Green Christmas

The festive period is traditionally a time for all of us to eat, drink and be a little bit merrier than during the rest of the year! But it's not only the turkey that gets stuffed - household bins struggle with the excess waste generated by yuletide celebrations. And for most of us the financial hangover tends to linger on far beyond the New Year. But it doesn't have to be this way - with a bit of planning and some creative thinking Christmas could be cleaner, greener and cheaper!

Our top Christmas waste tips, recycled gift ideas, fun alternatives to wrapping paper, crafty videos and details of Christmas recycling arrangements are below:

With the equivalent of 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 17.2 million sprouts thrown away every Christmas, we’ve compiled some top tips to help reduce the amount of food waste in your homes this Christmas. 

#FoodSavvy Christmas

Lots of tips for storing leftovers, making preserves, festive recipies and much more on our Christmas food savy webpages.

Shop by portions

To try to avoid waste why not try working out portion sizes for your family before doing your Christmas shopping. Love Food Hate Waste have a handy portion planner calculator for this.

Re-use your food

We all get fed up of turkey sandwiches after Christmas! Try some more adventurous recipes to use up those leftovers. Our #FoodSavvy campaign has some great recipes for leftovers - vist our leftover recipe ideas page

Compost your leftovers

Sometimes you can’t avoid waste, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Home composting is a great way of sorting out your waste food without filling up your wheelie bin and can also create a rich fertilizer for the garden.

If you are a Suffolk resident, you can get a standard home compost bin for as little as £9.49 and there are offers on specialist food waste systems (which can deal with cooked food waste) too. Visit the GetComposting website to see home composting bin offers,

Home-made with love

Home-made presents can really be very tasteful and have that personal touch that’s missing from shop brought gifts. There are so many website tutorials showing how to make lots of unique Christmas presents, with Everything Etsy being a great starting point.

Upcycled Gifts

If you don’t have time to make your presents, why not buy upcycled presents instead? Upcycled presents are those made of old materials that have been given a new lease of life.

There are loads of websites that sell these gifts too, such as EtsyProtect the Planet and many more!

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

Charity shops can be an Aladdin’s Cave of wonderful treasures. No two are the same, so there’s no telling of the exciting things you’ll find! Find your local charity shops here

Buy experiences, not things

Memories are made through experiences, not material objects. Why not buy that special someone a sky diving lesson, a Boeing 737 simulation or a cookery class. Websites like Groupon offer great deals on amazing opportunities like these. Not only will they be an experience to remember but think of the wrapping paper you'll save!

Each Christmas, 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper are thrown away in the UK. That's 83 million square metres. Or 11,624 football pitches. And that's just in the bin. Not even recycled!

You can recycle paper wrapping paper in your recycling wheelie bin. You can't recycle plastic lined, foil effect or glitter paper. To check whether or not it's recyclable you can scrunch up some of the paper, if it stays scrunched it's most likely paper and you can recycle, but if it bounces back and unscrunches then it likely contains plastic and can't be recycled. This video shows how to do the scrunch test:

or at any Suffolk Recycling Centre

You could however go one step further and make your own wrapping paper from old magazines, glass jars and even crisp packets. To see how it’s done watch our tutorial videos on YouTube here.

When are my bins going to be collected over Christmas?

Most householders bin collections will change during the festive period - click on your local council below to find out changes in your area:

Find out what can go in your home recycling bin here, and if you've got too much waste to fit in your bins at home take them to your nearest Recycling Centre.

Babergh - Download leaflet for changes over the Christmas period here

Mid Suffolk - Download leaflet for changes over the Christmas period here

East Suffolk - Information on when your bin collection will take place over the Christmas period here

Ipswich - Information on when your bin collection will take place over the Christmas here

West Suffolk - Follow this link and search your postcode to find your next bin collection days. 

Or download leaflet for changes over the Christmas period here


Real Christmas Trees

If you’ve brought a real tree with a good root system intact why not plant it in your garden for use in future years?

If you need to dispose of it your local council will have arrangements for trees to be collected at the kerbside or take to a collection point (depending where you live). See below for local arrangements:

You can recycle real Christmas tress in the green container at any of Suffolk's 11 recycling Centres across the county.

Babergh & Mid Suffolk

If you have a garden waste bin all you need to do is leave your real Christmas tree (without decorations) beside your brown bin for collection throughout January.

If you don't - not a problem - you can recycle your tree at any of our collection points listed below.

Babergh  & Mid Suffolk Christmas tree collection points

East Suffolk

You can place your Christmas tree in your kerbside brown (formally Suffolk Costal) or kerbside green bin (formally Waveney).

The collection scheme will accept trees providing they are cut up so that the bin lid is completely closed before collection. Tree branches/stems must not be any larger in diameter than 1.5 inches (4cm). 


There will be no brown bin collections on or between Monday 23 December and Saturday 4 January. Collections will resume on Tuesday 7 January 2020, you can leave your real Christmas trees by your brown bin. 


West Suffolk 

If you subscribe to the Garden Waste Collection Service you can put your real tree in your brown bin to be removed on scheduled collection days. Please make sure that the bin lid can close or the bin may not be collected, cut the tree if necessary.

Please make sure the bin lid is closed before collection, cut tree if necessary.

A local charity, St Nicolas Hospice, is running a Christmas tree recycling service in the West Suffolk area. Visit their website to find out how the service works. Bookings close on Thursday 2nd January.


Artificial Christmas Trees

If your artificial tree is in good condition, why not see if you can give it to family or friends, donate it to charity, advertise on Freegle / Freecycle and they will be accepted at Recycling Centres in the re-use container before the 24th Dec.

If your artificial tree won’t make it through another winter take them to any Suffolk Recycling Centre and put them in the relevant material container. Don’t put them in your recycling wheelie bin.