Reducing waste with a green Christmas

Have a green Christmas with simple ways to reduce your impact on the environment.

How we can recycle more

Will COP26 and climate change alter the way you celebrate this year? Perhaps you may reconsider purchasing certain items or support more local businesses this year to reduce your carbon footprint.

We will post a waste reduction or recycling tip for every day of advent on Oxfordshire Recycles in the run-up to Christmas day from 1 December to 24 December. Look out for it on our Facebook and Twitter.

We can all play our part by recycling more of the waste we produce at Christmas and putting the right thing in the right bin. 

  • Check the waste wizard for more information about reuse, kerbside collection and drop off locations.
  • Check leaflets or stickers provided by your district council
  • Follow Oxfordshire Recycles and ask us questions on Facebook @Oxfordshire Recycles or Twitter @OxonRecycles  for recycling info.
  • Follow your district council for relevant updates.

Bin collections

Your collection dates usually change over the festive period, you can double-check these dates on your relevant council’s website.

Plan where you’ll store any extra recycling as we all have a bit more waste at Christmas.

Opening hours over the Christmas break

We close early on Christmas Eve, and New Year's Eve, and close Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Recycling centre opening hours
Christmas Eve 8am - 3pm
Christmas Day Closed
Boxing Day Closed
New Year's Eve 8am - 3pm
New Year's Day Closed

More information about your nearest recycling centre

Cards and wrapping your gifts

When you’re choosing Christmas cards and wrapping paper, think about whether they can be recycled. Cards and paper with glitter, foil, plastic or other non-paper parts can’t be recycled.

Virtual messages of Happy Christmas can still be made personal with an e-card or you can record a video message for a loved one rather than sending cards.

Want to reduce how much wrapping paper you use this year? You could unbox presents before you wrap them to reduce paper usage (this may also help keep your recycling bin lighter around Christmas).

You could make your own wrapping paper by cutting out sections of magazines or newspapers to create an image collage.

Or try something different called Furoshiki, gift wrapping with textiles or a scarf. The gift wrap can be saved and reused by that person at any time during that year to wrap with.

Give it a go, with the help of this video

Low or zero-waste gift ideas

It can be tricky to choose a gift for your loved ones or to give them ideas for what to get you.

Try fixing a broken item rather than asking for a replacement.

Purchase an experience to enjoy together or an online course - there are classes in drawing, painting, cookery and photography to choose from. This kind of present can help reduce waste and resource use.

Support a Community Action Group such as Bicester Green or Orinoco, by finding a hidden treasure in their shop or buying a pre-loved item, which can be unique, vintage and a great deal.

Bicester Green makes items out of reclaimed materials and even do commissions. Orinoco runs Friday Makers’ Club which could be the perfect personalised gift for someone you know! Alternatively, you could opt for a gift voucher with Broken Spoke for one of its courses.

If your family lives further away, you could order something from an independent business closer to them that could also deliver for Christmas.

If you’re hands-on, you could make something. There are lots of YouTube videos and instructions online for making beeswax or soy wraps, handmade soap, bath bombs, candles or even putting together a hamper. A painting or edible goodies are heartfelt and show that you’ve put time and effort into the gift.

You could upcycle something from an online community group such as ebay, gumtree or Freegle

Food recycling and reduction

Remove the guesswork, reduce waste and save money by using a portion planner to find out how much to cook. Create a shopping list to avoid overbuying what you may not need or use

Upcycle an old ice cream tub or a chocolate box to collect any peelings and leftovers. 


  • Use your council provided indoor caddy
  • Go loose. There’s no need to even use a liner or have an indoor caddy and instead put it straight into your outdoor food bin

Visit our food reduction page for more information on how to reduce food waste all year. Sign up for the Replenish newsletter for money and food-saving tips.

Get the most out of your freezer. Check you have space for festive leftovers and use it to store labelled, individual portions of Christmas leftovers. Brussel sprout bubble and squeak anyone? For more leftover recipe ideas visit

Regifting, or items you have replaced

Can it be reused by someone else?

Please double-check the Waste Wizard if you have an item you no longer need before you throw it away. Can it be repaired, reused, repurposed or regifted before you recycle it?

Second-hand outlets are available through an online community group, ebay, gumtree or Freegle

Christmas tree recycling

Six million Christmas trees are sold each year in the UK. That’s enough to stretch end to end from London to the North Pole and back!

Real/natural trees

If you like to have a real tree, buying a potted tree or one you can replant is a great idea, which you could save in the garden for next year.

Whether you decide to keep your real tree until next year, or recycle it, be sure to remove the decorations and save them to reuse the following year.

Recycling options

  • Kerbside collection: If you have a garden waste collection, these can be put out alongside your garden bin on your collection day.
  • Drop off locations: Check with your district council if you can bring them to a location for recycling. Alternatively, you can bring them to a recycling centre.

Artificial trees

If your tree is no longer fit for purpose, it could be used by someone else. If not, please remove the lights and decorations and bring it to a recycling centre. Check with the staff on arrival which container it will be placed in.


Ensure your batteries are kept to one side for recycling, they must not be placed directly into your bin as they pose a fire risk if compacted in the collection vehicle.

Check the Waste Wizard for more information about battery collection and drop off locations.

Crisp packets

You can recycle crisp packets, sweet wrappers and other plastic film at some supermarkets - check the Waste Wizard to find out where

Refill and low packaging shops

Buy from a low packaging or refill shop. Bring along your own bags for veg and fill jars or containers with dry goods. Download and use the Refill App to find your nearest water refill, coffee refill, lunch refill, other kitchen refills like detergent and dry goods etc.

Electricals recycling

Ensure your electricals are kept to one side. Can they be repaired or reused?

If they need to be recycled, they shouldn’t be placed directly into your bin as they contain precious metals which should be recycled separately to create new electrical products.

Check the Waste Wizard for more information about repair, reuse and recycling locations.