Find out about how to reduce your waste by recycling this Christmas.
It's Christmas morning and half the fun of unwrapping those neatly wrapped, carefully labelled presents under the tree is tearing the paper off. But what happens to all that paper when the festivities are over? Hopefully the recycling bin, as the amount of wrapping paper thrown away in the UK alone at Christmas could stretch all the way to the moon, according to WRAP.
Add to that the fact that if every Christmas tree bought in the UK this year was put end to end, they would reach New York and then back again, and you are well on the way to an around-the-world trip! Local councils often arrange special collections of real Christmas trees in early January and the dates of these collections may be advertised on their websites. Next time you are at the local park or woodland you may spot your old tree, as they are usually shredded into chippings and used locally. 8 million Christmas trees are bought every year so imagine the space this would take up in landfill if these were just thrown away.
Remember there could be changes to refuge collections over the Christmas period, so recycle all waste carefully to avoid an over-full bin! However, you should be cautious about recycling wrapping paper because, due to the materials that go into making some types, it’s not always accepted for recycling. Dyes and additives such as gold and silver coloured shapes, glitter and plastic result in some paper mills not taking wrapping paper to be recycled, so check local requirements first. Why not reuse old wrapping paper and cards to make tags for presents next year?
Another item that can be recycled is Christmas cards, with millions of cards being recycled over the years, especially by charities. This year Marks and Spencer are continuing their popular card recycling scheme that began in 2012. For every 1000 cards recycled the company will plant a tree in the UK, simply drop your cards into one of the boxes in your local store between 2nd and 31st January.
Don’t forget all that leftover festive food that was bought in a panic in case the neighbours descended on you in their droves. A food compost bin is a useful addition to any kitchen and saves food waste, such as vegetable peelings, from landfill. Alternatively, there are many clever ways of reusing Christmas food leftovers, such as in soups, sandwiches and other dishes.
If you plan on getting a little merry over the festive period, glass and plastic bottles are easily recycled in your household recycling bin. Around 13,350 tonnes of glass is thrown away throughout Christmas and recycling this glass could save 4,200 tonnes of CO2. This is the same as taking about 1,300 cars off the road! How about saving empty mincemeat jars from the mince pie making for any homemade jams, for storage or to give them to local community art groups?
Electrical items tend to be chucked away as we receive brand new, sparkly gadgets that mean our old ones become redundant at Christmas time. It’s important that these are recycled and this website will tell you exactly where this can be done in your local area by typing in your postcode.
So, as you can see, the festive season produces a massive amount of waste - 30% more than normal in fact. But if you follow the above tips, you can easily recycle most of that. So make sure you aren’t a recycling Scrooge and have a green Christmas!