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The festive season can be expensive. Not just for our pockets, but also for the environment.

Households around the UK throw away £12.5 billion pounds worth of good food every year and we waste more food at Christmas than at any other time. Reducing food waste could save an average family of four £70 per month, which can go a long way at Christmas.

Additionally, a massive 277,000 miles of wrapping paper (enough to stretch all the way to the moon!), as well as astronomical amounts of plastic packaging and trimmings is also thrown away by UK households.

But it’s not all bah humbug! Here are our favourite tips to enjoy Christmas festivities in an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective way:

  1. Recycling and rubbish collections change of the Christmas and New year period – make sure you know your collection days by checking your local council website.
  2. If you opt for a real Christmas tree, try to find one that is UK-grown and has an FSC certification. And be sure to recycle it correctly.

  3. Why not opt for natural decorations such as homemade biscuit decorations, sprigs of holly and mistletoe? Christmas Crackers are usually filled with small plastic gifts destined for the bin. It’s easy and fun to cook up some edible Christmas cracker gifts as an alternative – find lots of recipes at bbcgoodfood.com/recipes

  4. Choose environmentally friendly gifts. Purchase experience days or shop second hand. Another great option is to make your gifts instead of buying them. You might find that whatever you can give to others will be more special to them if they know you made it with your own two hands!

  5. Got leftover roast veg, stuffing, pigs in a blankets or turkey slices? Too many mince pies or opened bottles of milk? Most foods can be frozen so long as the use-by date has not passed.

  6. Look for plant-based glitter that is biodegradable. Avoid regular glitter made from aluminium and plastic which has a nasty habit of littering our land and oceans.

  7. Ensure any visitors to your house know which bins to use. Don’t forget that many common Christmas items including large sweet tins are highly recyclable!

  8. Don’t get confused by best-before dates – these indicate quality only. Bread that’s not at its freshest is great for recipes that need bread crumbs, like stuffing. It can also be used for toasties or bread and butter pudding. For recipe ideas, visit: lovefoodhatewaste.com

  9. Attend one of our ‘We’re dreaming of a greener Christmas’ events (details at the top of this page) where you can speak to recycling experts about how reduce the impact of Christmas on the environment.