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Waste minister Jo Churchill, who became a grandmother in 2021, has urged Britons to make “simple changes to protect the planet”. She said: “We waste 4.5 million tonnes of edible food in the UK every year – enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall 90 times over. “But aside from using our leftovers, it’s easy to recycle your real Christmas trees as well as donat-ing unwanted clothes or gifts to charity shops or recycling banks.”

Ms Churchill, 57, noted that around 300,000 tonnes of cardboard is used in British homes at Christmas, as she urged people to cut down on excess packaging.

She said: “I also try to buy from local markets and shops wherever possible, as this avoids the ‘unseen’ plastic in the supply chain.”

The Environment Agency told how around 277,000 miles of wrapping paper was sent to landfill in 2018 – enough to reach around the earth about 11 times.

Concern about the environment is now at a record high in Britain, while 64 per cent of adults told the World Wide Fund for Nature they want to be more “environmentally friendly” this year.

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Jo Churchill comments

Christmas will be extra special for me this year – it is my first as a grandmother.

It’s made me think about leaving our planet in a better state than we found it.

It’s why I am supporting the Express’s Green Britain campaign. I know that readers will want to celebrate Christmas in a way which also celebrates the environment.

You can freeze food for up to three months. To prolong the shelf life of your vegetables, keep them in a dark, dry place.

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I will choose presents made from less plastic packaging and avoid wrapping paper that is laminated or made of plastic.

Real Christmas trees can be recycled and don’t forget to donate unwanted presents.

For the generations to come, let’s make simple changes that ensure we all have our greenest Christmas yet.

• Jo Churchill is Waste and Resources Minister

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