Christmas period tips: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Recycling wreath

Many of us like to overindulge at Christmas time and why not, it’s only once a year! However you can feel great about yourself all year round by reducing your waste, reusing and recycling all you can, after all Santa’s elves might be watching!

Here are some useful tips on how to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle this season.

Festive 'reduce' tips

  • Send ecards instead of paper cards
  • Plan your meals over the Christmas fortnight to ensure you only buy what you need and stick to your shopping list. According to the Independent newspaper, over 4 million festive meals are thrown away each year
  • Give away unwanted presents to a local hospital, play centre, charity shop or school, this will clear clutter from your home and may help raise money for a good cause
  • If you have children write a present list, for each child, for family and friends. This will help prevent unwanted or duplicated presents
  • Buy ‘nude’ vegetables (ie no packaging) they are usually cheaper and you can pick the exact quantity you need. This will also prevent you from having to throw away lots of unwanted packaging

Festive 'reuse' tips

  • Still got those Christmas cards from last year? Reuse them by turning them into gift tags. Or if you’re feeling creative make Christmas tree decorations out of them, especially ones containing glitter as these can't be recycled
  • Use old cardboard boxes as new boxes for gifts, simply decorate them with old wrapping paper, glitter or magazine cut outs, and disguise presents for a true surprise
  • Take reusable bags out with you when you do your Christmas shopping, this prevents the need for plastic bags and also disguises what and where you have purchased your presents

Festive 'recycle' tips

  • When it comes to wrapping paper buy paper varieties rather than the metallic/plastic types as they can't be recycled
  • All of the following can be recycled in Southwark:
    • foil
    • aerosols
    • plastic cleaner bottles
    • plastic toiletries
    • plastic food trays, pots and tubs
    • cans
    • food and drink cartons (such as Tetra Paks)
    • paper
    • card
    • glass
  • If you have a food waste collection, don’t forget all food waste and plate scrapings can be placed in your brown bin

Collection date changes for Christmas 2018

Due to the bank holidays over the Christmas period there may be some changes to your collection day. Please see the table below to see if this will affect your collection.

Collection date changes

If your normal collection day is

It will be collected on

Monday 24 December

Monday 24 December

Tuesday 25 December

Thursday 27 December

Wednesday 26 December

Friday 28 December

Thursday 27 December

Saturday 29 December

Friday 28 December

Sunday 30 December

Monday 31 December

Monday 31 December

Tuesday 1 January

Wednesday 2 January

Wednesday 2 January

Thursday 3 January

Thursday 3 January

Friday 4 January

Friday 4 January

Saturday 5 January

On Monday 7 January 2019 all collections will return to normal days

Real Christmas tree recycling

Please recycle your real Christmas tree once you have finished with it, simply remove all decorations including any pot or stand and do one of the following:

  • If you have a food and garden waste collection real Christmas trees can be collected as part of your normal household collection, simply leave it by your bin on collection day or;
  • If you don't have a food and garden waste collection now, you just need to book a special one off garden collection on our website or by sending an email to with your address, so we can add it to the next collection in your area.  You will need to make sure it is accessible for the crew to collect
  • Alternatively real Christmas trees and plastic Christmas trees can be brought to the Reuse and Recycling centre on Devon Street (off old Kent Road).
Lastly, if you’re thinking of a New Year resolution for 2019, why not pledge to cut down on your waste all year round, now wouldn’t that feel good! Visit Recycle Now for more information on how to reduce waste.

Page last updated: 19 December 2018