During the Christmas period, we can expect to see a significant increase in overall waste and an increase in fly-tipping of around 13%*.

Of course, this is to be expected as gifts are exchanged and presents unwrapped – and whilst small recyclable items can be easily disposed of, getting rid of larger items like old furniture and white goods may leave you scratching your head.

Fly-tippers know this and will exploit it to their advantage by offering to remove your old items for cheap, cash-in-hand – especially during the Christmas season.

We don’t want your hard-earned cash getting into the hands of these criminals: make sure you follow your legal Duty of Care to dispose of your items with registered waste carriers, because if your household waste is found fly-tipped - even if you paid to have it removed - you could face a fine.

Make sure your Christmas doesn’t become even more expensive by avoiding a £300 fine that can be issued if your household waste is found fly-tipped, read our advice below.

Use a registered waste carrier

First, you should check if your local authority offers a bulky item collection service or whether you can take items yourself to your local tip free of charge.

Large unwanted household items, like furniture or TVs, can also be disposed of safely, responsibly, and legally via a registered waste carrier.

These carriers hold licenses which can be viewed on the Natural Resources Wales Public Register, and will remove your old sofas, fridges, coffee tables, or other bulky household items in a legal and safe manner.

When searching for a household waste removal service, remember:

·         Check the carrier is listed on the Public Register and record their registration number; the number will begin with CBDU followed by six digits.

·         Keep a receipt which includes a description of the waste and the company used;

·         Record details of the business or vehicle (registration, make, model, colour).

Be cautious if somebody is offering to dispose of your waste for cash in hand. Fly-tippers are deceitful and will often do this to avoid detection – but you’ll end up paying twice if your waste is found to be fly-tipped.

Recycle or replant your tree

Perhaps the biggest item you’ll be trying to get rid of is the Christmas tree. It may seem sad to know your tree has been chopped down to spend a month in your home just to get thrown into landfill…

But good news – your tree is not destined to decay if you choose to replant or recycle.

If your Christmas tree still has its roots attached, it’s relatively easy to replant it to use for many more years.

Alternatively, if you have a particularly large tree and don’t fancy growing a small forest in your garden, you can easily recycle your old tree by arranging for your local council to collect it. Be sure to check the details on your council’s website.

Recycled trees have a variety of beneficial applications, such as:

·         Mulch for landscaping and gardening

·         Powering renewable biofuel plants

·         Flood barriers across the UK

Recycle cards and packaging

Lots of people in Wales report feeling confused about what they can and can’t recycle but don’t fret: recycling and reusing Christmas packaging, cards, and other bits and bobs can be relatively simple.

For cards and wrapping paper you receive, if it isn’t shiny or glossy, and it’s glitter-free, it’s usually recyclable. If you’re unsure about the wrapping paper, scrunch it into a ball – if it keeps its shape, it can be recycled. When buying wrapping paper, why not buy fully recyclable paper or brown parcel paper?

Crackers made from simple card can also be recycled after removing the decorations and contents.

If your cards or wrapping paper can’t be recycled, make sure you collect them and only place it on the curb on your council’s waste collection day.

Visit Wales recycles for more general information on what can be recycled in your area.

Regift or donate unwanted presents

If you’ve had to keep a brave face when opening certain presents this year, all is well. You can still make the most out of those awkward encounters by regifting any unwanted presents – consider donating them to charities, by taking them to charity collection points or shops, but only when the shop is open. 

Loads of Wales-based charities are accepting CDs, dolls, teddies, books, clothing, makeup and toiletries. Just be sure to check their websites beforehand regarding what donations they can and can’t accept.

Read more about your Duty to Care on our website here.

See Welsh Governments Wales Recycles 12 Days of Christmas Recycling Tips here.