Post Christmas Waste

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Now Christmas is over, it is time for the decorations to come down and there is a lot to clear up. Reports have shown that we produce around 30% more waste than usual over the festive period! Here are some handy tips and ideas to help you reduce the impact of your waste.


Make used Christmas cards, wrapping paper and bags into gift tags to give them a new lease of life until next year and to reduce your demand on resources.


Remember to recycle as much as you can. Your wrapping paper, cards, envelopes, packaging boxes and crackers could all potentially be recycled, saving tonnes of waste going to landfill and reducing our demand for resources (check your local authority for recycling categories).
However, ensure that you recycle properly. Incorrect recycling can contaminate the load and mean that the whole bag must be sent to landfill instead! Sky commissioned a survey which showed that 37% incorrectly believe that Christmas cards which have glitter can still be recycled (they can't) and almost 66% plan to try and recycle glossy, foil and glittery wrapping paper (which again can't be recycled). If you are unsure if something can be recycled check the packaging or look online for your local council's advice. You can also try the scrunch test on your wrapping paper. Scrunch it up and if it stays, it is recyclable, if it bounces back then it likely is not.

Other things you need to prepare before recycling, such as:

  • For recyclable wrapping paper, ensure to remove as much tape as possible.
  • Break down and fold cardboard recycling to maximise what can fit in the recycle bin.
  • Ensure to wash off any food waste before recycling.
  • Advent calendars - remove plastic inside before recycling. 

Our plastic waste is only amplified at Christmas. It is anticipated that 114,000 tonnes of plastic will be going to waste this Christmas according to analysis by The Wildlife Trust and other charities. However, it's not all doom and gloom as this has fallen from 125,000 tonnes over the last decade so keep recycling and reducing your use of plastic where possible. 

Food Waste

According to findings by the charities, we waste as much as five million tonnes of food in the UK over Christmas. 

Using your leftovers in new meals is an easy, fun and tasty way to reduce your food waste. Here are some links to tips and recipe ideas:

Festive Pizza

LoveFoodHateWastes top 5 tips

Bubble cake, Turkey tomato gratin and more

Store any other leftovers in the freezer to help it last longer and if you really must throw anything out remember to use the food waste bin.

Unwanted Presents

If you receive a well-meant but unwanted present, there's no need to send it to the back of a cupboard to be forgotten and eventually thrown out, there are a number of ways to make the most of a bad situation:

  • Should the present come with a gift receipt you should have between 28 and 30 days to return your item. 
  • Regift it, perfect for those presents you know someone else would like and for those that no one will like there's always Secret Santa!
  • Get creative and repurpose them
  • Sell it
  • Or donate your unwanted gifts or food to charity for those more in need to enjoy.
    Garden Waste

Decking the hall brings festive fun, colour and smells to your house but what to do with it all after Christmas?

Any real mistletoe, holly, garlands and wreaths can all go in the garden waste bin to be recycled and not go to landfill, even the Christmas tree can go in if you cut it down to fit. 

Once again, some preparations may be required as any plastic or metal, for example holding the wreaths together, need to be removed before the garden waste can be recycled.


Check your local dates of collection in advance as these are likely to be different to normal. 

Compress any packaging or piles of wrapping paper as much as possible to make room for all your recycling/waste.

If you have too much waste/recycling and your bins are overflowing then consider taking your rubbish to the tip and recycling centres yourself rather than keeping the waste till the next collection.

Christmas Tree

As previously mentioned, if you cut them up small enough, your Christmas tree can go in your garden waste bin.

Otherwise, local authorities in the UK typically offer to recycle your Christmas tree themselves to make woodchips and soil improvers. Search online to find your local collection points and details.

If you use an artificial tree, ensure to keep it for at least 5 years in order to achieve a carbon saving when compared to a cut tree as they are not recyclable. When you do want to get rid of your artificial tree, if it is still in good condition, why not donate it to charity or sell it on second hand rather than sending it to landfill.

Offset Your Impact

Compensate for your tree, your rubbish and other carbon emissions through offsetting to help reduce your impact and mitigate climate change.

Our offsetting projects include UK and Kenya native tree planting programmes which can be great for compensating for your Christmas tree as they plant 1 year old 'whips' in schools and other protected biodiversity sites across your chosen region in the UK and throughout the Great Rift Valley in Kenya.

For each tree you pledge through our UK and Kenya tree planting projects, a tonne of carbon will also be saved by preventing deforestation in the Amazon, meaning that you will be offsetting carbon, planting and protecting forests and biodiversity in 2 continents. 

For the remainder of your emissions, caused by your travel, waste and energy etc, you can support the tree planting programmes further or consider one of our other international renewable energy and community based projects.

Calculate your emissions using our free carbon calculator then offset online using our environmental projects to give back this Christmas.


Support Tree Planting Projects

UK Schools Tree Planting

Kenya Tree Planting

Check out our Americas and other International Projects

Gift Certificates available on-line


Contact Us for more information.

The team at Carbon Footprint wish you all a Happy New Year