December 20th, 2012

Jingle bins: the best Christmas recycling campaigns

5 minute read

By Emma Gowing and Peter Jones


Christmas wouldn’t be complete these days without an array of seasonal articles and blogs from environmental correspondents highlighting the enormous escalation in waste that our annual tendency to excess brings with it. There’s of course the 100 square kilometres of wrapping paper that will be thrown away, and the 50 million bin bags of food waste.

Improvements in the range of recycling collections offered to many UK households mean that an increasing amount of this material can be recycled. Of course Santa’s arrival and the festive bank holidays create some disruption to normal waste services. A lot of local councils use the opportunity presented by the need to tell residents about Christmas collection dates to reinforce the recycling message. In this article we’ve collected together some of our favourite Christmas-themed recycling campaigns over the last few years from around the UK and beyond – hope you enjoy them, and do let us know if there are any good ones we’ve missed.


Santa Recycle

Santa makes a point about recycling…


There are some indications that the jolly, white-bearded one himself is quite supportive of recycling – but he isn’t yet offering to undertake packaging collections to fulfil his share of producer responsibility. I guess it might be too much for the reindeer. However, he has been prepared to have a change of costume to support recycling in Oxfordshire.


2 - Oxford Green Santa

Santa goes green in Oxfordshire


Guernsey must be one of the few places where the local landfill site seems to be well enough known to get name-checked in the festive recycling ads. In these ads for Sustainable Guernsey, the Mont Cuet site is used to remind islanders of the range of metal items that can be placed in their local tin bins.


3 - Guernsey Christmas

The world’s only singing landfill site?


In West Dorset, the council tried to sway those suffering from “gift fatigue” to leave the local landfill site off their Christmas list– but leaves local landfills such as Trigon Hill and Tatchell’s Pit unnamed.


4 - Christmas_recycling_Dorset

For those who’ve had their landfill of festive spirit…


In London, the borough of Merton has taken more of a minimalist approach to advertising its Christmas tree recycling campaign, but we really like their creative use of the recycling symbol.


5 - Merton xmas-tree-recycling

Merton’s highly symbolic approach


As a brief, cute aside – if you’re trying to think of something both cute and green to adorn your tree (before it finds its way back into the garden or off to be recycled) – why not try some of these pro-recycling chipmunk ornaments?


6 Chipmunk

Rodents for recycling!


In Tameside all twelve days of Christmas get the recycling treatment to remind residents of the wide range of materials that can now be recycled.


7 - Tameside

Carol on recycling


There comes a time during every Christmas where someone resorts to a pun about stuffing, and thankfully the good people of Down District Council in Northern Ireland have taken on the challenge on behalf of local authority waste collectors.


8 - Down stuffed

…but don’t get the two mixed up


It seems the same bin – we think originally belonging to WRAP – has found its way across the Atlantic to the City of Annapolis, where rather incongruously it features in on their Christmas tree recycling web page.


9 - Annapolis

Bins across the ocean


Staying in the US, it seems that the spirit of private enterprise can sit happily alongside a Christmas recycling message. We all know the disappointment that comes from bringing your old Christmas tree lights out after a year in storage and finding that they’ve packed in. What do you do with them? The Morris Tick Recycling Centre may be able to help – so long as you live near Bloomington Illinois.


10 - Morris Tick

Light relief is at hand


As far afield as the Philippines you can find Christmas recycling campaigns going on. Frankly too few campaigners these days make such creative use of tableaux…


11 - Manila Toxic Christmas

Manila wishes you a toxin-free Yule


This campaign appears pretty standard “reduce, reuse, recycle” fare, but as indicated in the news story from which this picture was taken, the group Eco Waste Coalition is also campaigning against presents containing toxins, such as mugs containing lead. We don’t think we’ll be accepting a cup of tea in Manila any time soon.

Our overall favourite, however, comes from much closer to home in Cheshire, where the people of Warrington are being given the recycling message as illuminatingly as possible.


Xmas lights in Warrington

Hard to miss the message


Unfortunately it didn’t go down too well with the local clergy, who saw it as part of a secular agenda to remove overtly Christian symbols, but we understand that, appropriately enough, the council’s intention was to reuse the sign. We just hope that by now the disagreement has died down and this really nice example of a Christmas recycling campaign is no longer creating discord.

With any luck you’ve enjoyed our tour of these creative and interesting Christmas recycling campaigns, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to take even more care than normal to ensure that you reduce, reuse and recycle wherever you can, while you enjoy a very merry Christmas.


Emma Gowing and Peter Jones


Peter Jones




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