Reduce Your Waste At Christmas

Durham County Council have released a guide on how to reduce your waste this Christmas. Read below what you can do to make a difference. 

Reduce your impact on the environment with these top tips to reduce your Christmas waste. Over the festive period, 30% more glass bottles and jars, food and drinks cans, paper and cardboard will be thrown away.

Christmas shopping

  • Take re-usable shopping bags or carrier bags with you.
  • Buy gifts made from recycled materials and with minimal packaging.
  • Buy wrapping paper and cards which can be recycled.
  • If you're buying electrical goods, check if the shop has a 'take back' service to recycle any old items which you might be replacing.
  • Buy rechargeable batteries for electrical goods and toys.
  • Get rid of packaging and wrapping paper altogether
    • Go for an alternative gift - eg plant a tree, adopt an animal.
    • Go for a gift experience - eg theatre tickets, days out, wine tasting.
    • Send an e-Christmas card.

Christmas trees

  • Buy an artificial tree.
  • If you purchase a real tree, source it from a sustainable grower.

Festive food

  • Plan your Christmas meals ahead. 
  • Write a shopping list and sort out your freezer before going for your food shop.
  • Try Composting your fruit and veg peelings.
  • Make use of your leftovers, using websites such as BBC's GoodFood leftover recipes for ideas.

After the party's over - recycling

Make the most of your fortnightly recycling collection to recycle your wrapping paper, cards, drinks bottles, cans and cardboard packaging.

Christmas tree recycling

Recycle your real tree at one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres. It will be turned into compost.

Christmas card recycling

  • Use your kerbside recycling bin.
  • Make use of supermarket Christmas card recycling facilities.
  • Cut them up to make next year's festive gift tags.

Unwanted presents

Sell or donate unwanted Christmas presents rather than throwing them away.


Consumers Advised On Packaging

A problem that we see on a regular basis increases during the festive period... packaging! Ahead of the Christmas period, consumers are being given advice on how to dispose of the packaging those new items they come to own are wrapped in. 

The Recycling Association’s have released a message to the general public. It is “If in doubt, throw it out” when recycling at home. The said that packaging is becoming increasingly complex, with local authorities adopting “completely different” collection schemes, adding to the confusion across different towns and counties. 

If an item of packaging is made of multiple materials – leading to confusion over whether it can be recycled or not, the Association has advised “It is better to put it into your general waste bin than your recycling bin.”  This is because a fifth of items put in the recycling bins by households can still not be recycled. This causes problems when the items reach AATFs to be processed and complicates all pre treatment processes. 

Englands Recycling Rates Are Up

England’s recycling rates have returned to growth in the financial year 2016/17 with a rise to 45.1% compared to 44.4% the previous financial year.

Top performing authorities were in the mid 60% levels for recycling and composting, however London councils took the three bottom places below 18%, – Newham, Westminster and Lewisham. All three areas have a track record of being been low performers.

Across the UK there has overall been a 4.9% increase in the total recycling rates over the past seven years. 

Wales Estimated to be Fourth Highest Recycler In The World

A report published yesterday suggested that Wales has been estimated as having the fourth highest recycling rate in the world at 52% despite the Welsh Government claiming the second highest rate at October 2017.

The consultancy firm "Eunomia", finds that the Welsh recycling rate when compared on a “like-for-like” basis with other countries is 52%.

This is a drop of around 12 percentage points from the 63.8% reported by the Welsh Government for 2016/17, however still remains the fourth highest in the world. 

Eunomia did note however that Wales counts “significant amounts” of rubble collected at household waste recycling centres towards its recycling rate, but this material is not consistently counted as municipal waste across Europe. And, the consultancy said reporting of dry recycling accounts extensively for material rejected at the initial sorting stage. Reporting of biowaste for Wales also accounts for material rejected at the gate and during the recycling process.

The recycling rates reported by each country established a top three of Germany (66%), Wales (64%) and Singapore (61%).