How to cut back on waste at home this Christmas

This story was published 8 December 2020

Christmas will be different this year, but that provides an opportunity to think about the gifts we give and the waste we create and how we might do things differently.

Lady sorting toys

Our waste management team has come up with suggestions to help residents cut down on packaging and support local businesses.

Instead of buying physical presents, try supporting local businesses by buying a voucher for family members or friends. It could be for a family-run restaurant, shop, hairdresser or beautician that would appreciate the business and you can be sure the recipient can choose something they would enjoy.

County Councillor Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Business and Environmental Services, said: “Instead of buying a new Christmas present this year why not buy nearly new, or second hand instead. It will help the environment but also mean you can save money, or that you can buy more presents for those you love. Facebook marketplace and eBay are good for pre-loved things, but don’t forget your local charity shops, too. Often donated goods are as good as new, and a fraction of the cost. If you are having a clear-out yourself before Christmas, donate items to charity shops or to one of the toy libraries that have started across North Yorkshire. Most can be found on Facebook groups.”

The County Council’s 20 household waste recycling centres all have containers for reusable items and this year the Reuse Santa campaign is collecting good reusable toys for the No Wrong Door children’s service at every site.

When buying Christmas cards and wrapping paper, try to avoid glittery, embellished cards unless you know the recipient will reuse it for crafting later. Non-glittery greetings cards can be recycled within paper and card recycling. If you receive any with glitter or other non-recyclable additions, these need to be removed before the card can go into recycling. Shiny wrapping paper cannot be recycled, as some of it has a plastic/foil mix. Stick to normal paper and remove the sticky tape before it goes in your recycling container at home – but check with your district or borough council, the collection authority, whether they will take it. Otherwise, it will need to go in the rubbish bin or can be used to light the fire, if you have one.

Cllr Lee added: “There are many ideas for green alternatives that people might be able to use to benefit the environment in the run-up to and over the holidays, or might be able to introduce as a New Year’s resolution. Small changes can have a big impact on waste generation.”

Simple changes could include using beeswax wraps instead of cling film; buying fruit and veg bags so you can buy loose produce at the supermarket; buying a reusable water bottle or takeaway mug; getting a rechargeable battery charger; using a reusable face covering; and reusable cotton pads/face cloths for make-up removal.

If you want to get into home composting for 2021, home compost bins can be bought for £11 each from the household waste recycling centres at MaltonNorthallertonSeamer CarrSelbySkipton, West Harrogate and Whitby or ordered directly for home delivery. And a wormery is ideal with leftover food waste.

If you have extra rubbish or recycling over the Christmas holidays, household waste recycling centres will be open every day except 25 and 26 December and 1 January and every Wednesday. Opening times at this time of year are 8.30am to 4pm. Read full details of the current restrictions.

Remember to check with your district or borough council for refuse and recycling collections from home over Christmas and New Year as the days will change with the bank holidays.