Christmas recycling tips: The big Christmas wrapping paper debate is almost upon us! Many of us will be going to extremes to wrap gifts to impress our loved ones, but do we really understand what can and can’t be recycled when it comes to our choice of present coverings? Some councils will accept wrapping paper in their household recycling collection scheme, but others will not, with rules varying from council to council; so our first tip is to check with your local authority.
Christmas recycling tips : After searching high and low for the scissors, tape and tags, having spent several hours wrapping gifts for the festive period, you’ll probably feel a bit deflated on Christmas morning when your living room is littered, floor to ceiling with mounds of colourful, shiny and glittery wrapping paper. But that’s ok, as there will be a mum, dad or a Nan sitting in the corner, with a black bin bag, acting like a basketball hoop for incoming scrunched up balls of gift wrap so that it can all be ‘recycled’ and placed in the appropriate bin.
However, as good as those efforts sound, it is not always as straight-forward as we may think. Some local authorities will accept wrapping paper in home recycling collect, but others will ask for wrapping paper to be taken to the local recycling centre. Some do not collect wrapping paper at all because wrapping paper is not accepted by some recycled paper mills. There are a number of reasons for this.
The materials that go into making some wrapping paper result in it not always being accepted for recycling, in fact sometimes it can’t even be passed as paper:
- Wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated and/or contains non-paper additives such as shiny metallic coloured shapes, glitter, plastics etc which cannot be recycled
- Some wrapping paper is very thin and contains few good quality fibres for recycling
- A lot of wrapping paper will still have sticky tape attached to it which makes it very difficult to recycle.
So, what can we all do to ensure that this year’s Christmas wrapping waste is handled appropriately during the recycle journey:
- Does is pass the scrunch test? A great video on the Recycle Now website shows paper that is recyclable and paper that isn’t by simply scrunching in the palm of your hand.
- Have you removed all traces of sticky tape before it goes into the bin? Banish bows, tags basically anything that contains foil.
- Did you choose your paper wisely? If you are using recyclable paper, then there’s a pretty high chance it will be fine to recycle again.
- Have you checked with your local council to see what their rules are?
Wrapping paper facts:
- In the UK, we send 5 million tonnes of paper to landfill every year.
- In 1995, 11,000 tonnes of wrapping paper were sold in the UK alone.
- On average, it takes 6 mature trees to make a tonne of paper. This means approximately 50,000 trees are used to make the 8,250 tonnes consumed at Christmas (estimated Christmas use = 75% of total).
- To put this into context, 10,000 trees were cut down to make way for the contentious Newbury bypass, and this became a major national issue. But we are wasting 5 times this amount every Christmas.
- Defra estimates that enough paper is used each year to gift-wrap the island of Guernsey. Defra also estimates that last year, 83 sq km of wrapping paper ended up in UK rubbish bins.
- Each year, a forest the size of Wales is required to provide all the paper used in Britain.
It’s a wrap! Now take the scrunch test: https://youtu.be/8PBps0ccvXc