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Image credit: FutureEarth

The festivities are over… so, what happens now? What are we supposed to do with the waste and leftovers that come after a big celebration?

Hopefully, our tips and guides this month have helped cut the waste pile and there isn’t as much as usual – but, sometimes, avoiding it all together just isn’t that easy.

Here are some ways we can make sure we’re dealing with waste in a better way for the planet and other people:

Get creative with food

If there are a lot of food leftovers, there’s no reason for them to go straight into the bin (unless it’s posing a health hazard!).

If you’ve got veggies and grub from the dinner table, get creative and make it last. After all, who wants to be heading back out to the shops again when it’s time to chill out after the festive rush?

Try this bubble and squeak recipe for a tasty brunch, or check out this list of ideas for inspiration to make something a little bit different. From cauliflower dahl to turkey noodles, there’s something for every palette.

Give to charity

It goes without saying that you’ll likely get some gifts that just aren’t really… you. Instead of throwing them away, think about regifting them to someone else who might appreciate them more.

If you’re not sure who to pass it onto, take the opportunity to give to charity, so someone else can make the most out of your unwanted gifts.

Replacing the old with the new

That leads us on nicely to what to do when new gifts replace old things. We may have got some lovely gifts that just make some of our old possessions, such as an old mobile phone, redundant.

Tech waste is a big problem – especially as research suggests this year’s global tech waste will weigh as much as the Great Wall of China – so stopping devices from ending up in the scrap heap is a big must.

Try selling old possessions online for a bit of post-Christmas cash, or give them away to someone in need.

There are also some great online groups, including C.R.A.P. Penwith, GOFA and Kids Clothesline where you can give away old stuff for free to help tackle the waste issue. Check out our signposting page for more

Dispose of the tree in the right way

In our Christmas tree blog, we talked about how composting your tree can actually be really bad for the environment.

Instead, keep your eyes peeled for local groups who might be looking for your unwanted trees to support their dune regeneration initiatives. Conservation group Beach Guardian is already calling for trees to be dropped at Trevisker Garden Centre to support their project at Constantine Bay.

However, it’s also worth noting that Cornwall Council will pick up Christmas trees when the festivities are over (check here for when that will be in your area) and dispose of them for you.

Get the recycling right

Unfortunately, Christmas tends to come with a lot of plastic waste – and not everything is recyclable.

Quick wins are making sure that, if wrapping paper is able to be recycled (lots isn’t, so check first), you take any Sellotape off before popping it in the bag. Make sure any Christmas cards heading for the cardboard box aren’t covered in glitter too.

Don’t forget that, if presents are unwrapped carefully, the paper will keep for future gift giving opportunities, and cards make great tags for next year.

There’s a handy guide on what can and can’t generally be recycled right here.

For more tips on sustainability and managing waste, keep an eye on our social channels (just click for Facebook and Instagram).