The 12 Saves of Christmas

Smart Somerset families are saving their Christmas by keeping the festive fun and tradition but cutting back waste, cost – and the plastic.

The key is preparation and focusing on not just good value but what you value, from sharing with others to bringing together your family at this special time.

Here are a dozen ideas from Somerset Waste – to match those 12 days of Christmas:

1 It is never too early to get clear for Christmas; go around the house to make sure everything not needed is recycled – or sold, given away or turned into a gift.

2 The same is true for wish lists – demand them now so every present is wanted. For grown-ups, think low-waste, low-cost secret Santa.

3 It is time to cut back Christmas cards and explain you have made a donation to a charity you value.

4 Eat into that freezer now to save money and have space for Christmas food and all those leftovers. PS: avoid waste by getting a smaller bird and prep it all in advance.

5 Children’s home-made paper and card decorations – recycled later or kept for 2019 – look great, as does traditional garden greenery.

6 For the tree, drop costly, easily-broken shop baubles for a box of fun items with meaning, from child-decorated pine cones to old costume jewellery and more.

7 For gifts, consider digital downloads or subscriptions – instant, waste-free – or adding the love that comes with making your own, from foods to beauty scrubs.

8 Check charity shop bargains, and buy and donate back that festive jumper.

9 Seek out gifts from recycled materials, or those that help others recycle, from can crushers to mushroom kits for coffee grounds.

10 Whether presents or decorations, cards or wrapping paper, steer clear of plastics that cannot be recycled and end up in landfill.

11 Buy rechargeable batteries and a charger to have them ready for the big day.

12 Know the waste schedule, where to take your tree – the recycling site, yes, or find a local chipping service – and check the weather in case of collection disruption.

This year, that schedule is unchanged on Christmas Eve, but with no pick-ups on 25 and 26 December, collections that week will be two days later, including Thursday on Saturday and Friday on Sunday 30 December.

With New Year’s Eve pick-ups as usual but no service New Year’s Day, that week’s collections will be one day later, including Friday on Saturday. All services resume from Monday 7 January. No garden waste collections 24 December – 4 January.

Recycling sites follow usual schedules, except all sites will close at 4pm on Monday 24 and 31 December. As usual, all sites close 25-26 December and 1 January.

For the what and when of collections, the where, what and when of recycling sites, what to do in severe weather, plus how to waste less food and cut back plastics, see  or check out Somersetwaste on Facebook and Twitter.

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