Waste isn’t just for Christmas – what your business can do in January

January is here, and your building’s Christmas decorations will either have been taken down and safely put into storage or securely disposed of. If this task has already been taken care of, then you may think that you no longer need to worry about the festive season – for another few months at least! However, with Christmas causing both business and consumers to produce 30% more waste, you should still be concerned with counteracting the effect this waste is having on the environment. Additionally, if your company still has festive waste that needs to be cleared from your premises, then you should now be ensuring that this is done in an eco-friendly way.

Waste ending up in landfill (where it releases greenhouses gases into our atmosphere for many years), is damaging the health of our planet and its inhabitants. it raises the Earth’s temperature, contributing to more and more natural disasters; many of which have a devastating effect. Trees also provide a home for various species, and remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air we breathe.

As we move into 2024, it’s time to adopt better waste management practices to try and counter the effects of the Christmas waste increase. Learn more about what your business can do in January to improve the way it tackles waste. 

How businesses can reduce waste from Christmas

According to statistics, a total of 6 million real Christmas trees are said to be discarded every year, and The Carbon Trust estimates that an average 2-metre high tree has a carbon footprint of 16kg of carbon dioxide when it’s sent to landfill. If you favour a real tree, then you should get it recycled. This typically involves shredding the tree, with the chippings being used in local parks and woodland areas.

Take a more sustainable approach with your tree

One of the most significant causes of Christmas waste starts with trees. In the UK, nearly 7 million real Christmas trees are sold each year. And while there are some benefits to having a real Christmas tree versus an artificial one, the impact of having a real tree can still be significant for the environment. The majority of trees are discarded every year, and The Carbon Trust estimates that an average 2-metre high tree has a carbon footprint of 16kg of carbon dioxide when it’s sent to landfill – at a cost of £22 million a year, according to the UK government.

The government recommends that Christmas trees are recycled, or that ones with the roots attached can be replanted. You can also break down your tree to compost it.

For artificial trees, consider using them as much as possible. An artificial tree can offset its carbon footprint from manufacture and transport after 10 uses, but as the average tree is only used four times, you should aim to use yours for longer to help limit its impact on the environment.

You could also consider using a tree rental service. Millions of trees are discarded each year, renting a tree can significantly reduce waste. Exploring alternative options like tree rental allows your business to participate in reducing the environmental strain caused each year due to Christmas waste. With commercial Christmas tree hire, you can benefit from having someone else do the hard work by decorating the tree on your behalf, and then taking it all back down when the festive season is over. phs Greenleaf supplies Christmas trees all over the UK, for companies including Boots and Fuller’s. Contact phs Greenleaf to learn more about our Christmas services

Recycle your Christmas décor

If you want to clear up some space in your building’s storage by getting rid of your unwanted Christmas decorations, it’s important to know what can and can’t be recycled. Wreaths constructed from natural materials (as long as they’re not covered in an excessive amount of glitter) can be recycled, as well as Christmas tree lights. However, tinsel, and plastic and glass baubles typically can’t be recycled. Instead of throwing these away, donate them to a charity shop.

Take care of plastic and cardboard waste

If you have any plastic, paper and cardboard Christmas waste remaining, this should also be reused or recycled. Investing in a waste baler can make this process easier and quicker as it segregates different materials ready to be recycled. A waste baler can even provide your business with an additional revenue stream as segregated recyclable materials can be sold to recycling companies.

To reduce your paper waste this Christmas, send festive marketing communications through email or advertise them online. if possible, you should keep your festive signage from last year and reuse it this year; especially if your promotions and festive colour scheme are likely to be repeated.

Tackle your food waste

Food waste is another significant problem during the festive period. Councils are urging residents to avoid adding to food waste amounts and ensure that they use their food waste bins as much as possible. Businesses can also ensure they dispose of food waste properly and encourage their customers to do the same. Meal planning and freezing food can people cut back on food waste, while also helping to manage food budgets.

Improving your waste management practices in 2024

A new year can signal a fresh start for your business, and a good time to reassess your waste management tactics. Looking ahead to this year, some of the things you can do to cut down on your waste include:

- Invest in a waste baler to help you reduce your overall waste volume and recycle your waste more effectively. There are cardboard and plastic balers available, while multi-chamber balers can be ideal for streamlining operations and saving space.

- Revise your sustainability strategy to add further measures and targets to help you boost your efforts, as well as reaffirm your commitment to your employees and your customers.

- Commit to reducing plastic use and swapping to more sustainable materials.

- Source more sustainable suppliers for your business, ensuring they align with your own goals for reducing your waste production and consumption.

- As you prepare for next year’s festive period, consider how you can do things more sustainably. Could you reuse items from last year? Could you commit to electronic greetings and gifts versus physical ones?

The measures you take can have a big impact on how much waste your business produces throughout the year, as well as over the Christmas period.  

What else can you do to reduce your carbon footprint?

Even if your business’s festive decorations and signage have already been taken care of, January is the perfect time to get new procedures in place to ensure you reduce your environmental impact in 2024. You should be educating your employees on the impact of waste and the importance of recycling, and making it easier for them (and any visitors to your building) to do so. This could involve ensuring your building has recycling bins that are clearly sign-posted throughout the premises. These should also be labelled to ensure the right waste materials are placed in each one.

For supermarkets and other retailers, switching to recycled packaging or opting for zero packaging for as many products as possible can also make a big difference to your environmental impact.

For more information on how phs Wastekit can help you reduce your business waste all-year-round and not just at Christmas, call us on 0800 169 3534 or request a free Wastesaving Audit.

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