10 Top Tips to Recycle More This Christmas

The festive season results in an estimated three million tonnes of waste across the UK. Here are some top tips from our recycling team to help you turn Christmas into a recycling opportunity, and reduce the amount of waste your household produces during this period.

Recycle your real Christmas tree alongside your brown bin once Christmas is over, or take to your nearest manned recycling centre. Better still; buy an artificial tree so you can use it again and again. All Christmas trees collected in Moray are either shredded or sent whole through to Keenans Recycling Ltd in New Deer, Turriff to be turned into compost. www.keenanrecycling.co.uk/

Cut down on your food waste by planning your meals and buying only what you need. If you have any leftovers (which most of us do!) then check out the Love Food Hate Waste website (http://scotland.lovefoodhatewaste.com/) and instead of having turkey sandwiches for days on end check out the different recipes and enjoy your turkey for longer. Recipes include turkey/ham noodle soup, roast dinner soup, turkey ham & leek pie, Christmas pudding strudel and many more. There are also lots of hints and tips on planning your meal or Christmas party. Please remember to put ALL food waste (cooked or raw) into your brown bin to be recycled.

Buy loose fruit and vegetables. You don’t need those additional plastic bags and they only add to the amount of your household waste anyway. Shoppers in Scotland get through 750 million plastic carrier bags a year already, not including the bags that our fruit and vegetables come in (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-23359008). Try shopping without them.

Recycle right. Don't forget to recycle those empty glass jars, beer and wine bottles in your orange tubs; beer cans, food tins and plastic bottles & trays in your purple bin, and all paper & cardboard packaging in your blue bin. Remember to flatten and squash them first to make more room. For more information, check our What Goes Where Guide

Save and re-use your wrapping paper or just try not to use as much - each year the UK uses 227,000 miles of wrapping paper at Christmas. Please remember to recycle all wrapping paper (except foil type) in your blue bin or take to your nearest recycling centre.

Don’t forget the crackers! Christmas crackers, gift bags and Christmas cards are also paper or cardboard and should also be recycled in your blue recycling bin. Alternatively you can help The Woodland Trust to plant new trees by recycling your old cards in the special bins at your nearest Marks & Spencers store in January (www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/learn/news-and-opinion/latest-news/love-real-trees-this-christmas/.)

Donate those unwanted gifts like that Christmas jumper to your local charity shop. It could be just the thing that someone else is looking for. Please remember that all textiles and clothes that don't make it to charity, regardless of condition, should be put in the textile banks at your nearest recycling centre and NOT in your green bin.

When the lights go out – don’t throw them out. Around 500 tonnes of Christmas lights are thrown away in the UK at Christmas time. Christmas lights and other electricals that no longer work should be recycled in the waste electrical (or WEEE) skip at your nearest recycling centre and NOT put in your household bin. All electrical goods collected at recycling centres in Moray are sent to Viridor in Perth where they are broken up and separated into their constituent parts– plastic, metals and glass – to be sent away for recycling. (www.viridor.co.uk/our-operations/recycling/electrical-recycling/).

Metal matters – It is estimated that around 4,500 tonnes of foil are used in the UK each Christmas - please remember that clean tin foil and foil trays can be recycled in your purple bins. Also, once all the sweeties have been eaten please put the metal tins in your purple bins too!

Buy rechargeable batteries, and recycle any used ones at your local recycling centre or supermarket. An estimated 97% of batteries used in Scotland end up in landfill, leaking harmful chemicals and acids into the soils, so please make sure you recycle all used batteries where you can. (http://www.greenerscotland.org/reduce-reuse-recycle/recycling/batteries).

If you still have excess waste this Christmas period, please take it to your nearest manned recycling centre in Elgin, Keith, Forres or Buckie. These sites will be closed on December 25-26 and January 1-2, but are open every other day 8am - 4pm Monday – Saturday and 10am - 3pm on Sundays. For further information, please contact the Waste Hotline on 01343 557045 or email waste@moray.gov.uk.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all at Environmental Services.

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