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Published 06 December 2017

Residents of West Dunbartonshire are being encouraged to prepare properly for a waste-free Christmas.

The festive period is a time of giving, sharing, indulging and relaxing – but it also sees a huge rise in waste and a surge in the amount of energy used. It is estimated that three million tonnes of waste is generated across the UK over the festive holiday season, and much of that is avoidable.

Food waste, unwanted gifts, wrapping paper and packaging all contribute to this massive increase in waste, and Zero Waste Scotland – the agency set up with the aim of creating a Scotland where everything has value and nothing is wasted – offers a range of tips to help households cut out waste and save energy at Christmas.

The guidance can be found online at and some of the highlights are:

  • Make memories: Go for an experience – like gig tickets, a fancy meal out, a hot air balloon trip or spa day – rather than material things for an unforgettable gift
  • Add a personal touch: Tailor your wrapping paper by personality and give your gifts some flair. Wrap your fashionable friend’s gift using an old copy of Vogue, for example, or re-use old comics to wrap kids’ Christmas presents
  • Make things last: Cut down on paper waste by sending e-cards or buying cards made from recycled paper
  • Pay it forward: Received a gift you don’t need but don’t want to ask for the receipt? Return it for an exchange, re-gift it if someone else would love it, sell it online or feel great and donate it to charity
  • Be green: Opt for solar power outdoor lights where possible and remember to turn your Christmas lights off when you’re out or in bed

West Dunbartonshire Council offers a wide range of recycling options, so even if you need to throw something away, it should never go to waste. Brown bins accept all kind of food waste and the Council has recently made it easier for residents to request new liners for their food waste caddies. When you get down to your last few liners, simply tie one to the handle of your brown bin and the waste collectors will know to leave you a new roll.

Blue bins take plastic bottles, tubs and trays, (as long as they’re not black), paper (including Christmas paper but not the foil type), food and drink cans, and cardboard and cartons. Remember to rinse out containers, which keeps bins clean and makes items easier to recycle.

Glass can be taken to one of the many glass collection points in each area, while real Christmas trees can be taken to a recycling centre or left next to your brown bin for kerbside collection.

Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration & Economic Development, said: “We are all looking forward to a wonderful Christmas break with our nearest and dearest, but we would like to ask residents to pay special attention to the amount of waste they generate this year. The Council tries to make it as easy as possible for residents to do the right thing when it comes to recycling and there are also smart steps you can take to reduce the amount of energy you use. With a little bit of effort, we can all make a real impact on waste. I wish all our residents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when it comes.”

Councillor Diane Docherty, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration & Economic Development, added: “Currently, West Dunbartonshire has a recycling rate of about 47%, which is not bad. But we are working very hard to improve that and if we as residents can all make an extra effort at Christmas, that would be a very good start.”

Over the Christmas and New Year period, there will be temporary changes to waste and recycling collections to account for public holidays. Instead of Monday, December 25, and Tuesday, December 26, uplifts will take place on Saturday, December 23 and Sunday, December 24, respectively. And instead of Monday, January 1, and Tuesday, January 2, uplifts will be carried out on Saturday, December 30, and Sunday, December 31, respectively. Normal waste and recycling collection will resume from Monday, January 8, 2018.