Reduce your waste this Christmas

East Suffolk residents are being encouraged to consider the environment this Christmas by choosing recyclable products wherever possible and reducing their household waste.

An estimated 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and 83km2 of wrapping paper is thrown away in the UK every Christmas. However, much of this waste could be recycled at home through the blue household recycling bin.

Most wrapping paper is recyclable, with the exception of paper with glitter or foil-effect papers. Cardboard packaging and cards without glitter are also recyclable through the blue wheeled bin, as well as hard plastic, aluminium foil, newspaper, magazines, cans and plastic bottles.

Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for the Environment said: “Christmas is a wonderful time for relaxing, enjoying ourselves and spending time with friends and family. 

“Christmas is also a time where a huge amount of additional waste is created and much of this can be recycled. We appreciate that what can and cannot be recycled in the blue bin at home can be confusing however paper, card, plastic bottles and cans can all easily be recycled. If residents are unsure whether an item is recyclable, we would urge them to check the Suffolk Recycling website or ask us through social media. 

“We would also like to encourage people to consider what they are buying this Christmas and choose recyclable materials if possible, as well as being mindful of overbuying food which may ultimately go to waste. There is a wealth of ways we can help reduce the amount of waste produced this Christmas and if each household can make just a few small changes, it would make a huge difference across East Suffolk.” 

According to the Suffolk Waste Partnership, a staggering two million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 17.2 million sprouts are thrown away every Christmas. To help save money and reduce the amount of food you throw away, try buying only what you need. If you do have leftovers, you can either freeze this or use to create another meal, such as casseroles, soups, salads and much more. For more information on reducing food waste and recipe ideas for any leftovers, visit www.foodsavvy.org.uk

If you’re buying a real Christmas tree this year, this can be disposed of in your garden waste bin after the festive season – remember to remove all decorations and make sure no pieces are larger than 1.5 inches (4cm) in diameters. The lid must be able to close completely. If you don’t have a garden waste bin, you can also compost your Christmas tree by cutting it into smaller pieces or recycle it in the green container at your nearest Recycling Centre.

Alternatively, some organisations are offering to collect real Christmas trees to help raise money for charity, however, these schemes are postcode specific. For more information and to check if you’re able to recycle your tree through the scheme, visit EACH (www.each.org.uk/get-involved/christmas-tree-recycling-scheme) or Just Giving (https://just-helping.org.uk/). 

If you’re stuck for gift ideas or would like to take a greener approach to gifting this year, why not consider making your own gifts or even upcycling gifts? You can find lots of great ideas at www.suffolkrecycling.org.uk/green-christmas

Please help ensure your recycling isn’t rejected this Christmas by putting the right items into the right bins. Far too often incorrect items, such as food waste, glass and nappies, are placed into the recycling bin, spoiling the whole load. If you’re in doubt about what you can recycle, at home or elsewhere, please go to www.suffolkrecycling.org.uk/a-z-of-recycling

There will be no changes to bin collections during the Christmas and New Year period this year, so please make sure you leave your bins out on your normal collection days. 

As a result, no bin hangers will be left on bins this year, however, you can now view or download a copy of your 2022 bin collection calendar at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/waste/waste-collection-and-disposal/bin-collection/your-2022-bin-collection-calendar/

The refuse teams provide an essential service and to ensure they can continue to do so efficiently, we’re asking households to make sure they follow the guidelines:

  • Put bins out by 6am latest on collection day
  • Recycle where possible through the blue bin
  • Present the bin at the boundary of your property where your access meets the public highway or other agreed collection points
  • Don’t force too much waste into a bin as it can stick inside, meaning it won’t come out when emptied
  • Make sure bins do not contain any incorrect items, as it may not be emptied
  • Make sure the lid on bins are closed for collections, otherwise we won’t be able to empty it
  • Take bins in as soon as possible after collection as they can cause serious obstructions and block access, particularly when left on public pavements and access ways

You can find a range of useful information about bin collections on our website, including what items goes into what bin, check your bin collection day and report at missed bin collection: www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/waste/waste-collection-and-disposal/bin-collection/

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