With the Christmas holidays comes lots of extra packaging, particularly in the home. Did you know that packaging increases by 30% over the Christmas period? Much of this packaging is recyclable or could be prevented in the first place, so make sure you have a green Christmas and reduce your packaging or recycle the extra packaging that is around your house.
Here are some tips from Deirdre Cox, Environmental Awareness Officer with North Tipperary County Council on how householders can play their part this year in reducing waste by having a ‘greener’ Christmas.
1. Buy items with less packaging where possible or consider gift bags if possible as they can be reused over and over.
2. E-Cards – Why not send a festive e-card instead of a paper one, or make your own from paper and textile scraps you find around the house.
3. Buying Presents – buy locally produced gifts, you’re supporting local jobs and helping the environment by reducing air miles. Treat someone to an “experience present” such as theatre or concert tickets, evening classes, restaurant vouchers, etc. to cut down on Christmas packaging.
4. Many people at this time of the year, collect holly and unfortunately over the past few years we have seen a large decline in holly in our countryside – so please think before you start cutting wild holly!!
5. Make a List! – Make a shopping list so you’re not tempted to buy things you don’t really need or want. Remember to plan your Christmas dinner and other meals over the Christmas period in order to reduce the amount of food you buy and the amount of waste afterwards – and save money too.
6. What about a home composter as a gift? Home composters are available from North Tipperary County Council.
7. Shopping Bags – Bring your own reusable bags when shopping. Say no to plastic bags.
8. Low food air-miles – Shop for locally produced food or fair trade labels. Challenge yourself to make dinner entirely from locally produced produce.
9. Food for Thought – At least 20% of all the food we buy is thrown out! Visit www.stopfoodwaste.ie for inspiring ideas of what to do with leftovers. Feed your composter with any uncooked food waste.
At North Tipperary County Council we’d like to help you recycle all your used wrapping paper, glass bottles, foil trays and Christmas trees. Overall Repak estimates that Irish householders will generate approximately 220,000 tonnes of household waste (or 150 kilos per household) over the Christmas period. A third of this household waste or 75,000 tonnes is used packaging, the equivalent of 51 kilos of used packaging per household, or two thirds the weight of an average Irish male.
Beer cans and bottles top the table on packaging types produced at Christmas followed by carbonated soft drink bottles.
This season will see Ireland generate the following used packaging over the Christmas period
• 22 million wine bottles
• 50.6 million beer cans
• 20 million soft drink cans
• 50.5 million beer bottles
• 39 million carbonated soft drink bottles
• 4 million boxes of chocolates
Many of these items can be recycled in your recycling bin at home or at your local recycling centre.
Tips To A Greener Christmas
As well as making an extra effort to recycle more of your Christmas packaging, have a greener Christmas by keeping the following in mind:
• Recycle used sweet and biscuit tins.
• Wash and rinse all recyclables
• Recycle your used jars e.g. Mayonnaise, pickled vegetables etc.
• Recycle your used Clear Plastic Trays for fruit and vegetables. These are usually PET and can be recycled in dry recyclable bins.
• Recycle your used aluminium from e.g. Take away trays, Mince pies trays etc
• Recycle glass bottles such as wine, spirit and beer bottles as well as aluminium beer cans
• No need to worry about sellotape on wrapping paper, this can be recycled too
• Christmas Crackers and Christmas cards are all recyclable
• Ensure segregate colour correctly
• Do not leave recyclables on the ground at your local bottle bank a. Slows down collections b. Is littering and can be prosecuted
• Find your nearest recycling centre and opening hours through Recyclemore.ie or our apps
• Remember to recycle from around the house bathroom, living room
• Recycle food waste by separating in a compost bin or household food waste bin. Don’t put cooked foods in regular garden compost bins
• Do not put batteries or electrical waste in your household bins. Return used batteries to the outlet you bought them from
• Return old electrical items to your local recycling centre
• Purchase reusable batteries where possible
This Christmas the Environment Section in North Tipperary County Council is urging the public to Reuse and Recycle as much as possible.
Try to ensure that your Christmas tree is bought from a sustainably managed forest e.g. Coillte.
Your tree can be composted when you are finished with it and North Tipperary County Council will look after this for you by providing a number locations where you can leave your tree for collection
Recycling Centre Nenagh during opening hours from January 8th to 26th inclusive
2) Civic Amenity Site, Roscrea during opening hours from January 10th to 26th inclusive and
3) Parnell Street Carpark, Thurles in specified areas on Saturday 12th and 19th
4) Town Park in Templemore in specified areas on Saturday 19th
Christmas Recycling Centre opening hours;
Closing at normal closing time on Saturday, 22nd December;
Re-open at normal opening time on Friday, 28th December;
Open at normal opening time on Saturday, 29th December;
Close on the 30th and 31st December, and 1st January.
Nenagh Recycling Centre will re-open at normal opening time on Wednesday, 2nd January;
Roscrea Civic Amenity Site will re-open at normal opening time on Thursday, 3rd January.
Find all the details and locations of the 40 bottle bank sites throughout the county, the opening hours of your local Recycling Centres and locations of Christmas tree shredding at www.tipperarynorth.ie.
Recycling this Christmas could avoid 40,000 tonnes of carbon or equivalent of taking 26,000 cars off the road. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle your way to a Greener Christmas this year.