Northern Ireland Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has appealed for the public to help reduce and recycle waste produced over the Christmas holidays.
The Department Of The Environment said 1bn Christmas cards are sent during the festive period across the UK, while an extra 30 percent of glass, cans, Christmas trees, cards, wrapping paper, plastic and food waste are produced.
Mark H Durkan said: “At this time of the year it is tempting to over-indulge and create a small mountain of waste in the home, especially food waste. I know I can be as guilty of this as the next person, but with a little thought and a few simple changes, we can all do our bit to help the environment as well as saving a few extra pounds – in the purse and on the waist!
“Often Christmas gifts and cooking do create more packaging and food waste than at other times of the year, so take the time to use your recycling bins and visit your local council recycling centre.”
The DoE has issued a list of ways in which Christmas waste can be reduced:
reuse your old carrier bags – take carrier bags and re-usable shopping bags with you when you go to the shops and if you have to buy bags during the festive season, keep them handy to re-use in future
donate unwanted gifts to charity – make room for new presents and take used or unwanted toys, clothes and other gifts to local charity shops
use rechargeable batteries – save money and help reducing the millions of batteries used each year that could end up in landfill. Make sure disposable batteries are recycled
recycle! Check with your local council on what can be recycled in your local area, and make best use of your kerbside recycling, bring banks and recycling centres. Items such as Christmas cards and envelopes, newspapers and magazines, cardboard, cereal boxes, cartons, plastic bags, tubs, trays and bottles, drink and food tins/cans, glass bottles and jars can all get a new life in 2014.
For unavoidable food waste, use your kerbside brown bin or food caddy where local council food waste kerbside collections are provided.