According to latest research, Britain throws out around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper over the festive season.
One of the major problems with Christmas wrapping paper is that large amounts of it cannot be easily recycled due to high plastic, glitter and foil content. This being the case, it is recommended that families think green when making their choice, and go for wrapping that is 100% paper and therefore easy to recycle.
One of the most common mistakes recyclers find in the blue bins at this time of year is gift wrap, much of the glossy or laminated gift wrap that’s popular around Christmas can’t be recycled; neither can many of the ribbons, especially those with wire mesh.
If you have decided to do all your Christmas shopping online this year, don’t forget that most cardboard boxes are high-value recyclables. The only downfall is that the sheer volume of them means they often overflow the recycling bins and end up in the trash.
If you receive gifts by mail this year, break down the cardboard boxes to save space and make sure they end up in the recycling pile.
If you are having a party and decided to skip the washing up, remember, soiled paper cups, plates and napkins aren’t recyclable. The same goes for most plastic food ware, which is usually made of mixed or low-grade plastics, with the exception of some plastic cups. (Look for the resin symbol and check it against your local guidelines to find out if yours are recyclable in your area).
Many people associate the three angles forming a triangle with the three tenets of the circular economy: reduce, reuse and recycle. But if that symbol appears on a plastic item, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s recyclable.
Objects made up of two types of plastics that can’t easily be separated also aren’t recyclable – even if it says “please recycle.” The same goes for items made of multiple materials besides plastics.
A large rideable toy car, for example, might have recyclable plastic in it, but if the plastic’s attached to metal parts, wires, batteries or other materials, it isn’t recyclable unless the car is disassembled.
If the materials can’t be separated easily, it’s better to donate the toy – if it’s working – or to throw it in the garbage than to toss it in the recycling bin as is.
The amount of wrapping paper thrown away at Christmas in the UK alone would stretch to the moon, according to estimates by recycling advisors WRAP. This, along with around one billion cards and enough tin foil to cover Suffolk, equates to a lot of rubbish generated over the festive period.
Recycling this waste not only saves money but reduces carbon emissions too. For example if every additional wine and sherry bottle, mincemeat and cranberry sauce jar were recycled, London could save an estimated 630 tonnes of carbon, the equivalent to taking 195 cars off the road for a year. In addition by Twelfth Night, Londoners will be ready to discard an estimated one million Christmas trees and 75 tonnes of Christmas tree lights.
Christmas is a time when rubbish levels rise dramatically- and everyone is being urged to recycle as much as possible. Make sure extra waste does not go to landfill
Still have recycling questions? Comment below and we can get back to you!
Most importantly, Merry Christmas, from all at GPT Waste.