12 ‘wastes’ of Christmas

The festive season is a great time for celebrating with family and friends. However, all that consumption can leave quite a bit of waste. Here are ways to indulge and still be environmentally thoughtful.


Tip:1 Food glorious food

Don’t waste food scraps – place in a compost bin or worm farm. Your scraps will be back feeding your garden and reducing water use in no time. Compost bins and worm farms make excellent Christmas gifts too!

Some councils allow food scraps in the green organics bin. Ask your council for more information. Freeze seafood and foods with strong odours until the day of your bin collection.


Tip:2 Keep it clean  

Most food and drink packaging, including bottles, jars, cans and tins, cardboard boxes and cartons can be recycled. Don’t forget to cash in cans and bottles with a 10 cent deposit. Give bottles, jars and tins a quick rinse before placing in your recycling bin to ensure these are free from food contamination that may resign them to landfill. The water you use to rinse will be more than made up for in the water saved recycling versus making a new item from raw materials.


Tip:3 Recycling is not numbered

Does the triangular symbol with a number from 1 to 7 in it mean the item is recyclable? No! This is a plastics identification code used by manufacturers to label the type of plastic. Rigid plastic bottles and containers that hold their own shape, including soft drink and milk bottles as well as take-away containers can be recycled in your recycling bin.


Tip:4 Soft plastics create problems at kerbside recycling facilities so never place recyclables in plastic bags.

Simply put all recyclables into the recycling bin loose and soft plastics and bags can be recycled at metropolitan Coles stores or placed in the waste bin.


Tip:5 Lids off

Many lids can be recycled too. Place metal lids inside a steel can, squeeze the top closed so they don’t fall out.


Tip:6 Let’s make it clearer  

Not all glass can go in your recycling bin. Glass bottles and jars are perfect but drinking glasses, oven-proof glass and crockery have to go in the waste bin.


Tip:7 Powered up  

Buy rechargeable batteries and a battery recharger. They are not only a wise environmental choice but save you money too. Other used batteries can often be recycled, but not in your recycling bin. Visit www.recycleright.sa.gov.au for recycling locations near you.


Tip:8 E-Christmas

Got a new TV or electronic item from a loved one? Find recycling locations here: www.recycleright.sa.gov.au


Tip:9 Living Christmas Tree

Once living Christmas trees can be cut into smaller pieces and recycled in your green organics bin. Larger trees can be taken to a waste transfer station which separates organics for composting.


Tip:10 Artificial Christmas Tree

If purchasing an artificial tree, make sure it’s good quality and will last you many festive seasons. At the end of its life place in the waste bin.

Please do not put artificial trees in recycling bins.


Tip:11 The ‘white’ Christmas packaging

Polystyrene foam packaging, even if it has that triangular symbol, is not recyclable through your kerbside bin so put it in your waste bin.


Tip:12 That’s a wrap

Reuse pre-loved wrap, newspaper and bags and tie with a reusable ribbon instead of tape. Paper wrapping, cards and cardboard boxes can be placed in your recycling bin or reused another time.


Unsure about which bin a specific waste item should go? Visit the Recycle Right Search Engine for information specific to your council or call 1300 137 118. You can also find tips on what to do with items that cannot be placed in your kerbside bins, such as oils, e-waste, light globes and household chemicals. Some of these services are free. Visit https://www.recycleright.sa.gov.au/ or call 1300 137 118.