Christmas presents wrapped with brown paper and string
Published date: 20 December 2022

Save money and reduce waste this Christmas

There’s lots to think about over the festive period- especially with many of us feeling the pinch this year. We recognise that reducing waste can be seen as just one extra stress, but it might also save you some money in the process.

We’ve pulled together some easy tips to help you cut back. They are easy to follow and even if you just make a few small changes, they could make a big difference to the environment and your bank balance.

Did you know...?

  • In London alone, the average household throws out an extra five bags of rubbish at Christmas, equating to 29,000 tonnes of waste, including enough wrapping paper to stretch to the moon!
  • Each UK household splashes out £25 on average, for Christmas decorations each year – that’s more than £660 million in total.
  • Eight million Christmas trees are bought in the UK every year, producing 12,000 tonnes of green waste.
  • It is also estimated that 230,000 tonnes of food will be thrown away this festive period, including 9,300 tonnes of Brussels sprouts!

Gift ideas

  • Make your own gifts. Not only can they work out more cost effective, but they also add that personal touch.
  • Buy ‘experience’ gifts, such as beauty treatments, a ticket to a show or a day out. There are lots of discount codes available online to help reduce costs.
  • Try to choose gifts with reduced packaging.
  • Try to avoid buying or requesting gifts that rely on disposable parts, including batteries (or use rechargeable batteries).
  • If you are not sure what to buy, why not give money or gift vouchers? Oxfam also have some great charity donation ideas.

Gift wrapping

  • Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper; they are durable, easy to use and can be used again, saving money in the long run.
  • Cheap but effective, try the old-fashioned trick of wrapping presents in newspaper and give it a modern look by finishing it off with a brightly coloured ribbon.
  • If you must use wrapping paper, make sure you use non-shiny paper that can be recycled. In north London, you can recycle not only your wrapping paper and cards, but Christmas trees, electrical items, furniture, clothing and shoes.  Find your nearest reuse and recycling centre.

Trees, cards and decorations

  • If you want a real tree, buy a UK grown one that you can plant in your garden or keep in a pot for next year. Artificial trees are even better as they can be used many, many times, and with care will last for a very long time. So no need to splash out again next year!
  • Choose decorations that can be reused or even better make your own, such as bunting or paper chains from old magazines or newspapers.
  • Try making your own cards or gift tags by cutting up last year’s Christmas cards and using other materials such as pieces of shiny card from packaging and images from magazines.
  • Send an ecard! If you’re not quite ready to switch to e-cards, why not make your own Christmas cards for this year or next with materials that would otherwise be thrown away.

Plan Christmas dinner leftover recipes

  • Plan before festive celebrations, so that there are minimal leftovers, or think of a way to use them up, such as asking guests to bring food containers.
  • Check out Love Food, Hate Waste for some fantastic ideas to transform your leftovers including ‘Roast Dinner Soup’, ‘Bubble & Squeak’ and ‘Christmas Pudding Ice Cream’. It’ll make a big saving to your shopping bill!
  • Lots of foods can be frozen, such as hard cheese, bread, cake or even whipped cream.
  • Soft fruits and salad ingredients will need to be used quickly as they will not keep and can be combined with cooked leftovers for some quick and tasty meals.

The post-Christmas clear up

  • Any waste you may have can be taken to recycling facilities in north London. For more information, and handy hints on how to reduce your waste and save money check out our facebook and Instagram feeds.
  • NLWA Reuse and Recycle Centres will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, but otherwise will be open regular hours for you to recycle your materials.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Chair of NLWA, said: “There are huge benefits to wasting less and recycling more at Christmas. It can save us money, but it also makes sure that we get the most out of the materials we use by recycling them into something new, rather than just disposing of them. Most of the waste we produce over the festive period can be recycled.”