Seasonal Waste Reduction Tips

Cutting your waste at Christmas

The shocking facts about Christmas waste:

  • the average food bill is £170 per household and 35% of people admit to throwing away more food at Christmas than any other time of the year. We waste around 250,000 tonnes of food over Christmas
  • we buy 370 million mince pies, 250 million pints of beer/lager, 35 million bottles of wine and 10 million turkeys yet we waste:
    • 2 million turkeys
    • 5 million Christmas puddings
    • 7.4 million mince pies
  • we use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper (enough to go round the earth 9 times) and binned 108 million rolls in 2017!
  • post-Christmas the following amounts of materials that could be recycled end up in landfill:
    • 13,300 tonnes of glass 
    • 4,500 tonnes of tin foil 
    • 1 billion Christmas cards
  • 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown away and not recycled at Christmas
  • the UK used 300,000 tonnes of card packaging at Christmas, the equivalent weight of two million reindeer!
  • an extra 500 million aluminium and steel drinks cans and 750 million bottles and jars will be used over Christmas
  • last year, the total waste the UK created from food, packaging, wrapping paper, cards, Christmas trees etc was around 5,000,000 tonnes – enough to fill 450,000 double decker buses!

Top tips for a greener Christmas:


  • save paper by sending an e-card. If you do send a traditional card ensure it has no glitter on it as this prevents it from being recycled. Look on websites such as Don't send me a card (link opens in a new window) that allow you to send e-cards and make donations to charity
  • how about buying Christmas presents made from recycled products? From bags to drinking glasses, cushions to clothing – you'll be amazed at what you can find. Visit Recycle Now (link opens in a new window) to see a full range of recycled goods that make ideal gift ideas.
  • you could treat someone to an "experience present" such as theatre tickets, flying lesson or a trip to the cinema – they very personal gifts and don't come surrounded by stacks of packaging. You could even make the voucher out of an old Christmas card!
  • buying wrapping paper? Avoid buying any with a shiny or metallic look as this can't be recycled. Consider alternatives such as brown paper or even newspaper for a quirky look! Or you could try the Japanese art of Furoshiki, which involves wrapping presents in a cloth; 2 gifts in 1 & zero wrapping paper wastage-sorted
  • got the decorations out and the Christmas lights are broken? Take them to your nearest Household Recycling Centre to be recycled. Alternatively you could take them to your local Repair Café to see if someone can fix them.

Cutting your food waste:

  • if you haven't got a compost bin, consider one as they are a great way to get rid of all those vegetable peelings from your Christmas lunch! Did you know you can also add nut shells and wooden cocktail sticks from your parties! To order one go to or call 0844 571 4444
  • buy your Christmas veg at a local farmers market or farm shop – not only are you helping the local economy, you can cut down on packaging waste as they can be put into paper
  • use leftovers from Christmas lunch to make interesting dishes such as curry, stir fry or bubble and squeak. Go to Love Food Hate Waste (link opens in a new window) for some great recipes
  • plan your Christmas food so you don’t over buy. Don't buy stuff just because it is Christmas. Go to for tips on savvy planning, portion control and buying less food
  • do your Christmas food shopping online – not only will you save money and have more control over what you are buying, you will avoid the inevitable hordes of people and massive queues at the checkout!
  • the equivalent of 2million turkeys will end up in the bin this Christmas. Save money by only buying what you need, proper portion planning and using up leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste Christmas (link opens in a new window) 
  • cut down on food waste this Boxing Day by using leftovers to make turkey and cranberry spring rolls. Check out Love Food Hate Waste's recipe (link opens in a new window)
  • make festive pizzas using Christmas leftovers to cut down on food waste
  • have you gone overboard on buying food this festive season? Take any unopened tins, packets or jars to your local food bank.  If you live near Upton-upon-Severn, visit their Community Fridge to take your unwanted food and see if there is anything you would like in exchange.


  • remember to remove plastic film and sticky tape from paper and card packaging before recycling it
  • after your Christmas and New Year parties, remember to sort out all the items that can be recycled and put them in your green recycling bin. You can add all your bottles, cans and fruit juice cartons as well as any plastic tubs from dips or nibbles (washed out). Remember that the large metal biscuit and sweet tins can also be recycled in your green bin, but paper napkins and plates CAN'T and need to go into your black bin.
  • over six million trees are bought in the UK, most of which are thrown away, adding to the volumes of waste created. If you’re buying a real Christmas tree try and get one with roots so that it can be planted in the garden and used again next Christmas. If you buy one without roots please dispose of it at your local Household Recycling Centre
  • St Richard's Hospice is collecting from some WR postcodes in return for a donation. To find out if they are collecting in your area and to book a collection visit St Richard's Hospice 
  • if somebody gives you a present you don't really want or your children receive a toy that is quickly discarded – pass it onto your local hospital, play centre or charity shop. A lot of the Household Recycling Centres have reuse containers for charities so you can leave the toys/items there for resale to raise funds for local charities
  • kids got a new bike for Christmas? Recycle the old one at your Household Recycling Centre as there are containers for charities to collect unwanted items and sell them on to raise funds
  • around 4200 tonnes of aluminium foil gets thrown away in the UK at Christmas. If the foil is clean it can be recycled at your local Household Recycling Centre
  • it is estimated at 1 billion Christmas cards end up in the bins after Christmas. Recycle your cards either through one of the supermarkets or in your green wheelie bin. Alternatively you could send e-cards or not send them at all and make a donation to charity in lieu of the cards
  • more than 80,000 tonnes of old clothes are thrown away over Christmas. Donate your old clothes to a charity shop or use a textile bank at your local supermarket or Household Recycling Centre. Or you could have a Swishing event so you can start the New Year with a new look!
  • use your Christmas cards to make gift tags for next year
  • check with your District Council what changes have been made for Christmas and New Year collections as you may have to wait a few days for your bin to be emptied. If you have additional waste and recycling they can be taken to your local Household Recycling Centre or check with your District Council what additional recycling you are able to put out.
  • save your bows, ribbons, gift bags and boxes this Christmas to reuse. Not only will you save money, you’ll save materials from being wasted
  • recycling six foil mince pie tins at your local Household Recycling Centre and save enough energy to watch the Eastenders Christmas special
  • remember that large metal biscuit and chocolate tins can be recycled and you can leave the lids on
  • had one too many takeaways this Christmas? Reuse the plastic containers to freeze leftovers
  • has your online Christmas shop left you with endless amounts of cardboard boxes? Squash them down, they can be recycled.
  • tinsel is not recyclable! It must be put in the rubbish bin
  • broken toys already?  Can they be repaired rather than thrown away?  Take them to your nearest Repair Café in the New Year to see if one of their volunteers can repair it.  If it is not repairable please dispose of it in your black bin not your green recycling bin.
  • all of those new toys and gadgets mean more batteries – 189 million of them across the UK.  Remember that you can recycle them at most supermarkets and large retailers that sell batteries as well as your local Household Recycling Centre.  If you live in Wychavon remember you can put batteries and small electrical items out for recycling on the same day as your black bin.  Put them in a carrier bag on top of your bin.

Remember – the main sources of extra rubbish are packaging, cardboard, glass, drinks cans and food, most of which can be recycled or composted-make it your New Year resolution to slim your bin!