Councils and waste management bodies are ramping up their Christmas preparations, with many announcing changes to collections and issuing advice on what to recycle over the festive period.
In Oxfordshire, for example, the county council is encouraging people to avoid over-ordering food while environmental charity Hubbub has issued a warning over textile waste ahead of Christmas Jumper Day later this week.
In Oxford, Henry Owen, lead coordinator of the Replenish Project, a county council-funded scheme using volunteers to help residents reduce their food waste, said: “Oxfordshire’s food banks and community fridges will welcome surplus seasonal goods, tins, packets and long dated items in January when the need is great.
“Reducing food waste is one of the easiest things we can do to help the environment.”
Residents have been told that if their recycling bin is struggling to cope with all the extra cardboard, plastic and paper, any that cannot fit into the bin can be put in a clear plastic sack or cardboard box.
Elsewhere, South Somerset District Council has reminded residents to sort their rubbish safely, and say that garden waste collections are suspended over Christmas to prioritise recycling, with the last garden waste collection on Friday 20 December and collections resuming on Monday 6 January.
The council has released figures saying that January sales and Christmas presents result in more items taken to recycling sites in January, including an extra 53 tonnes of fridges and freezers, 52 tonnes of cookers and washing machines and 17 tonnes of kettles, toasters and other small electricals.
A Somerset Waste Partnership spokesman said: “Thousands of tonnes of extra recycling and rubbish is tough to handle, but our hard-working collection crews and recycling site staff do a great job.
“Please help them by sorting everything carefully before you put it in your recycling box.”
Residents in Rother have been told that they will not receive a collections calendar in the post this year.
Instead, full details of Christmas waste and recycling collections are available on the council’s website, which includes downloadable and printable calendars.
Malcolm Johnston, executive director at Rother District Council said: “Our website contains all the information you need to make the most of the Christmas collections, including details of what you can do with your Christmas cards, wrapping paper and real trees.
“This year we will not be sending out printed calendars to households, a move that will save £16,000 in postage costs alone.”
Ahead of Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 13 December, environmental charity Hubbub has launched a campaign urging people to buy second-hand jumpers or swap old ones with friends.
The charity says its research found that 95% of 108 Christmas jumpers sold by 11 different retailers were made using plastic.
Sarah Divall, project co-ordinator at Hubbub, said: “We don’t want to stop people dressing up and having a great time at Christmas, but there are so many ways to do this without buying new.
“Fast fashion is a major threat to the natural world and Christmas jumpers are particularly problematic as so many contain plastic. We’d urge people to swap, buy second-hand or rewear and remember a jumper is for life, not just for Christmas.”
Meanwhile, Dover-based charity project Future Foundry is playing ho-ho-host to a Christmas tree made from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
Created by Margate-based artist Zo Defferary, the tree aims to highlight that over 250,000 tonnes of small electronic waste per year in the UK may not have been recycled correctly.
It has been loaned to the project by recycling company WEEE processing facility SWEEEP Kuusakoski, which says it recycles 25% of the UK’s electronics waste.