With all that wrapping paper, packaging from presents, empty champagne bottles and Christmas cards, it’s no wonder that our household waste rockets over the festive period. Grabbing a black bin liner and cramming all of your waste into one bag may seem like the easiest solution but with a little recycling ‘know how’ you can reduce the stress of clearing up at Christmas and contribute to making our planet a little bit greener.

What can I recycle?

•   Spare the Spruce - Bought a real tree this year? Your Norwegian spruce may have become a member of the family over the festive season but once the New Year celebrations are over, it’s time to bid farewell - or should I say ‘fir -well’ - to your spruce and lay him or her to rest. To recycle your tree you can do either 1 of 3 things

•     Check with your local authority and see if they are doing specialm tree collections. Some offer free collections which you can book.

•      Get the secateurs out and cut it up yourself, then dispose of it in a kerbside green waste recycling bag so it can be composted.

•      Or take your tree to a local recycling centre, where they’ll usually shred it and use the chippings in public parks.

Why not give your local authority a call to see which service they are offering first before you decide.

Scrump the Scraps - Every December we Brits consume over 3,000 tonnes of turkey, 9,000 tonnes of spouts and buy over 370 million mince pies. Sadly, 230,000 tonnes of food gets chucked into our landfills every Christmas too. You could help reduce this astonishingly high figure by composting your organic waste i.e. fruit, veg - anything that’s not processed. Not sure what to do with non-organic left overs? Keep them, and make another meal, there are thousands of recipes out there on the web for our left-overs, soups, curries, sauces - go on, give it a try!

 Anything within date can also be donated to a local food bank.

Craft the Cards - Each year over 1 billion Christmas cards are sent and every single one of them could end up in landfill unless we reuse or refuse. Why not try these..?

•     Get crafty by cutting out the designs from the front of the cards and reuse them as gift tags for next year’s Christmas presents.

•     Keep some cards for the kids; the thicknesses of the cards are usually just right for making things like stencils and templates.

•     Alternatively, dispose of them in a kerbside blue recycling bag, box or bin. Make sure to remove any plastic or glittery embellishments beforehand so that they can be recycled. In January some high street stores participate in a Christmas card collection scheme, so look out for them whilst you’re mooching about the sales.

Pluck the Packaging - Recycling packaging can prove a little tricky as it can require separating and sorting due to the various materials used. Sounds like hard work? You needn’t fear, the national recycling campaign ‘Recycle Now’ have a guide on their website that carefully explains packaging symbols so you can group recycling efficiently.

Not all packaging for toys and gifts print these symbols so if you’re unsure here’s a general guide -

•    Most paper and cardboard can be recycled, just remember to flatten boxes before putting them into kerbside recycling bags for ease of transport.

•    Plastic blisters labelled PET OR PETE may be able to be recycled. Please check with your Local Council.

•    Plastic film and wire ties are generally not recyclable and should be separated and put in rubbish bins.            

Bag the Bottles - Possibly the easiest waste to recycle is glass. For jam jars, wine bottles, beer bottles, spirit bottles, sauce bottles, pickle jars etc after a quick rinse under the tap, you can pop it into a kerbside recycling bag or box. However, if you really want to get crafty again some glass containers can make great candle holders, jam jars for tea lights, wine bottles for dinner candles.          .

There you have it, a quick insight into the world of recycling. As they say there’s no time like the present, so why not give recycling a whirl and give Mother Nature a gift this Christmas?