Ad/Paid collaboration with Wales Recycles and the Welsh Government’s 12 Days of Christmas Recycling campaign
You don’t need me to tell you that the amount of waste we produce over the festive period goes into overdrive. Left-over food from our Christmas dinners; Christmas cards; food packaging; unwanted gifts; Christmas trees; and the rest of it. It all adds up to a huge number of extra bags in our kerbside collections in late December and early January.
After the year we’ve all had, I’m not here to tell you to cancel Christmas. But I am teaming up with Wales Recycles and the Welsh Government to remind you to recycle and to help promote their 12 Days of Christmas Recycling campaign, to ensure that everything possible makes it into our recycling collections, rather than our refuse bins and landfill.
Almost half of us are still not recycling everything we can
Wales is already one of the top recycling nations – we’re currently number three in the world recycling charts with only Singapore and Germany ahead of us in the world recycling rankings. In fact, our recycling rate has reached its highest ever at 65%, smashing the Welsh Government’s target of 64% this year. And 55% of us are recycling more than we were this time last year.
But we still have a long way to go to hit the Welsh Government’s target to top the charts, with almost half of us still not recycling everything we can.
You may remember the post I wrote on the Be Mighty. Recycle / Bydd Wych. Ailgylcha campaign, which launched in September. The campaign has been an enormous success. With more than 55 partners in Wales backing the campaign and sharing content, and more than 44 million impressions so far, it’s become the largest recycling campaign Wales has ever seen.
But with more waste generated in December than usual, it’s worth reminding ourselves of what, exactly, we should be recycling and why it’s so important.
Recycle your food waste, power your home
This is the area where we can make the biggest impact on Wales’ recycling rate, as well as directly helping to tackle climate change.
The good news is that 80% of people in Wales use their food recycling service. However, not everyone recycles everything they can. In fact, almost a quarter of our rubbish is made up of food waste – almost all of which could have been recycled.
It’s a staggering statistic, considering every local authority in Wales collects food waste and every item of food can be recycled, including those items most common at Christmas such as:
- Turkey trimmings including bones
- Sprout stalks
- Vegetable peelings – potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc
- Tangerines and other fruit peelings
- Chestnut and nut shells
You can also recycle:
- Fruit and vegetable peelings
- Coffee grounds
- Egg shells
- Bones from meat or fish
- Plate scrapings
- Out of date or mouldy food
Most local authorities in Wales send their food waste to an anaerobic digestion facility, where it is turned into renewable energy to power homes and communities. Anaerobic digestion involves the natural breakdown of food into methane and carbon dioxide gas. These gases are then used to generate electricity to power homes and the local community.
- One caddy of food waste could power a home for an hour
- Recycling 11 orange peels could fully charge a laptop
- 1 recycled chicken carcass could power a fridge for 10 hours
- A caddy of food waste could power a fridge for 18 hours
- 9 recycled banana peels could power a games console for an hour
- 6 recycled teabags could produce enough energy to power the kettle for another cuppa
- 2 recycled teabags could produce enough energy to power a smartphone
- 3 recycled banana peels could create enough energy to power a tablet
- 1 banana peel could produce enough energy to power a stereo for 24 minutes
- A caddy full food waste could power a TV for 2 hours – long enough to power watching Frozen or The Grinch on your big screen.
Between April 2018 and March 2019, Welsh local authorities sent 115,222 tonnes of food waste (a combination of both household and commercial) to anaerobic digestion facilities, which generated enough energy to power more than 8,500 homes for a year. Read more about food recycling here.
The 12 Days of Christmas Recycling / Ailgylchu dros 12 Dydd Nadolig
To coincide with the festive period, Wales Recycles has created a list of 12 common Christmas items that can be recycled. Read on to learn more about the 12 Days of Christmas Recycling.
1. Recycle your teabags
69% people in Wales recycle their tea bags. Recycling just two teabags by putting them in your food waste caddy can create enough electricity to fully charge a smartphone.
2. Show plastic bottles who’s boss
Over 85% of us recycle plastic bottles such as drinks bottles, cleaning products and toiletry bottles. Empty, crush and replace the lids before recycling. Remove trigger sprays from cleaning bottles and pump dispensers first as these can’t be recycled. Recycling one shampoo bottle saves enough energy to power a home stereo for five hours.
3. Recycle your plastic chocolate tubs
It takes 75% less energy to make a bottle from recycled plastic than using raw materials. Most plastic can be recycled, including the big tubs of chocolate and sweets we have around the house at Christmas. If you sort your recyclable items into separate containers, place this into your container for your ‘plastics and cans’. Remove any wrappers first.
4. Spray another day
Recycle aerosol cans from your bedroom and bathroom such as hairspray, deodorant and shaving gel. 73% of us recycle our empty aerosols. Recycling one aerosol can saves enough energy to power a home stereo for 32 hours. That’s a lot of Christmas tunes! Ensure they’re empty and remove plastic caps.
5. Foil mince pie cases
Metal can be recycled again and again without losing quality including mince pie cases and foil used in cooking that is clean, 70% of us in Wales recycle foil. Scrunch foil items before recycling them. Remove any food parts from foil before recycling. Empty and rinse foil containers.
6. Keep crushing cans this Christmas
Whether you’ll be sipping on an alcoholic beverage or refreshing soft drink this Christmas don’t forget to recycle your cans. Recycling one can saves enough energy to power a vacuum cleaner for an hour.
7. Conquer your cardboard packaging
We consume more cardboard over Christmas than any other time of year. 86% of people in Wales recycle their cardboard. Remember to remove any packaging tape and flatten boxes to save space in your recycling container.
8. Think food first at Christmas
You can recycle turkey bones, veg peelings and any leftovers from your Christmas dinner, as well as other waste including tea bags and coffee grounds, eggshells, peelings and cores from fruit and stale bread. Make sure it goes in your kitchen caddy for recycling and not in the bin. 80% of us recycle our food waste in Wales and one caddy full of food waste can produce enough energy to power a TV for two hours.
9. Keep giving with glass
Glass is easy to recycle – and it can be recycled into new products again and again. Give empty wine, beer and soft drink glass bottles a rinse and pop the lid or cap back on before putting into your recycling. Empty jars of pickles, chutneys and condiments can be recycled too.
10. Christmas cards and envelopes
Christmas cards can be recycled but remove any ribbons, bows, glitter or foil before putting into your recycling. If your paper and card is recycled separately, place cards in your card container and place envelopes in your paper container
11. Advent calendar packaging
Once you’ve opened the final door of your advent calendar and you’re ready to get rid of the packaging, separate the cardboard from the inner tray. The outer cardboard packaging can be flattened and recycled while the inner tray cannot be recycled so put in your general rubbish bin.
12. Christmas trees
‘Real’ Christmas trees are 100% recyclable. Check with your council to see if they will collect them with your garden waste or if you can take them to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre. Plastic Christmas trees, with or without embedded lights, should be placed with rigid plastics at your household waste recycling centre.
Other common Christmas items which can be recycled but which aren’t included as part of the official 12 tips of Christmas include:
Christmas tree lights – if they are no longer working, take to your household waste recycling centre (small electrical appliances)
Liquid soap (hand sanitiser / gift set items) bottles – empty, rinse and remove pump dispenser. Throw pump into the rubbish bin and recycle the bottle.
Toilet roll tubes – don’t forget to put these into your recycling with the rest of your cardboard.
The Wales Recycles website has a brilliant A to Z of recycling on its website, a really useful resource which tells you exactly what you can and can’t recycle in every area of Wales. You can view the directory here in English and here in Welsh.
Does your family recycle everything they can at Christmas? What advice would you give other families? Do share your recycling top tips in the comments below, comment on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, tweet me on @cardiffmummy or see my posts on the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram channel.