A Quick Guide To Christmas Recycling
After all the presents are unwrapped, Christmas often leaves us with a lot of rubbish and packaging to get rid of. It’s estimated that over the Christmas period Brits will bin the equivalent of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper, 40 million rolls of tape and 100 million bin bags full of packaging from gifts and toys. Much of this rubbish either ends up in landfill or being incinerated. With a few tips, you can help to reduce the amount of rubbish that is thrown away this by doing some christmas recycling.
Although mainly made from paper, wrapping paper can be trickier than we think to recycle and can sometimes be problematic for the Christmas recycling as it can be laminated, contain glitter, foil and plastics or contain too few good fibres to be recycled. Other than visually checking for any lamination or sparkly additives you can also do the ‘scrunch test’ to check if it is recyclable. Scrunch the paper into a ball, if it stays scrunched it indicates that it can likely be recycled. If it starts to spring back into its’s original shape it indicates that it may be laminated with plastic and cannot be recycled. Regardless of the scrunch test though, high amounts of glitter and foil will also mean it can’t be recycled. The most recyclable wrapping papers are the ones that still have a natural paper feel to them. Alternatively, if the wrapping paper is in good condition you can give it an extra life by reusing it for other presents and gifts in the future.
Similarly, to wrapping paper, Christmas cards often contain foils, plastics and glitter amongst other materials that can contaminate other materials in the recycling process. To make sure as much goes in the recycling as possible though, try and cut off any areas that contain these other materials and dispose of what you can in the recycling. Alternatively, if you’re feeling a bit craftier you can save them for the future and make gift tags for other gifts.
Many of the gift bags used at Christmas are laminated so can’t be recycled. However, they are one of the best items of Christmas packaging to reuse as they easily fold back down into their flat-pack form for easy storage and will hold their structure well when they are brought out again. They also don’t see as much damage done to them by tape compared to wrapping paper, so they are likely to be in good condition the next year around. If they aren’t laminated however, you can still reuse them, but you can also recycle them or even compost them providing they don’t have any other additional materials in them.
With a little extra thought, you and others can help to reduce the amount of packaging that ends up going to waste and help to improve your Christmas recycling. If you would like more information on how you can reduce your impact on the environment check out our other blogs on re-using and recycling postal packaging and reducing the use of plastic in your packaging.