If you have any spare or unwanted gifts that are suitable for babies, children and teenagers you can donate them to the Reuse Santa appeal, which is in its fourth year, at any of our 20 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) operated by Yorwaste.

Donations can be accepted up until December 11. Find your nearest household waste recycling centre.

Once donated, the items, which can include anything from puzzles and board games to scooters, action figures and dolls, will be sorted, cleaned and distributed to hundreds of families in need through Yorwaste’s network of local organisations and charities. These include No Wrong Door, Early Help, Good Place Network, Ryedale Special Families, Colburn Hub and Community Cafe, Daisy Chain Project, Snappy, British Heart Foundation, and The Recycle Project CIC.

Last year, more than 20 Transit van loads, plus four 7.5-tonne wagon loads, of good quality, pre-loved gifts were generously donated to the Reuse Santa appeal by North Yorkshire residents, making Christmas a little bit brighter for hundreds of children, thank you to all that took part.

Get set for a greener Christmas

If you are interested in enjoying a low-impact, more sustainable Christmas, here’s how you can cut waste, buy less and enjoy a fantastic Christmas at the same time. Here are my top tips for a greener Christmas.

Prelove, experience and make

Buy preloved items such as tech, secondhand books, clothing or jewellery for presents rather than brand new things. Buying experiences such as theatre or restaurant vouchers, tickets to sporting events, beauty treatments instead of material gifts can help cut down on clutter, waste and packaging and help to support small local businesses and services.

Go natural

Most of us will have an attic load of plastic, tinsel and shiny items but if you’re just starting out or on a limited budget or want a more natural look, why not forage for pinecones, holly, leaves and berries and create a natural decoration?

Cards

Buy charity Christmas cards which are recycled or send an e-card. Avoid glittery embellished cards that are not able to be recycled unless you want the recipient to have to dissect them in January.

Wrapping

Try to avoid single-use wrapping paper (although tricky with children) and opt for reusable gift bags instead. If you have to use wrapping paper, choose the non-shiny type as this can be recycled or composted after use (remove the tape). Or choose plain brown paper and use stamps to decorate it or simply attach evergreen and pinecones to make it look festive.

If you fancy trying something completely different, discover the Japanese art of furoshiki, which uses fabrics and materials, to wrap your presents. See Recycle Now’s video. You can use material off-cuts, old clothes, table cloths or scarves to elegantly wrap your gifts.

Food

We’ve all got lots on our minds during the festive season and throwing away food can get pushed to one side by other things. The cost of binning food can add up quickly, both in terms of the money you waste and the damage it has on the environment.

Our North Yorkshire Rotters are at hand to offer advice on saving food from the bin. Along with chef Nigel Brown they will be attending lots of Christmas markets and promotional stalls. Find details of upcoming events.

Here is a couple of recipes for your leftovers from Christmas dinner courtesy of Nigel.

Ingredients

250g cooked Turkey breast

1 egg

salt and pepper

5 tbsp cornflour

½ green pepper (diced)

½ red pepper (diced)

½ small carrot (sliced)

½ small onion (diced)

1 slice fresh pineapple (sliced)

1 small tomato (cut into wedges)

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp tomato puree

1 small clove garlic (chopped)

2 spring onions

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine

1 tsp sesame seeds (toasted)

150ml / ¼ pint chicken stock

Oil for deep frying

Method

Cut the turkey into small cubes. Marinate with beaten egg, salt, pepper and one tablespoon of corn flour.

Coat each cube in the rest of the dry corn flour.

Heat the oil in a wok for deep fat frying. Fry each piece of coated turkey until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of oil mixed with one teaspoon of sesame oil in a clean wok. Sweat the garlic and spring onions without browning. Add in the fruit and vegetables. Stir fry for one minute.

Mix the sauce with sugar, rice wine, tomato puree, soy sauce and the meat stock. Pour the sauce into the wok with all the fruit and vegetables, and bring to the boil. Simmer for one minute. Stir in the white vinegar. Thicken the sauce with two level teaspoon of corn flour mixed with two tablespoon of water.

Finally stir in the crispy turkey pieces and allow to heat through. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.

This dish is best served hot with steamed rice.

Ingredients

200g left over cooked Christmas pudding

200g full fat Cream Cheese

250ml Whipping Cream

2 tablespoons Elderflower Cordial

1 tablespoon Brandy

50g Butter

200g crushed Digestive/Gingernut Biscuits

A few Blackberries

A few Strawberries

A few Gooseberries

Olive Oil

Icing Sugar

Method

Slice the Christmas pudding to approximately 1cm thick pieces and lightly fry in a non-stick frying pan treating it as if it were black pudding.

Once cooked remove from pan and place into a large bowl and allow to cool.

Prepare your cheesecake ring by lightly oiling with olive oil and place on a quality cake board.

Melt the butter in a pan and add to the crushed biscuits and mix well.

Place the biscuit mixture into the bottom of the flan ring but don’ t pack tightly.

Add the brandy and elderflower cordial to the Christmas pudding and mix together. Soften the cream cheese and add to the mixture.

Whip the cream to a stiff peak and fold into the mixture.

Place the mixture onto the biscuit base and level with a palette knife to the top of the ring.

Wash all the berries and cut the strawberries in half and alternate the berries around the top rim of the cheesecake. Chill for 2 hours.

Remove the ring and serve.

Top five festive food tips

1: keep your Christmas cool

Double check your fridge is set at 5°C or below and test this with a fridge thermometer. Food will stay fresher for longer.

2: get to know your dates

Understanding the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use-by’ dates means you can avoid throwing away good food unnecessarily. Best before is about quality:  food will be safe to eat after this date but may no longer be at its best. Use-by is about safety.

3: get your festive freeze on

Eighty per cent of people have thrown away food that was close to its use-by date without realising they could freeze it and keep it for later. It is safe to freeze food right up until the use-by date.   

4: love your leftovers

There are endless ways to reinvent Christmas leftovers. Cool them, cover them, and put them in the fridge or freezer within one to two hours. Love Food Hate Waste has lots of tips and recipes.

5: know your reheating rules

Once food is defrosted, you will need to eat it within 24 hours. Remember that previously cooked and frozen meat should only be reheated once. However, you can safely cook defrosted meat into a new meal and freeze that dish for use another day. For example, you can buy your turkey frozen, defrost it, cook it, and use the leftovers in a curry, which itself can be frozen to eat and enjoy another day. 

And finally, don’t forget to check your rubbish and recycling collection dates – there will be temporary changes from mid-December because of the bank holidays. Check your council’s website or see if you have a bin sticker/tag. If you do forget to put your bin/box out in time, our HWRCs are open 8.30am to 4pm every day except Wednesdays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.