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Could you be greener this Christmas season?

Andrew Gilbert

Andrew Gilbert

Posted on 19 December 2021

With the environment now such a crucial topic, as Christmas approaches and preparations get underway, residents in Allerdale are being urged to plan ahead to cut their festive waste.

The council has come up with some green ideas to help households have a greener Christmas – from packaging and wrapping, to gift ideas and food waste. They also have some top tips to ensure most the stuff which ends up in the wheelie bins can be recycled, rather than end up being used for energy production, or even worse, in landfill.

Reduce and re-use!

  • Get creative with your present wrapping – get the children to draw or paint on plain brown paper for unique personalised parcels.
  • Bought shoes, boots or homewares that are wrapped in tissue paper and come in boxes? Reuse that tissue to make your presents look pretty and use the boxes to disguise your gifts.
  • Wrap your gifts in newspaper – it looks quirky and will save you loads of money.
  • Don’t buy foil-style wrapping paper – it’s often not recyclable.
  • Ignore old fashioned selection boxes which contain more plastic than chocolate and put pretty sweets in a recycled box or bag instead.
  • Keep your gift bags and simply snip the tags off – no-one will ever know…

Get the recycling right!

  • Does the wrapping paper pass the scrunch test? If you squash it into a ball and it holds the shape then it is more than likely recyclable and can go in the blue-lidded bin or green sack. If you scrunch and it unfolds then it could be lined with a plastic coating and needs to go in with the general waste. Stick to buying wrapping paper without the lining
  • Remove sticky tape, glitter and things like bows and ribbons from cards and paper before putting into your paper/card recycling.
  • Do the ‘rip test’ on packaging – if you can’t rip it, it’s probably laminated and contains plastic so can’t go in the paper/card bin
  • Remove the plastic ‘windows’ that showed your address from the packaging and dispose of them in your black bin.
  • Chop up your Christmas cards and you’ve got gift tags galore for next year!
  • Use the space in your recycling bins more effectively by flattening cardboard boxes, and carefully washing and squashing plastic bottles – and cans if you are able too.

Need a trip to the tip?

  • Excess glass, plastics, paper and card can be taken to our ‘bring sites’, the small recycling centres in our towns. Please don’t leave anything by the side of the bins and flatten cardboard to allow as much as possible.
  • Cumbria County Council operates the household waste recycling centres in Wigton, Workington and Maryport - you’ll need to check their opening times and plan ahead.
  • If you leave waste that can’t be recycled outside the skips of the bring sites, or outside the gates of the household waste sites, it’s classed as fly-tipping and could land you with a hefty fine.

Plan your plates!

  • We all love a proper Christmas feast, but what do you do with the leftovers? Portion up meals in recycled takeaway containers and put them in the freezer for easy dinners in the new year.
  • Dig out your old recipe books or search online for new ideas for soups, stews, curries and pasta sauces then get cooking on the cold winter days.
  • Pass some food to family, friends and neighbours – if you’ve over ordered on the turkey, maybe you know someone who can make the most of it?
  • Share the menus, and the cost – maybe you could cook the turkey, someone else could do the veg, and you could split the desserts and cheese between you?
  • Totally overstocked on food that has a long use-by date? Don’t forget your local foodbank or charities asking for raffle prizes.

Create memories rather than waste!

  • Stuck for a present for the person who has everything? How about a homemade ‘voucher’ offering to cut their grass, clean their car, or do something else that they hate?
  • Think about experiences rather than traditional gifts – is there a café, restaurant or tourist attraction you’ve been meaning to try for ages? Or a walk with a picnic you both really want to do? Or perhaps you fancy getting on a bus or a train to somewhere you’ve never been before for a bit of an adventure.

Shop local!

  • It’s so easy to shop on the internet, but shopping locally is a pleasure in itself – proper customer service with a smile, and no massive piles of excess wrapping from certain online retailers…
  • If you want to shop online, how about sending an email to your local stores and asking them to save items for you so you can pop in and pick them up whenever it’s convenient? Some independent shops may even offer postage or deliver for you.
  • Discover a new shopping experience – when was the last time you sought out new and different shops in Workington, Wigton, Silloth, Maryport, Keswick, Cockermouth, or Aspatria? You’ll see your list to Santa through a fresh pair of eyes.
  • Find a Christmas market – the festive market in Workington could be the source of a great unique gift from an independent business.

Councillor Jim Lister, Allerdale Borough Council’s executive member for environmental services, said: “Christmas is a great time to start some new habits to cut the waste you create at home.

“We’ve got a pretty comprehensive recycling service in Allerdale and with a bit of extra thought and planning you could cut what goes into your black bin dramatically. Have a fabulous festive season – and let’s try for a greener new year!”

Residents can check their waste collection calendar over the Christmas period on our website. They can also find out what happens to their recycling and how it gets sorted .