Wrap Up Christmas – how to recycle all your festive stuff

Christmas Tree Disposal

Over the centuries there have been various traditions and superstitions about how long to keep your Christmas tree up. Some say that spirits live in the pine trees we bring into our homes as Christmas Trees and the spirits must be released before Twelfth Night so they can get back into the fields to help the crops grow. The Tudors continued celebrating until 1 February, the eve of Candlemas, a Christian festival marking the day the infant Jesus was presented to the God in the Temple at Jerusalem. More recently, the Victorians decided that Christmas decorations should be taken down on Twelfth Night (6 January) because they wanted to get everybody to work. But during and since lockdown this tradition has been abandoned by many who wanted to keep their homes feeling festive for longer.

Whatever date you chose, what is the best thing to do with your Christmas Tree when you want to take it down?

Various recycling services offered by local councils and other organisations will compost or chip your tree for mulch:

• You can take your trees to be chipped on Hungerford High Street after Christmas by donation to local charities.

• West Berkshire Council will collect real Christmas trees for recycling. If you are a subscriber to the garden waste collection service you can get your real Christmas tree collected. Please put it out with your garden waste bin for collection from 9 January to 3 February 2024. Trees over 4ft must be cut in half. Please remove all lights, decorations and pots. See more details here.

• For details of  similar arrangements in surrounding areas please see Vale of White Horse, Wiltshire and Hampshire.

• Yattendon Estates Christmas Retail Barn has teamed up with the Sue Ryder Hospice to offer a Christmas tree recycling service for residents in specific postcodes, on a donation basis.

Thanks to the Lambourn Christmas Tree Farm for these suggestions:
• put your tree in the garden and redecorate with treats for the birds
• slice the branches into discs to make decorative wreaths that are not just for Christmas!
• turn the logs into bug hotels
• make next year’s Christmas decorations with this year’s tree!
We find that very dry Christmas tree branches make excellent kindling in an open fire or a wood burner, although we’ve been advised by a local sweep that the resin might cause a dangerous build up in the flue.
For next year you could consider buying a living Christmas Tree in a pot that will last with care from year to year.

Presents

Received a surfeit of smellies this year? There is only so much you can use so why not donate some to a local good cause looking for raffle or auction prizes? Unwanted Christmas presents are gratefully received by local voluntary groups and also Trindledown National Animal Welfare Trust in Great Shefford.

Plastic Sweet & Cracker Tubs

From Jacobs crackers to Celebrations, Christmas is a time for big plastic sweet/chocolate/cracker tubs with plastic code PP5. The Tubs 2 Pubs campaign will collect the tubs for recycling until 11 February 2024.

Tubs can also be dropped off or handed over to Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillables.

Cards

You can recycle your cards in the paper recycling collection but just make sure to remove any non-paper attachments first. Or even better, upcycle them – here are some ideas:
• cut them up to make gift tags for next year
fold them into small boxes with a lid
fold them into pillow boxes
to re-use your cards by turning them into bunting etc.

Wrapping Paper

Unfortunately, much Christmas wrapping paper – particularly if it is very shiny or has glitter – cannot be recycled and needs to put in the general waste. Do the scrunch test by trying to squeeze paper into a ball and if it doesn’t stay scrunched this indicates that it contains other materials as well as paper which means it cannot be recycled.

For next year, look into fabric wrapping which is more easily re-used than paper. Or if you want to stick with paper, think about securing it with ribbon or string instead of cellotape.

Leftover Food & Drink

Click here for some recipe ideas for using up your Christmas leftovers. Here is advice on Christmas meal planning, portion control and shopping from Love Food Hate Waste.

Got a few unfinished bottles of plonk around the house that you can’t face? Did you know that you can freeze wine? Click here for tips including freezing wine in an ice-cue tray for cooking or making sangria etc (freezing can affect the flavour so you might not want to drink it straight)

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