Alternative advent calendars, wrapping paper and other tips

Here are a few ideas to help you apply the reduce, reuse and recycle principles to the spirit of the festive season.

Advent calendars

They are great fun and the chocolate ones are very tasty but do create waste in terms of the cardboard outer box, foil cover and plastic inner.

So why not make your own this year? Make it reusable and you can use it year after year eliminating any waste or repurpose every day household objects and recycle them afterwards.

Below are some ideas for inspiration. Some may need adapting to make them completely environmentally friendly but they give you a place to start.

Links will open content on external websites. These are offered for ideas only and should not be taken as an endorsement of any particular product, company or individual by Wychavon District Council.

Toilet tube calendar

Tin can calendar

Envelope calendar

Shoe organiser calendar

Advent in a jar

Odd sock calendar - no tutorial for this one just take some odd socks, number them and hang them up with little gifts inside.

Wrapping paper

In the UK every Christmas we throw away 227,000 miles of wrapping paper.

Here is a short video with five alternatives to using wrapping paper

Here is a tutorial on how to use offcuts of fabric for wrapping presents

Newspaper is another option, although it can messy. This video shows you how you can make your presents look beautiful wrapped in a copy of yesterday's news.

If you are not into arts and crafts and decide you are going to still use wrapping paper then please opt for paper that isn't shiny or doesn't have a metallic look or feel to it. This usually means it isn't suitable for recycling.

Another way to cut down on wrapping waste is to avoid using bows and ribbons. They look pretty but will end up in the bin unless you can save them to reuse next year.

Christmas cards

As long as they don't have glitter on them or ribbons then plain, standard Christmas cards can be recycled.

However, you could eliminate that waste completely by sending an electronic Christmas card this year or perhaps a video message on social media.

Present buying

If you are planning on grabbing yourself a bargain electrical gadget either as a present or for yourself, then please remember if your old one is in good condition to either sell it online, pass it on to a friend or family member, donate it to charity or advertise it on a site like Freecycle.

Electrical waste is one of the fastest growing types of waste in the UK and has a significant impact on the environment.

Televisions, fridges, freezers and mobile phones can be taken to most Household Recycling Centres. Some will even take small electrical items.

Find your nearest Household Recycling Centre and a list of what they accept. If in doubt please call and check before making a journey.

Remember, the cardboard packaging your items come in can be recycled, just squash it down to create more room in your green bin. However, if it comes with any plastic or polystyrene type packing then this cannot be recycled and should go in your black bin. 

Should you buy a real Christmas tree or an artific...
Your naughty and nice Christmas recycling guide

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