Dream of a green Christmas

by Matthew Stanton

Peter Walker as Santa with a pink recycling sack on his shoulder

GO GREEN: Peter Walker wants people to recycle more.

HAVE a happy green Christmas and an eco-friendly New Year – that is the message being sent by councils across Essex and east London.

From festive cards to wrapping paper, many of the items used over the winter period can be re-used and recycled.

Local authorities across the UK are worried people will take the easy option and put items that could be recycled straight in the bin – and then to landfill.

However, most councils now have recycling collections to pick up everything from elft over stuffing and turkey, to cardboard boxes, plastics and Christmas trees.

Friends of the Earth member Peter Walker urged people to do their bit.
He said: “Christmas is a wasteful time of year. If something can be recycled then I beg people to recycle it.

“Preventing waste from going into landfill is an issue that must be targeted all year round – but Christmas is a good time to start for those who haven’t yet.”

Essex County Council civic amenities will run from 8am to 1pm on Christmas Eve and will be shut on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Councillor Peter Martin, cabinet member of environment on Essex County Council, said: “It is important that everyone does his or her bit over Christmas.

“We take on board more waste during these period of the year than at any other point.”

Southend Council collections will restart on Thursday, December 27.


The facts:

festive recycling

  • Three million tonnes of waste is created over the festive period.
  • Royal Mail delivers around 150 million cards and packets each day during the pre-Christmas period.
  • It is estimated that up to one billion Christmas cards – 17 for every man, woman and child – could end up in bins across the UK.
  • More than 7.5million Christmas trees were bought in 2004, while the total number recycled was just 1.2 million.
  • It is estimated 83 sq km of wrapping paper will end up in UK rubbish bins, enough to cover an area larger than Guernsey.
  • People use an extra 750 million bottles and glass containers, and 500million drinks cans.
  • Around 30 per cent more glass and cans are collected over the Christmas period.
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