We’re dreaming of a green Christmas!
Gloucestershire’s Joint Waste Team at the Forest of Dean District Council is encouraging residents to have a greener Christmas by reducing, reusing and recycling their waste in the run up to the big day.
While Christmas is a time of celebration for many, the season also brings a dramatic increase in the amount of rubbish making its way into refuse bins up and down the country.
Along with the equivalent of four million Christmas dinners being ditched it is estimated that 500 tonnes of tree lights will be binned – despite the fact that both are fully recyclable. And that’s not all. The UK will use enough wrapping paper to stretch to the moon and enough foil to cover an area greater in size than the whole of Gloucestershire, all adding to the burden of festive waste.
To help residents reduce the amount they throw away, the Recycle for Gloucestershire website (www.recycleforgloucestershire.com) will feature an online Advent calendar throughout December. Behind each window is a useful tip, hint or web link giving advice about how to recycle items like leftover food and broken electricals as well as ideas on how to turn items which might otherwise make their way into the rubbish bin into something useful.
Councillor Sue Coakley, Chair of Gloucestershire’s Joint Waste Committee said: ‘When it comes to reducing waste every little bit really does help, and we hope the online Advent calendar is a fun way to get residents to think about what they can do too. Something as simple as writing a list can help focus the mind when doing the big Christmas food shop. Make sure you only purchase what is needed and avoid impulse buys and offers on unnecessary items which might ultimately end up in the bin.’
‘However, it is not only food waste which is a big environmental problem at this time of year. Whether it’s receiving a new item of clothing as a gift, treating oneself to a new party outfit, buying a ‘wear it once’ Christmas-themed jumper or having a sort out of the wardrobe in anticipation of the January sales, textile waste will also peak around this time.’
‘Old, unwanted clothes can be put to good use by recycling them at any one of the recycling bank sites in the Forest of Dean or at the Household Recycling Centre at Oak Quarry, near Coleford. Better still, if the clothing is of good quality, donate it to a charity shop and support a worthwhile cause instead. Putting textiles in the bin really should be the last resort,’ she added.
Councillor Chris McFarling, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Forest of Dean District Council said: ‘Sadly, much of the rubbish created at Christmas can be with us for many years to come, yet a great deal of this could be avoided by being prepared and taking a moment to think if what is being bought is actually necessary or wanted. Where there is waste, check whether it can be reused or recycled before putting it in the bin. Forest of Dean residents have helped the district recycle and compost over 54% of waste from households during the past year and we would urge everyone to keep up the good work at Christmas time when waste is at its most plentiful.’
The Recycle for Gloucestershire online Advent calendar is available throughout December: www.recycleforgloucestershire.com/advent-calendar
The Joint Waste Partnership provides waste and recycling services on behalf of Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimate that 500 tonnes of tree lights are binned at Christmas time, even though they are fully recyclable.
Residents in the Forest of Dean can recycle food waste, small electricals/electronics and textiles at the kerbside (in addition to other materials):
Textiles are collected weekly. Small bags of textiles (standard supermarket sized carrier bag – or smaller) can be placed inside the green recycling box which is used for glass collections.
Food waste is collected weekly. Food waste should be presented in the council-issue black kerbside caddy.
Small electrical/electronic appliances are collected each fortnight on refuse collection day. Small electricals must be placed inside a standard supermarket sized carrier bag – or smaller – and placed on top of the black refuse bin ready for collection.