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Wednesday
Dec272017

Eco Friendly Ways to Get Rid of Christmas  Waste

Christmas is one of the most wasteful times of the year; we waste food, wrapping paper, plastic, cards, not to mention a lot of money! In fact, the amount of wrapping paper used is enough to wrap around the equator 9 times, whilst 1 billion Christmas cards end up in the bin. This is why we need to encourage eco-friendly ways to get rid of waste in the Christmas period. Below are the most efficient ways we can do this.

Recycle

'Tis the season to recycle

Recycling is something you should be aware of.  During the festive period, many households are pre-occupied with new gifts, hosting dinner parties and more importantly eating, and let’s face it, everything will just be thrown into the same bin! We are all guilty of it, but this year it needs to stop. Christmas is the prime time to recycle, especially with all that wrapping paper and cardboard.

Depending on where you live, each house will have a separate recycling bin for different materials; however, whether households choose to make the effort to separate their wastage is another story.
Ideally, wrapping paper, Christmas cards and cardboard boxes should be placed in a separate bin to general waste. The same goes for all those plastic and glass bottles for the fizzy drink and wine enthusiasts.  In fact, did you know that  if everybody in the UK recycled one more glass bottle, it will stop nearly 4,000 cars worth of CO2 getting into our atmosphere. That’s pretty impressive! Anything we use at Christmas can essentially be recycled, all the way from aluminium foil of mince pies to leftover Turkey.

Flickr | GotCreditA few recycling top tips include: To empty and rinse glass jars and bottles; shiny and glittery wrapping paper cannot be recycled; paper towels and napkins should not be recycled with paper and cardboard.

Composting

Without surprise, so much food is wasted at Christmas; there’s only so much Turkey we can eat! Over 4 million Christmas dinners are thrown away each year, which calls for alternative ways to get rid of waste such as composting. Instead of throwing away food, which will inevitably make your bin smell, place unwanted egg shells, vegetable scraps and potato peelings into a special food bin, where you can create a compost heap in your very own garden.

Start by layering compost materials in a compost bin. A suggestion is adding manure which is a key source of nitrogen, and this speeds the process along. You should also mix it every couple of weeks to keep air in it and help the materials break down. Over time, this will start to decompose and becomes soil, merely a rich fertiliser to enrich your garden.

Check out this link for a Christmas composting guide: bit.ly/2D5zNsK

Flickr | Kirsty HallReuse

The festive period is the perfect time to reuse festive extravagances from the previous year. Have you still got those Christmas cards from last year? Are you undecided on where to store this year’s ones? Well, you can simply reuse them by transforming them into little square gift tags. This is a fun activity for those who love being creative. Likewise, if a card has that extra sentimental value to you, why not frame it, and put it on display to enjoy all year round!

If you are thinking of throwing away your new shoe box, then stop and think about how it can be useful for next Christmas. Shoe boxes can be flawlessly transformed into gift boxes; simply decorate them with old wrapping paper to make them look Christmassy and place any valuable gift inside for a true surprise.

The same goes for leftover food. If you don’t want to continue eating leftover Christmas dinner for a week, why not consider new recipes with Christmas dinner ingredients. Some popular recipes include Turkey minestrone soup, roast potato and stuffing pie and Christmas cake soufflés. All these dishes simply use leftover foods, so will be quick and easy to prepare and not leave you hungry for long.

Flickr | Scrappy AnnieChristmas tree disposal

We are all guilty of throwing away our Christmas tree. Unfortunately when it ends up in a landfill site, it decomposes and produces methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Methane is the bad news of Climate Change and should be avoided. Instead of carrying your old tree to the local dump, there are many eco-friendly ways to dispose of it.

A favourable motives are to replant Christmas trees in the garden or in a pot, especially the smaller trees. The health of the tree will be sustained in soil, whilst more the reason to use it the following year.  Another option is to donate it to a local garden centre where they usually chip them and re-use the chippings throughout the year. This is a viable option, and reduces the amount of trees being demolished at landfill sites.  

Flickr | B.GimbelAs you can see, there are a variety of different ways to be eco-friendly and dispose of waste. Recycling and reusing are two of the most important practices when it comes to waste disposal as this reduces the amount of waste reaching landfill sites, which have detrimental effects on pollution levels. With these tips in mind, you should move towards greener habits for not just yourself, but your neighbourhood and entire planet.

By Sophia-Harri Nicholaou - Online Journalism Intern

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