TotsBots Top Tips for Reducing Christmas Waste

Tagged in: Parenting Eco Family
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The big day is almost here and today on the blog we're talking about Christmas Waste.

"Boo!" - we hear you cry - we promise we're not trying to be a Scrooge and dampen your Christmas spirit. The holiday season is all about giving of course, but alongside all of that Christmas cheer is a tremendous amount of Christmas waste. 300 million tonnes of it to be exact - and that's just in the UK.

So, we have put together some top tips for easily reducing your Christmas Waste this year. We'd love to hear your suggestions too - just pop them down in the comments section!

1. Christmas Cards
One of the long standing traditions of Christmas which has stood the test of time, we love receiving a good old Christmas card. That being said, they make up an extraordinary amount of the waste that is piled into landfills after December 25th. It is estimated that over 1 billion Christmas cards are disposed of every year after the festive period.

Luckily for us - there are loads of ways to reuse Christmas cards! Cut them up and use for craft projects throughout the year, or save yourself some money and reuse the following year as gift tags or Christmas decorations. You can always reduce your waste completely and create an e-card to send with a slideshow of family pictures or videos - great for sending to family across the globe.

2. Wrapping Paper
Around 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper are discarded every year at Christmas time - the amount of wrapping paper thrown away in the UK would stretch to the moon (!

Of course, there's always the option of recyclable wrapping paper. It may be a little more expensive but it can help reduce your Christmas carbon footprint marginally.

Used wrapping paper can also be shredded and used for protective packaging throughout the year - a great tip for those who are moving or thinking about moving in 2017.

There is also the option of using gift bags. If bought in bright colours rather than Christmas prints, these can be reused all year round.

3. Gifts
We know all too well the pain of fighting through the ridiculous amounts of plastic packaging present in kids toys on Christmas Day. Yeah, they make presents much easier to wrap, but when you collect two bin bags of plastic packaging alone, it starts to play on your 'eco-conscience' quite a bit. It is estimated that around 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging are thrown away at Christmas each year.

We suggest buying local where you can - small businesses tend to be much more eco-concious when it comes to packaging and they make for some really thoughtful and different Christmas presents.

If buying electrical goods, check if the store has a 'take back' service where you can return your old electronics to be recycled and sometimes receive money off too. You could also invest in some reusable batteries.

4. Trees
Over 6 million trees are thrown away every year at Christmas, which creates the equivalent of 9,000 tonnes of waste - about 5 times the size of the London Eye! Recycling trees is a tough one. Keeping your tree in a pot and replanting every year is a great idea in theory, but many people lack the space that is needed to do this. Artificial trees are a great substitute.

Some councils do offer a recycling scheme for real Christmas trees where they are shredded and the leftovers are used as ground cover in public parks. It may be worthwhile to check out if this is an option in your local council.

5. Food
Over 20,000 tonnes of meat are consumed or thrown away every Christmas - not to mention the 4,200 tonnes of aluminium foil that go with it! The most important aspect of reducing your food waste at Christmas is to not overbuy. Plan your meals ahead and stick to your plan - do not panic buy! The shops are only closed for 1 day so just get what you need for Christmas Day and try and spread the leftovers over the next few days.

We understand you're probably sick to the back teeth of turkey come the 27th of December, so try to be inventive with your leftovers. You can make turkey curries, pies, risottos, stock, stews, soups... the list is endless. You can always donate some of the meals made with leftovers to local charities or shelters. Don't forget to pop your fruit and veg leftovers into your compost too.

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