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How to enjoy the festive season without causing damage to the environment; green tips for reducing waste at Christmas

Everyone enjoys a bit of over-indulgence at Christmas, but have you ever worried about the amount of waste your family creates during the festive period? Here are some tips for making your Christmas celebrations more sustainable by minimizing the amount of waste you throw away.

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Recycle your Christmas tree

Research suggests that a real Christmas tree is usually the most sustainable option, but in order to ensure minimal environmental impact, the tree must be disposed of responsibly at the end of the Christmas period. Most councils offer dedicated disposal points for Christmas trees in order to shred them and use them for composting and other environmentally friendly purposes.

If you have an artificial tree, try to reuse it for as many years as possible. If artificial trees are reused for more than ten years, they become more sustainable than real trees. Equally, try to reuse your tree decorations from year to year, and limit the number of new decorations you buy. Better still, use home-made decorations: if you have children, you can build up quite a collection of paper chains and hanging decorations from school craft activities.

Reuse your parcel packaging

With the ever-increasing contribution of internet sales to our Christmas shopping, many households end up with seemingly endless supplies of cardboard boxes, padded envelopes, and plastic mailbags. Unfortunately, plastic wrapping is not widely recycled by councils, but cardboard can be folded and put out with paper collections, or large boxes can be crafted into creative toys for children such as playhouses or cars.

Keep padded envelopes to reuse yourself. If you still prefer to do most of your Christmas shopping in person, take your own shopping bags with you, or use one bag in several stores for smaller items.

Keep Christmas cards for crafts

This year’s Christmas cards can be kept to make next year’s present labels. If you have children, they will love using the pictures for general craft activities throughout the year. Envelopes should be recycled, and for extra goodwill why not remove the stamps and donate them to a local charity. Used wrapping paper can also be recycled with normal paper, and wrap from larger presents is often good enough to keep for reuse next year.

Avoiding food waste

Many people buy far too much food for the festive period, so the best way to avoid food waste is to take a little time to calculate exactly how much you will need. Do not be tempted by multibuy offers at the supermarket, especially for perishable food. They may seem like a good deal at the time, but you are almost certain to end up discarding free or reduced food.

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Be creative with your leftovers. Create stir-frys and curries, or pop leftovers in a crusty roll for lunch. Bubble and squeak with leftover vegetables is always a favorite. Try not to buy too large a bird for Christmas day itself, or the whole family will be fed up with leftovers before they are all used up.

Laura x

If you have enjoyed this post and would like some more easy to follow recipes then look at our Food Section here. While you’re here why not pop over to Pinterest and follow my Slow Cooker Recipes Board or my Homemade Dinner Board that gives you loads of yummy and easy meals to make.

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These are the best tips for avoiding waste at Christmas. We've included gifts you can buy and what to do to reduce your waste by Laura at My Beautiful Mess

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