Reduce, reuse and recycle for a low carbon Christmas

Residents are being asked to minimise waste, recycle or repurpose unwanted items and consider buying locally to reduce their carbon emissions over the festive season.

By making small changes we can reduce what we throw away and recycle, find new uses for items we no longer need, and support local retailers.

Waste is Cornwall’s fifth biggest carbon emitter and separating out your rubbish for recycling is an easy and effective way to cut down on waste as we work towards net-zero emissions by 2030.

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for neighbourhoods Carol Mould said: “As we prepare for Christmas, we can all take a minute to think about how we shop and the ways in which we can reuse, repurpose and recycle to help our pockets as well as cut our carbon emissions to help our planet.”

“Small changes really do make a big difference and getting everyone in your family helping with recycling, reducing packaging, keeping waste to a minimum and repurposing unwanted presents in an environmentally-friendly way, are all great ideas to lower our carbon footprints and help fight climate change over the festive period.”

Tips include:

  • buy local so you’re not only supporting your local economy and reducing carbon miles but also cutting down on cardboard and brown paper (that you can put in your orange recycling bag for recycling) and bubble wrap packaging (that we can’t recycle) when your online shopping is delivered
  • plan your food shop carefully and maybe try a new recipe using leftovers. Just because sprouts are seen by some as traditional at Christmas, if you don’t like them you will end up throwing them away so don’t buy them! There’s lots of great ideas on the Love Food Hate Waste website
  • regift unwanted items that are in good condition to others, donate them to charity shops, give them away on free sale sites like Freecycle or Freegle or on local Facebook groups, or take items that could be fixed to repair cafés and give them a new lease of life
  • use recycled or recyclable Christmas wrapping paper or reusable gift bags– not plastic backed and glittery which we can’t recycle
  • choose recycled (and recyclable) Christmas cards – after Christmas take care to remove bows or ribbons first before putting them in your orange recycling bag
  • recycle your Christmas food packaging in your red recycling bag including
    • cream pots
    • brandy sauce pots
    • Christmas pudding basins
    • sweet tubs
    • mince pie trays
    • and plastic advent calendar trays

Please put your recycling into the correct container. Use our handy online A-Z of recycling to find out what goes where.

If you’re taking other items to your closest Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC), please sort them first and put them in the correct containers. This means we can recycle more.

Old batteries can cause fires if they are put in your general waste, please recycle them at the sites. See more about what items can be recycled at each HWRC on the Cornwall Council website.

Carol Mould, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Neighbourhoods at Cornwall Council, said: “Everyone needs to play their part by reducing, reusing and recycling and disposing of the things they no longer want responsibly.”

Story posted 13 December 2021

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