What Should I Do with My Christmas Waste?


It’s growing ever more acceptable to say that it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas now. The high street shops are blasting Christmas classics through the speakers, Black Friday deals are popping up everywhere, and some early birds have already put their Christmas decs up.

Naturally, when swept up in the excitement of it all, the last thing anyone is going to be thinking is what to do with their waste after Christmas is over. Nonetheless, you may think twice when you find out that the UK alone disposes of 30% more waste than normal during the festive period.

However, by being smarter with our waste management and creative with what we can reuse, this could be considerably reduced.

Food Waste

For many, Christmas dinner is the highlight of Christmas day. An extravagant roast dinner with all the trimmings is quite the thing to beat. What’s more, if there is one tradition most Brits can agree on, it’s a scheduled food nap between 2 and 3pm after engorging on as much food as possible. Even after trying to fit as we can, there’s still an awful amount of food left afterwards, often looking as though a dent has hardly been made.

For example, 17.2 million brussels sprouts are thrown in the bin after Christmas day. Considering most would say they’re not a fan of the iconic festive veg, it seems rather silly that we continue to buy them every year knowing full well that they won’t be consumed.

There are many recipes out there for leftover brussels sprouts, whether you’re a fan of them or looking for a recipe that uses but disguises them. You can:

  • Add them to your Boxing Day bubble and squeak breakfast.
  • Mix them in with courgettes to make courgetti spaghetti when you kickstart your healthy eating in the New Year.
  • Slice them up and make a coleslaw as a side to go with your picky dinners when getting through the rest of your leftovers.

Furthermore, instead of wasting 2 million turkeys every year, keep them for sandwich fillings or to make turkey curry – a quick dinner when you can’t be bothered to cook after the big day. As for the 74 million mince pies wasted every year, freeze them. Mince pies can be stored in the freezer for at least three months. Heat them up and add some warm custard when you fancy a sweet treat.

Wrapping Paper

Bear in mind when selecting your gift wrapping that many aren’t in fact suitable for recycling. Often coated in a plastic seal to protect the design, anything with glitter or made from foil is a big no-no. Over 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is sent to the landfill every year due to waste management companies not being able to recycle them.

Ways to reuse wrapping paper include:

  • The high quality, thick gift wraps ordinarily don’t rip or crease as easily as the cheaper alternatives. Store them somewhere safe and reuse next year.
  • Line the inside of your drawers for a spot of colour and to protect from dampness.
  • Fashion them into envelopes for next year’s round of Christmas cards.


Everyone knows that Christmas is never more exciting than when you’re a kid. Two blissfully long weeks off school, anticipating a glimpse of the main man himself on Christmas Eve, and an unwrapping marathon to unveil the new toys you’ve been waiting for all year.

That last one is one of the biggest contributors to the amount of waste produced by the UK during Christmas every year. A combination of old toys being thrown out as they’re replaced by the new and the ridiculous amount of packaging involved in securing these toys safely both account for a large amount of plastic waste.

Now, we all know plastic is a difficult material to recycle correctly and the last few years have been spent focussing heavily on finding ways to reduce the amount we produce and throw away.

We’re not telling you to stop buying toys for your children, that would just be cruel, but thinking of new ways to remove them from your household is crucial. For instance, round up the old toys and donate them either to charity or a local children’s home. In regard to throwing away new toy packaging, opt for sending yours to a recycle plant or pop it in the skip if you have one where it’ll be sent to a waste management company, both will dispose of this correctly.


Following on from the above point, the mass purchasing of toys during the festive season consequently means a mass purchase of batteries and throwing away of used batteries. Due to their hazardous effects and dangerous impact on the environment, avoid throwing batteries in with your general waste where they’ll end up in a landfill.

Instead, visit your local recycling plant and drop them off here where they can be recycled safely, out of reach from damaging human and environmental health.

Christmas Trees

One of the biggest wastes we incur during the festive period is Christmas trees. Indeed, we throw away over six million of these beautiful perennial plants every year. Once they’ve fulfilled their purpose as the focal point in every British living room, it’s off to the landfill where they’ll spend their remaining days rotting down to nothing.

To dispose of your Christmas tree correctly, you have one of two choices depending on the condition of your tree:

  1. Christmas trees with their roots still attached can be planted or potted outside in your garden for a new chance at life. Continue to do this year after year and you’ll save yourself some pennies as well as start a new family tradition.
  2. Real Christmas trees that cannot be planted into the ground are better off being sent to a waste management company or recycling plant. Here, they’ll be shredded down to chippings. These chippings are then used in parks and woodland areas as compost or a weed suppressant.

Inevitably, thinking sensibly during Christmas can be a struggle, especially about waste disposal of all things. Even so, with a 30% increase in the waste collected during this time of year, it’s a subtle change to make and one we should be willing to do.

At PSH Environmental, we have 2 yard mini skip hire available for domestic waste. Call us on 01603 721533 to find out what Christmas waste we’re happy to collect in our skips and book one before they all go!

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