Christmas is coming

The run up to Christmas is a busy and often expensive time of year. Christmas is also a busy time for Oxfordshire’s bins – we generate nearly 2,500 extra tonnes of waste over the festive period – that’s the same weight as around 25,000 reindeers!

If you’re dreaming of a green Christmas, here are some simple ways you can reduce your impact on the environment throughout the festive period.

The run up to Christmas

When you’re choosing Christmas cards and wrapping paper, think about whether they can be recycled. Cards and paper with glitter, foil, plastic or other non-paper parts can’t be recycled.

Did you know the card packaging the UK uses at Christmas is enough to cover the London Eye almost 50,000 times? Charity gifts or vouchers for events or experiences make excellent presents, and don’t come with any packaging.

Each year we throw away 1 million tonnes of textiles and clothing. On average each piece of clothing is worn 7 times, but around this time of year it’s common to get a new outfit for a Christmas party that you may only wear once. Hunt down a designer charity shop bargain or unique vintage piece – everyone will want to know where it’s from! Here's a list of local charity shops

Many shop-bought decorations come with lots of non-recyclable packing and will have travelled thousands of miles. The Orinoco Scrapstore has a huge range of very low-cost materials you can use to get creative and make your own decorations - watch this YouTube video for inspiration. If you’re not an arty type, look out for locally made items that will last for several Christmases to come.

Running out of fridge space? Lots of festive treats can be frozen instead until they are needed – including stilton, brandy butter, sprouts, gravy, cranberry sauces, stuffing, red cabbage, roast potatoes and Christmas cake! To find more things you might not have known could be frozen, visit      

The Christmas holidays

Remove the guesswork by using a portion planner to find out how much to cook, depending on who’s coming for dinner. This will reduce waste and also save money!

For all the food you can’t eat, don’t forget to put it into your food caddy for recycling. Bones, dairy products, vegetable peelings and all other cooked and uncooked food can be recycled and used to generate electricity for 9000 homes and fertiliser for local farms.

Home-made cards and presents are much more personal, so keep the Christmas ribbons, paper and cards you receive this year and re-use them next year as gift tags or to make into cards again.

Oxfordshire’s Recycling Centres will close early at 3pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and then are only closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Boxing Day. All other days they will be open and ready to accept your old real and fake Christmas trees, cardboard packaging and much more.

If your recycling bin is struggling to cope with all the extra bottles, cardboard, plastic and paper, put any that can’t fit into the bin in a clear plastic sack or cardboard box and put it out next to your bin on collection day.

Don’t forget that your bin collection day might change due to the bank holidays – check with your district council to make sure you don’t miss it!

January (and beyond!)

Get the most out of your freezer and use it to store labelled, individual portions of Christmas leftovers – having these all ready to eat means there’s just one less thing to have to think about. Sprout bubble and squeak anyone? For more leftover recipe ideas visit

Your local charity shop would love to rehome your unwanted Christmas gifts. Find your nearest one

Six million Christmas trees are sold each year in the UK. That’s enough to stretch end to end from London to the North Pole and back! Look out for Christmas trees that can be replanted, but if yours can’t, you can take it to any recycling centre.

Artificial Christmas trees that you no longer want can be donated to a charity shop or, if it’s no longer in good condition, it can be taken to a recycling centre.