Waste free living

Dreaming of a greener Christmas

Christmas is a time to think about doing good deeds, and what better way than to have a waste free and recycled Christmas? It's also a time when spending can spiral out of control so a recycled Christmas is great for saving money too.

There are many ways you can recycle and reuse household 'rubbish' to make Christmas gifts, wrapping and decorations. Besides ending up with a wonderful, handmade item (for you or someone else), recycling also conserves energy, natural resources and saves landfill space.

So instead of throwing away that old jumper, pile of out of date magazines and empty glass jars, use them instead to create useful recycled crafts.

Waste free or recycled gifts

  • Try your hand at patchwork. This is great for using up old items of clothing that are too shabby for the charity shop. Cut the clothes into small pieces and stitch the patches together to make bags, purses, pincushions or even a quilt
  • Give gift vouchers this year. Place the voucher in a nice envelope, punch a hole in, add a bit of ribbon and hang from the tree. The nice thing about this is there's virtually no wrapping to deal with (recycle or reuse that envelope), and the recipient gets a gift they will actually enjoy, since they get to pick it out themselves
  • Instead of buying gifts for friends, why not have a swapping party? You each bring along items you no longer want such as clothes, books and CDs. You then get to swap and come away with some great new stuff for nothing. This is also a great idea to organise after Christmas to swap any unwanted gifts

Waste free gift wrap

  • Make your own gift bags from reused brown paper bags, newspaper and magazines. These can look great. Use raffia or ribbon for handles to complete the look. You can even get the family to decorate them with their own designs. These hand-made bags are like another gift all by themselves. Best of all, the paper can all be recycled or composted afterwards
  • Make lovely, reusable gift sacks from cloth material you have lying around. Fold material in half and sew up one bottom and the other side. Leave the top open, pop the gift in, and tie up with ribbon. These sacks can be as fancy or as simple as your skills and imagination allow
  • Use last year's Christmas cards to make this year's gift tags. Cut the front of the card into a fun shape, circles and stars work really well. Punch a hole in the top and attached to your gifts with metallic thread

Waste free Christmas dinner

  • Shop at your local market or farm shop. The produce is fresh and local and comes in very little packaging. It's quite often cheaper than the supermarket and you get to know your local farmer
  • Only buy what you need. It sounds like a simple idea, but so many of us get carried away and buy too much food over Christmas. If you are worried about running out or having unexpected guests buy some extra non-perishable items that can be saved for later if not used over the festive period
  • For more information about how to minimise your food waste (lovefoodhatewaste.com)

Recycled decorations

  • Paper chains. Most of us get lots of leaflets through the door printed on glossy paper. Instead of just throwing them in the paper recycling bag why not make them into decorative paper chains? Cut the paper into equal sized strips, form a loop and glue, staple or sticky tape together. Chains can then be used to decorate walls or hung from ceilings
  • Tree decorations. If you've still got some of last year's Christmas cards hanging around, turn them into tree decorations. Cut out any fun shapes or designs such as Santa's and snowmen, punch a hole in the top and hang from the tree with ribbon or metallic thread. To make them even more festive decorate with sequins or glitter

Finally, don't forget, after Christmas when all the decorations have come down you can recycle your used Christmas tree. Check your Recycling & Refuse Services Collection calendar for details, or call Street Scene Services on 01455 238141 for more information.

Last updated: 20/05/2024 13:41