Reduce waste this Christmas-  Make the most of recycling


The Highland Council would like to say a big thank you to everyone for continuing to recycle in 2020 despite it being a very challenging year.  Christmas may not be as we had hoped this year, but we would still like everyone to reduce waste where possible, and to reuse and recycle as you go through the festive period.

Zero Waste Scotland has supplied us with the stunning statistic that Scotland will use 19,000 miles of wrapping paper this Christmas. That’s enough to wrap the coast of mainland Scotland more than two and a half times! We’d like to encourage people to find more sustainable alternatives, such as in Japan, where the traditional art of gift-wrapping uses fabric and is known as Furoshiki. This can be used again and again and looks amazing! To reduce waste after Christmas, re-use gift bags, boxes and wrapping paper – just unwrap carefully, remove tape and tags, and keep them to give to different friends or family next year.

Reducing food waste is important all year round but Christmas can be a time when this increases. To avoid Christmas food waste, be prepared. Plan meals over the festive period, create and stick to shopping lists and make room for leftovers in the freezer. Visit for tips on saving money, preventing waste and using up your Christmas leftovers. For unavoidable food waste such as turkey bones, fruit & veg peelings, tea bags and coffee grinds, Inverness residents are reminded to make maximum use of their food waste collection service. If your caddy has gone missing, please get in touch and a new one will be delivered to you.

When buying gifts, if it’s possible, buy from companies that use recycled or paper packaging and then try to reuse this. For those with children, carboard boxes are great toys! If you can’t reuse the packaging, paper and cardboard can go in your blue recycling bin. Empty plastic sweetie tubs and other clean plastic tubs, pots and trays along with Christmas cards, wrapping paper, food tins, drinks cans, envelopes, food and drink cartons, aerosols and clean plastic bottles can all be recycled in your blue bin. Unfortunately, we can’t recycle black plastic food trays, so please keep these out of your blue recycling bin.

Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of The Highland Council’s Communities and Place Committee said: “This has been an exceptionally difficult year and we thank everyone for continuing to do their recycling. Last year, around 41% of the 125,000 tonnes of household waste generated in Highland was recycled. Christmas always generates more waste for us to collect, and we would ask everyone to think about how they can reduce the amount of waste they produce. Food waste can be especially high and increases the amount of waste that goes to landfill. We would like to highlight the importance of being prepared this Christmas and being more conscious to reduce waste where we can.”

Hogmanay is also going to be a very different night for many people, but no matter how you choose to celebrate, please take empty glass bottles and jars to your local bottle bank. The banks are all mixed glass recycling, so you don’t have to segregate your glass when you dispose of it. Household Waste Recycling Centres can be used for recycling your real Christmas tree where it will be used for making compost. Please also remember that if you have excess carboard this is also accepted at Household Waste Recycling Centres.  Other packaging such as plastic wrapping, bubble wrap, polystyrene etc needs to be disposed of in your green refuse bin.

Household Waste Recycling Centres Festive opening times:

Household Waste Recycling Centres are open throughout the Christmas period except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and 1st and 2nd January. Please check for full details of Recycling Centre opening hours and for the current range of materials accepted. Please remember that trailers and vans (under 3.5T) need to book to visit the larger sites and you can do that on this link.

Christmas and New Year Collections:

If your usual collection for recycling or refuse falls on Friday 25 December or Friday 1 January 2021 you will have a different collection day. Please check the sticker on your bin for your alternative collection day. You can also find details on the Highland Council website

Boxing Day refuse and recycling collections remain the same this year.

For further information about recycling in the Highlands visit:, email or call 01349 886603.


3 Dec 2020
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