3 November 2020

Christmas presents wrapped in brown paper and tied with red and white stripy string

The mince pies are in the shops and the supermarkets are beginning to stack the shelves with festive treats - so as you plan your shopping for Christmas - plan ahead and let's make this Christmas a less wasteful one.

Last year, South Hams District Council joined may other authorities around the country in declaring a Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency.

With plans afoot to change the recycling service early next year, South Hams is totally committed to doing what it can to help residents be more environmentally friendly.

Cllr Keith Baldry South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Waste and recycling said: "Our new improved recycling and waste service comes into effect early next year, but that does not stop us committing to a more environmentally friendly Christmas now.

"With the COVID-19 restrictions we are likely to see a lot of people doing their Christmas shopping online, which will result in lots of card and boxes, all of which can be recycled.  

"We saw earlier in the year that the amount of waste and recycling dramatically increased when people were spending more time at home, and this is likely to be the case of the festive period - with fewer families gathering and taking Christmas holidays.

"So we are asking all residents in advance of the festive period, as you plan your Christmas, please think ahead.  There are lots of ways you can reduce what you buy and reuse what you have, which means that there will be less waste and more materials that you can recycle after Christmas.

"Take wrapping paper for instance; wrapping paper is a difficult material to recycle as it contains thin fibres, is often dyed, laminated and glittery or has tape attached. Therefore, it has to go in your grey bin and not your blue recycling sacks.

"So as you shop for Christmas, why not buy some alternatives this year? You could try brown paper or even fabric; there are some great craft ideas online. Our partners at Recycle Devon and WRAP have even more tips and advice, such as alternative gift ideas and ways to reuse everyday household items."

WRAP says that card plays an important role in preventing damage to our products but did you know that a staggering 300,000 tonnes is used in UK households during the festive season? Enough to wrap around Big Ben almost 260,000 times! Or, if we laid all the card packaging side by side, it would cover the return distance between London and Lapland over 100 times.

To help residents with their planning for Christmas, the Council has produced a handy guide to all things Christmassy - save these links to your phone, so the information is at your fingertips when you need it.