accessibility | contact us | help
Home > Community information > Waste reduction volunteers

Waste reduction volunteers

Tis the season to recycle

by a Waste Reduction Volunteer

Christmas can often be a very stressful time as we try and buy presents for family and friends and decorate the house as best as we can, but Christmas can also be a wasteful time. Although we mean well, we can often find ourselves buying more presents, food and decorations than we actually need which results in UK waste production increasing by 30% every Christmas!

With more than 300,000 tonnes of card packaging and the equivalent of 2 million turkeys being thrown away every year, Christmas waste in the UK is an overwhelming yet often overlooked problem. But what can we do to reduce our waste?



First things first, when you’re doing your Christmas shopping try and shop locally in-store rather than online to reduce the amount of packaging and carbon emissions from the transportation of the goods you want to buy. Always carry a few Bags for Life as you never know how much you’ll end up buying if you happen to stumble across a pre-Christmas sale! Buy gifts which will be long-lasting or useful rather than gifts that could be thrown away in a few days or left to collect dust on a shelf.

2017 has seen a huge rise in ‘Experience Gifts’ such as buying someone a wine tasting session, spa day, or zorbing experience so if you want to give someone a memory they can cherish for years an experience gift may the thing for you.


Giving Gifts

 The amount of wrapping paper we use and throw away each year at Christmas could be stretched around the world nine times!

If you want to save yourself some money that you would ordinarily spend on wrapping paper and you’re a fan of the vintage homemade Christmas look you could use some everyday alternatives. If you have any old music sheets lying around, newspapers, burlap, or colouring book pages you could really set your presents apart from the rest by being environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and rustic.

You can even keep the children busy by getting them to give you a helping hand at painting or decorating old cereal boxes to make gift boxes. There are loads of ideas you can find online by simply typing in ‘Alternatives to wrapping paper.’ Give it a go!


Christmas Postcards

 You can do a similar thing with your Christmas cards. Instead of throwing them all away at the end of the year, try and save your favourite ones and cut the front design out to create a Christmas Postcard instead! Or if you’re fed up of posting cards, why not try sending an e-card online.


Real Tree vs. Fake Tree

 Every year, around 6-8 million real Christmas trees are discarded, many of which end up in landfill sites or as wood-chippings. A number of celebrities have admitted that this year they are swapping their real tree for an artificial tree because it can last for years rather than a few weeks and still looks beautiful and spritely come Boxing Day.

Artificial trees use a whole lot of energy to be created so it’s actually more eco-friendly to have a sustainably sourced real tree. But if you’ve got an artificial tree, keep on using it and make it last as long as possible until you need to look into getting a replacement.

If you can’t bear the thought of using an artificial tree you can use your real tree for composting or donate it to charity. Local charities such are offering a tree collection service which they can profit from (Just Helping).

For those of you who have the patience, you could always look into growing your own Christmas tree! It may take 7-10 years but I’m sure it would be a tree to be proud of once it has been decorated and standing tall in your home.


Food Glorious Food

 Finally, perhaps one of the most anticipated moments of the Christmas season – the Christmas dinner! Try and plan your portions, just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean that your belly can eat triple the amount of food it usually does. If you’ve got anything left over, have a buffet in the evening or freeze your food for your next Sunday roast.

Top tip: you can freeze turkey, other meat and meals cooked from previously cooked and frozen meat. But once defrosted, you should eat the food within 24 hours. If you haven’t got enough room in your freezer try and donate the food to neighbours or homeless shelters.

Don’t forget to recycle the foil left over from all your baking trays! Buy drinks which come in cans or glass because these are much easier to re-cycle than plastic bottles and don’t clog up the oceans.

If you have leftover wine you can pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it for a later date in sauces, gravy or as an alcoholic ice cube. Buy items with a long use-by date so you don’t find yourself throwing away items of food that you haven’t even opened!


Lets try and make Christmas a happy time for everyone, family, friends, and the environment.


Merry Christmas everyone.



Become a volunteer

If you are passionate about reducing waste, we would like to hear from you. The authority is on the hunt for volunteers to advise and empower local residents to reduce waste, compost at home and make the most of leftover food.

The Waste Reduction Volunteer projects' aim is to reach out to the wider community and inspire the public to change their thinking about waste.  Our team of dedicated Waste Reduction Volunteers attend road shows and deliver talks throughout the area, speaking to people about home composting and food waste reduction.

There's never a dull moment. Every month brings a fabulous new opportunity, whether it's delivering talks to the community, working with school gardening clubs, or chatting about Love Food Hate Waste at food festivals. Our volunteers are on hand to inspire and truly make a difference.

The waste reduction volunteer project is a joint scheme being run by Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Would you like to become a Waste Reduction Volunteer?

Each volunteer receives training, travel expenses and membership of the Waste Reduction Volunteer Reward Scheme and in return will be asked to participate in a number of local events and projects, throughout the year, choosing from a range of activities such as, delivering talks, supporting their local schools, attending large events and shows, holding workshops and demonstrations.

If you think you have what it takes to become part of our friendly, enthusiastic team please contact the Waste Reduction Volunteer Coordinator on 0300 123 8 123 for an application form or apply online.

Would you like one of our Waste Reduction Volunteers to give a talk to your group or attend your event?

Our volunteers are happy to give talks about home composting or Love Food Hate Waste or attend local events. If you would like to invite our volunteers to an event you are arranging then please contact the Waste Reduction Volunteer Project Coordinator on 0300 123 8 123 or email