Week 8: The Final Tidy Up
Starting 3rd January
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 8 weeks since we started Love Christmas Hate Waste back in mid – November. Our final Love Christmas Hate waste newsletter this week is about the final clear up after Christmas but can also also be read in conjunction with our week 7 New Year, Fresh Start newsletter. Many of you may have only just got home from time away or perhaps, your house is back to only having just your family in it. In any case, you’ve probably still got a few things left to do before the festive season is finally over for 2013 – recycling the Christmas tree, working out when your next recycling collection will be and finding somewhere to put all the presents may well be on that list.
In the spirit of the great Christmas clear up we welcome a guest writer this week, Alex from Junkwize. Read on for Alex’s thoughts about the the amount of waste that gets generated over the festive season and how we can re-use, recycle and properly dispose of what we’ve used over the Christmas period. Within Alex’s piece, you’ll also find links to details about your rubbish/recycling collections and Christmas tree recycling in your area.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll find our usual suggestions for things you could do this week for that final tidy up and clear out!
The New Year Tidy Up: What to do with Christmas Holiday Waste?
This article is written by Alex Maccioni. Alex was a founding member of JunkWize; a rubbish collection company that serves the whole of Greater London in an environmentally friendly manner.
After the celebrations of Christmas Day and the parties on New Year’s Eve most of us will be faced with the daunting task of cleaning everything up. Despite the 2003 Packaging Regulations Act the sheer amount of waste generated from packaging alone is almost unbelievably enormous.
For example, every year the British people throw away the equivalent of 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies! The good news is that as long as this rubbish is dealt with properly then nearly all of it can be recycled. Here we have put together our guide as to what to do with each item that you will have to deal with.
WRAPPING PAPER, CARDS AND BOXES
Every year we use approximately 364,700 km of wrapping paper and at the end of the holiday season it is not uncommon to have bin bags full of the stuff. If you decide that you don’t want to reuse any of the wrapping paper then the best thing to do is recycle it. However, you will need to check with your local council to find out how they want you to dispose of it because guidelines do vary. You should note, though, that paper that is not entirely made up of paper will often be disallowed – try the rip test, if you can tear it then it’s just paper but if it doesn’t then it’s probably not recyclable.
As well as this we send over 1.5 billion Christmas cards per annum – although we cherish these at the time they’re received it is obviously not practical to hoard them all.
Your cards can also go in your allocated kerbside bin, but it is worth seeing if your local supermarket has any card recycling schemes happening. Sometimes they will plant a certain amount of trees depending on how many cards are handed to them. Marks and Spencer, Sainburys and Tesco all ran in-store collections in 2012.
Cardboard boxes can always be recycled. Use your kerbside recycling scheme, flatten boxes and tie together with string to save space.
Picture taken by Magnus D: http://www.flickr.com/photos/magnus_d/6565123577/
CHRISTMAS TREES & LIGHTS
A real tree is one of the most awkward items to get rid of. Councils will generally collect these in January and pulp them. For information on how each council collects unwanted Christmas trees, please click on the individual links (Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Richmond). We recommend that you recycle the branches but keep the trunk. Chop the trunk into foot long pieces and place them in a quiet corner of the garden; you have just made yourself a loggery – a wildlife haven.
Tree lights are horribly fiddly, so it comes as no surprise to hear that over 500 tonnes of lights are disposed of every year. Waste electrical and electrical equipment, known as WEEE, can be recycled. You can do this at your local recycling centre however, some councils (Hounslow) collect them with your other recycling.
Picture taken by Mark Hillary: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markhillary/2178552654/
By early January most households will have a large pile of empty bottles and jars. Festive revelry results in more than 13,000 tonnes being chucked out each Christmas. Once cleaned, these can go in your recycling bin/box or bottle bank.
Over the Christmas season food waste is massive; the turkey was too big, the nibbles too plentiful and the Brussels sprouts unpalatable. It is estimated that 20% of all Christmas food is thrown out, which means that £600m worth of food is dumped. If you have a food waste recycling collection then use that. For non-cooked products you may wish to consider composting them at home. West London Waste has lots more information about using up your food so check the information on festive food and using up leftovers.
Hopefully you now feel able to tackle the rubbish mountain in your household. As always, remember that councils are your friends! Christmas collection schedules ( Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Richmond) are available on their websites and we highly recommend that you familiarise yourself with these right now so as to avoid missing key collection dates. However, if you need quick results then of course you should use an independent contractor and they will take care of everything for you at very short notice.
Something to do this week
Organise and de-clutter! Many of us will figure this into our new year resolutions or look to make this a more frequent thing throughout the year. Whichever way you decide to do it, there are a few things you can do to de-clutter your life.
1. Become a giver
We all have things lurking under the Christmas tree or in the back of cupboards that we don’t need or want any more so join your local Freecycle or Freegle group. Once you’ve sorted out items you no longer want, post them on-line and others who want them will get in touch via your Freecycle or Freegle account and take them off your hands for free.
2. Find out where your local charity and re-use shops are
Not only are charity shops a place to find great bargains they are really helpful if you want to get rid of unwanted items that are still in good condition and other people could use. You may already know the ones nearest to you but have a look a bit farther afield to see what else there is, furniture re-use charity shops are often tucked away and can be a hidden gem. Some of the local ones can be found on our website. The link http://westlondonwaste.gov.uk/reduce-waste/furniture/ will help you find your nearest one.
3. Organise a Swish!
Swishing is a great way to swap the clothes you don’t want, for some that you do want! To find out more, check out our West London Waste swishing page
4. Make a resolution to help reduce your waste-line in 2014
If you haven’t gotten round to making a resolution yet, take another look at the week 7 newsletter, which gives some great ideas about trying something different for the new year
5. Keep an eye on our website, Facebook page and Tweets
We put out lots of information each year with regular updates to our website, facts sent by Tweet and Facebook. You never know what you could find out – so keep in touch! @WestLondonWaste
6. Tell us about interesting things
We’d love to be able to see all and tell all about reduce, re-use, repair and upcycling but there really is too much to keep track of. If you see something that captures your imagination, that is interesting or a bit weird but involves stopping things ending up in the bin, then please do tell us