Greenock and Inverclyde MSP is urging Scots to reduce their festive waste

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan is urging Scots to be less wasteful this Christmas – both for the environment’s and our bank account’s sakes.

According to Zero Waste Scotland figures from 2016, Scots typically send more than 95 million Christmas cards which is enough to fill 13,000 wheelie bins. Meanwhile around 19,000 miles of wrapping paper will be used across the country – enough to wrap the coast of mainland Scotland more than two and a half times.

That’s not even including food waste. It’s expected that more than 50,000 tonnes of food and drink will be binned in Scotland during the festive season. This equates to 700,000 wheelie bins.

Therefore, SNP MSP Stuart McMillan is urging Scots to be more waste-conscious this Christmas by taking into account simple considerations when doing their shopping – planning ahead about what to buy and thinking about how best to utilise leftovers, and considering whether the cards and gift wrapping we buy can be recycled or reused.

Mr McMillan said: “Christmas is a wonderful time of year but unfortunately that merry feeling can cause us to overspend on food, especially when it comes to multi-buy deals. Planning ahead and sticking to shopping lists will help families not only save money over the festive season – which I’m sure everyone looks to do – but also reduce Scotland’s food waste.

“We often get carried away too with gift-giving and present wrapping, the latter of which can’t always be recycled despite our best efforts. Cellophane and glitter-coated wrapping paper cannot be recycled, and putting glitter-covered paper in your blue bin can in fact contaminate other recyclable items.

“I therefore encourage my constituents in Greenock and Inverclyde to carefully consider how much wrapping paper they use this Christmas, and whether or not the cards and gift-wrap they purchase is recyclable. If it’s not, then ensure it goes in the correct bin to avoid jeopardising other items recyclability.”

Zero Waste Scotland claim that Scots could collectively save £90 million by not wasting food this festive season, amounting to £38 per household. For advice on how to make the most of your leftovers, check out Zero Waste Scotland’s website.

Mr McMillan is also encouraging people to get creative when it comes to gift-giving this year, especially since research carried out by Zero Waste Scotland in 2016 indicated that four in five Scots would be happy to receive a pre-loved gift at Christmas. Despite this, less than two thirds of those asked said they would be unlikely to buy one for someone else.

Another way to reduce gift wrapping waste, or avoid buying material gifts that will go unused, is by purchasing ‘experiences’ as gifts – such as concert tickets, spa days, a fancy meal out etc. For more tips on how to have a waste-free Christmas this year, check out Zero Waste Scotland’s website.

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