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BDR winter festive and eco tips

Published: Monday, 22nd December 2014

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Tighter budgets this Christmas mean everyone is looking harder at how to make funds go further during this traditional time for many of winter celebrations.

But it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have some festive fun! These tips from the BDR Waste Partnership aim to give you some fresh inspiration to do things slightly differently. 

Check out the seasonal recycling help on offer from your local council, by following the links from the home page of the BDR website.

Christmas cards offers a postcode checker to advise you on where you can recycle your greetings cards. The average person in the UK receives around 17 Christmas cards each year, luckily there are lots of places you can take your cards to be recycled, such as local schools, shopping centres and waste recycling centres. It's one of the simplest ways to cut down your festive waste.  It can help generate money for charities at the same time!  

Where can I recycle my cards?

Special Christmas card recycling bins will be in place at selected retailers throughout January. There are many schemes you can take part in. So keep a look out for the special containers when you go shopping. Did you know that one tree is needed to make approximately 3,000 cards however the Woodland Trust will be working with M&S again this year and for every 1,000 cards recycled one tree will be planted.

Can I recycle them in my doorstep collection?

Arrangements vary in each council area:-

Barnsley – plain cards, (no glitter, ribbons, foil or extra features) can go in the blue bin. Otherwise should be out in the regular grey bin  

Rotherham – plain cards in the blue bags or for anything more ornate the black bin

Doncaster – plain cards should go in the green box or more ornate cards in the regular black bin

What else can I do with them? 

  • Cut them up and turn them into gift tags for next year
  • Have a craft session with the kids
  • Use old cards to make folded festive baubles for next year

Wrapping it Up

DEFRA estimates that the UK uses enough wrapping paper each year to wrap the island of Guernsey, much of this wrapping paper cannot be recycled due to the glitter, embellishments and type of paper used.  Even if you try to reuse it wrapping paper can often only be reused once or twice so why not try something different instead.  Gift bags can be reused multiple times, why not dig out last year’s bags and add a beautiful hand-made tag by re-using your old Christmas cards.  Some gifts don’t need a lot of wrapping, items such as jewellery in boxes , scarves or clothes could simply be tied up with ribbon.  Or why not drop a hint to the family? You’ve done the cooking so wrap their presents with a tea towel to help them with the washing up.

Leftover food tips 

Much of the food that we throw away can be tastily and easily turned into new dishes which are delicious and offer value for money.  Why not try your hand at a batch healthy coronation turkey, a scrumptious turkey and ham pie, delicious cranberry and chocolate brownies or a tasty fridge cake?

For a whole host of recipe ideas and facts about food recycling and cutting food waste, go to – It has just launched its new food waste advent calendar with lots of practical information and advice.  There is also a handy food planner for the festive season to help get portions right.

The season of excess

Over the festive period of parties, gatherings with friends and families we consume more than any other time of the year with record numbers of aluminium drinks cans and glass bottles being used.  Make sure you check when your kerbside recycling is collected to ensure you can make best use of the service and recycle these additional items.  Did you know recycling just one glass bottle or jar saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours and for the energy it takes to make 1 brand new drinks can we could recycle 20.

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Eco trees and decorations

If you celebrate Christmas, why not branch out with eco trees and decorations; let off festive steam by going carolling; keep kids busy with fun for free and cool down with a wintry walk.

When buying decorations think of their lifespan.  Making festive bunting may be a better alternative to single use plastic decorations.  Pack baubles away carefully to ensure minimal damage and breakage so they last longer.

Most of the eight million Christmas trees bought in the UK at this time of year will end up as festive landfill waste and some farmed fir trees may have been sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals.

  •  Consider buying from a small-scale sustainable grower or make sure the tree has Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation. Go to for a list of producers.
  • Choose a tree with roots so it can be replanted.  If replanting isn’t an option, most local councils run Christmas tree recycling schemes. More information from
  • Some councils offer a tree recycling service – check with yours and watch local media for details. Links direct from the BDR website’s home page. 
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