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Wendy
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Waste Less, Save More Christmas

Christmas decorations in kitchen

In this page, we’ve put together a whole range of handy Christmas tips and information all in one place, hopefully giving north London residents one less thing to worry about this year. We’ll also be sharing lots more on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so keep an eye out.

Christmas gifts

Another great way to reduce waste at Christmas is make a home-made gift, buy something second-hand, or an ‘experience’ gift. We have a dedicated section on our website full of gift. Click here to view it.

What can be recycled?

Most Christmas waste can be recycled in north London (check this link for full details) but there are a few to watch out for:

  • Any cards or paper with glitter on them. This is because when the recycling gets passed on to a paper mill, then don't want bits of glitter appearing in their end product.
  • Metallic wrapping paper that is shiny or springs back when you scrunch it. This is made from a combination of paper and thin metal and it would require a lot of energy to separate the two materials. From an environmental and financial perspective, it would not be worth recycling it.
  • Polystyrene. This is very cheap to produce but recycling it would require a lot of energy. As with metallic wrapping paper, it is simply not worth recycling it.

Reducing food waste at Christmas

The average family could save £700 per year by reducing food waste so we could all save ourselves a lot. Our top food waste reduction tips for the festive period are:

  1. Make space in the freezer in advance. The freezer is a fantastic food waste reduction tool, acting as a pause button - as long as food is within its 'use by' date, it will stay fresh for up to six months. Almost any food can be frozen (just not cream and salad).
  2. Try to plan meals in advance and stick to your shopping list. This should help avoid food from getting forgotten and going past its 'use by' date.
  3. Use up leftovers. Our North London Food Lovers' Cookbook is full of recipes which can transform leftovers into a delicious new meal. You can also just search online, listing your ingredients, and the search engine will show a whole list of recipes.

Check out our food waste reduction pages for more tips to help you make the most of the food you love.

Gift wrapping and decorations

  • If you are buying presents, try to choose items without excessive packaging.
  • When gift-wrapping, consider reusing old wrapping paper, or use material as an alternative, following the Japanese furoshiki technique.
  • If you have the space, buy a living Christmas tree, which can be left in its pot outside for the rest of the year. You can also hire a Christmas tree - just search online and you will find companies that deliver and collect a live tree.
  • Buy good quality decorations which can be used year after year. You could also try making your own decorations, such as bunting or paper chains from old magazines or newspapers.
  • Try making your own cards or gift tags by cutting up last year’s Christmas cards and using other materials such as pieces of shiny card from packaging and images from magazines.

Recycling your Christmas tree

There are lots of ways to recycle your Christmas tree. If you have a garden waste service, you can chop the branches and trunk and present it in the normal way (see this link for more details). You can take it to one of north London's reuse and recycling centres which are open as usual apart from 25 and 26 December and 1 January, when they are closed.

The north London boroughs sometimes provide specific arrangements for Christmas tree recycling - see the links below (this section will be updated later in December):

The clean-up

When all the celebrations are over, you can still do your bit by making use of the many recycling facilities in north London. Our reuse and recycling centres are closed on 25 and 26 December and 1 January, except for Hornsey Street which is open on 26 December.

Waste electrical items, books or clothing and textiles can be recycled. If you've presents that you don’t need, why not attend one of our Give and Take Days or donate them to a charity?

Finally, information about changes to waste and recycling services in your borough can be found below: