland and back 103 times – and would give you enough to wrap 260,000 Big Bens. (Source: Recycle Now).

•    Treat someone to an experience present such as theatre tickets, a balloon flight or just a trip to the cinema – they’re very personal gifts and don’t come wrapped in stacks of packaging!

•    Plan your meals over the Christmas period to ensure you only buy what you need and stick to your shopping list. This will also help you save money. Check out the Love Food Hate Waste website for lots of tips on planning your meals and portion sizes.

•    Buy loose fruit and vegetables. You don’t need those additional plastic bags and they only add to your household waste anyway.


•  Upcycle your clothes. Did you know that over 80,000 tonnes of clothes will be thrown away this Christmas? Rather than wasting your money in shops, visit for inspiring ways to create a fresh look from the things you already have.

•  Still got those Christmas cards from last year? Reuse them by turning them into gift tags. Or if you’re feeling creative make Christmas tree decorations out of them, especially ones containing glitter as these can’t be recycled.

•  Get creative with your leftovers. Did you know that 4.2 million Christmas dinners were wasted across the United Kingdom in 2015? This would be the equivalent to 263,000 turkeys; 7.5 million mince pies; 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding; 17.2 million Brussels sprouts; 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes. For some great tips on using up leftover food visit

•  Home composting. This Christmas, instead of binning your fruit scraps and vegetable peelings, put them to good use and turn them into compost. It’s great for your garden and even better for the environment and will also save you money. For details on the County Council’s reduced price compost bin and food waste digester offers, visit .

•  Give away unwanted presents to a local hospital, nursery, charity shop or school. This will clear clutter from your home and may help raise money for good causes.


•  Recycle as much as possible: Don’t forget to recycle those empty glass jars, beer and wine bottles in your recycling box.  Put drinks cans, food tins and plastic bottles, pots tubs and trays, beverage cartons, paper and cardboard packaging and (clean) aluminium foil from mince pies, foil food trays and baking foil in your recycling bin.

•  Remember to flatten and squash any cardboard boxes and plastic bottles first – It helps to make more room.

•  When it comes to wrapping paper, buy paper varieties rather than the metallic/plastic types as they can’t be recycled.

•  Once Christmas is over, it’s easy to recycle your real Christmas tree by cutting it up and placing it in your brown bin or leaving it in manageable chunks (less than 4 feet tall) next to your brown bin. Alternatively, you can take your tree to your local Household Waste Recycling Site. Some places like offer a recycling service when you purchase your tree.

•  Please remember NOT to put any hot ashes into your bins.