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Revealed: 9 ways to save money and the planet this Christmas

Find out how to make your Christmas cheaper this year

UK households generate 30% more waste over the Christmas period, new data from Wrap shows. That’s enough to power the TVs of every household in Leeds and Doncaster for a year. 

The festive period is often an exceptionally busy and stressful time of year, so keeping track of the things you throw away can seem like an arduous task. But there several ways to help the environment and also pocket some extra cash too.

Here, we reveal nine simple ways to save on waste this year and cut the cost of your Christmas spending, too.


1) Only buy the food you need

Christmas is usually the time that we all indulge a little when it comes to food, however, it can also be the source of a tremendous amount of waste.

Approximately 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 17.2 million Brussel sprouts are thrown out each year during the festive period.

Planning your meals and buying loose food that doesn’t come in plastic packaging can help you cut down on your food bill and carbon footprint, too.

You could also save money by using food apps such as Too Good to Go and Karma that allow you to buy food surplus from restaurants that would otherwise be thrown away after closing, at a discount.

2) Repurpose your Christmas cards

Around 1 billion Christmas cards end up in the bin each year, but you could make a saving during the festive period by reusing them.

While simply changing the name in a Christmas card might get a few raised eyebrows, getting crafty and turning your cards into things like gift tags could help you cut costs and recycle, too.

And depending on the design of your card, they could also be used for birthdays and other celebrations during the year.

If you or anyone in your family is particularly arty, Christmas cards can make great material for projects like collaging as well.

3) Rethink your gift wrap

We throw away 277,000 miles of wrapping paper every year, which is enough to stretch to the moon – 238,855 miles away.

Not all wrapping paper can be recycled though because it may contain non-recyclable materials like glitter and foil.

Using old newspaper or magazine cuttings can help you save on wrapping paper while also reducing your paper waste too.

As well as giving your gifts a rustic look, it could also help you add a personal touch to your presents if you use relevant stories or magazine clippings for the recipient. It’ll also be easier to recycle the paper afterwards.

4) BYOB (bring your own bag)

Around 13 billion plastic carrier bags are used in the UK every year.

So whether you’re hitting the supermarket or heading to the high street; making sure you keep reusable bags can help you save money and the environment.

While the odd 5p here and 10p there for bags may not seem like much, the costs do stack up and can add an unnecessary sum to your shopping expenses.

5) Recycle clothes for cash

A staggering £140m worth of clothing ends up in landfills each year.

Simply recycling your unused and unwanted clothes can help you save on waste and make some extra cash.

Online marketplaces such as eBay can be a great way of making some money from old clothes, rather than just throwing them out.

And companies including John Lewis, M&S, H&M and Nike have schemes in which they’ll buy back your unwanted clothes.

6) Recycle electronics for cash

The UK produces 1.3 million tonnes of electronic waste each year, which includes mobile phones, laptops and TVs.

Instead of throwing yours out, you could make some money this Christmas by cashing them in.

If you don’t have time to sell your items yourself, companies such as MusicMagpie allow you to send in your old and unwanted electronics for an agreed cash amount.

7) Recycle cans for cash

Not only does recycling aluminium cans help the environment, but it can also be used to raise money.

Think Cans, a project by global aluminium producer and recycler Novelis, allows you to get in touch with companies that purchase scrap metal to use in their recycling process.

While the amount you will be paid will vary depending on the company, the current average price paid for aluminium cans is around 40p-50p per kg.

8) Make your own Christmas decorations

Making your own Christmas decorations is a fun a creative way to add a unique touch to your home this year.

Not only will this save you money on buying ornaments, but you’ll also be able to put old materials such as string, ribbons and card to use rather than just throwing them out.

You could also go natural this year and try foraging for pine cones, fir branches, holly and even mistletoe to give your decorations a festive feel.

9) Recycle jam jars, wine corks and more for cash

A staggering 13,350 tonnes of glass is thrown out in the UK after Christmas each year, including things like jars and ramekin dishes.

Did you know that you could cash in these items, as well as other things such as wine corks?

Your Christmas trash may well be someone else’s treasure; jam jars and glass dessert ramekin dishes are often sought after online.

Below are some examples of how much you could make:

Item Amount Sold price
Wine corks 50 £8.90
Jam jars 6 £14
Champagne and Prosecco Corks 50 £5.99
Glass dessert ramekins 12 £7.50
Completed sales on eBay correct as of 4/12/2018 (rounded to the nearest £)

Check out our saving money guide for more money-saving tips.

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