ANDYou have greened your Christmas tree and planned your festive menu so that as little food as possible is wasted. Now you just need to make sure other holiday paraphernalia isn’t just added to the landfill.
A frequently cited statistic is that every Christmas, as much as 227,000 miles of wrapping paper ends up in UK rubbish bins. Another is that the amount of wrapping paper thrown away over the festive period in the UK alone would stretch to the moon.
But the good news is that when it comes to green options, there are now plenty of options. Many retailers, from John Lewis to Wilko, say they have made their wrapping paper recyclable. What’s the bet that Boris Johnson will go to Wilko to pick up some of his Peppa Pig Christmas wrapping paper (£ 2 for a 4 meter roll)?
Online you will find specialist companies like Re-wrap (rewrapped.co.uk), who say they only use 100% recycled unbleached materials and vegan-friendly vegetable inks, adding that all of their products are biodegradable and compostable and can be recycled.
The RSPB I have a name verification at Country Life for their recyclable wrapping paper options. The Nature Conservation Charity Christmas wrapping paper it is recyclable, made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and this year from recycled paper printed with water-based inks.
But before you go out and buy new paper, “make sure all last year’s leftovers and gift bags are reused,” says a spokesperson for the website NetVoucherCodes.co.uk. Some people will have clung to old bags or wrapping paper to give them another outlet later this month.
Alternatively, newspaper and brown paper are easy to recycle and natural twine is much better than duct tape. Another option is to use fabric. Interest in furoshiki, traditional Japanese fabrics used to wrap or transport goods, has grown in recent years. They’re eye-catching and reusable, and websites like Etsy offer different furoshiki options to suit all budgets. YouTube has video tutorials on gift wrapping in fabric.
Recycle now, England’s National Recycling Campaign, says that some municipalities will accept gift wrap in home recycling collection schemes, but others will not accept it, as some recycled paper mills do not accept it. Therefore, check with your local authority before putting it in the wrong container.
Wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated, or contains non-paper additives, such as glitter, that cannot be recycled. Meanwhile, some wrapping papers are very thin and don’t contain enough good-quality fibers for recycling, Recycle Now says. Before attempting to recycle it, remove any tape and decorations.
There seems to be a growing trend to use “biodegradable” glitter wrapping paper, although this is a controversial area. A study published by academics at Anglia Ruskin University in October 2020 found that biodegradable alternatives “they are not better for the environmentThan the traditional glitter, but the company behind Bioglitter, which is used in gift wrap sold by companies like WH Smith, hit the finds and said their product was not used in the study.
Arguably the greenest option is to go paperless and send e-cards to your loved ones. Several leading charities, including Friends of the earth and Coat, it will allow you to choose a design, add your message, donate and send.
Some of the greener cards you can get are available from specialist players like ecoLiving (ecoliving.co.uk) and 1 Tree Cards (1treecards.com). In both cases, the company plants a tree for each eco-card sold, plus you receive a packet of forget-me-not seed sticks or a flower seed token that you can plant. This week, the companies’ websites were selling packages of 10 Christmas cards for £ 15 and £ 13.99 respectively.
According to Recycle NowMost Christmas cards are made from paper and can be recycled, along with their envelopes, either in your home collections or at local recycling points. “Any embellishments like ribbons or glitter cannot be recycled, so it must first be removed by simply tearing off that section,” he adds.
But before you recycle, consider whether you can get more out of your cards, advises the charity The Woodland Trust. For example, you can recycle them into decorations or gift tags for next Christmas.
Traditionally these have been one of the most environmentally damaging holiday purchases, with a slew of single-use plastic tattoos going to the landfill and when the yanking and bumping is over, a stack of paper and packaging with the to deal with.
However, many UK retailers have stopped selling biscuits containing plastic toys, got rid of the glitter that can make recycling waste a challenge, and in some cases have even opted to use recycled paper. .
At the end of the budget, Wilko is selling a pack of six children’s cookies, each containing a gift, hat, brooch and slogan, for £ 3. They are recyclable, with plastic-free content and packaging.
Other offerings include Paperchase’s rather eye-catching nutcracker-themed cookies, which cost £ 12 for a box of six. Each contains a joke, a hat, and a festive trivia card. These have no plastic content and are FSC approved.
In the meantime, if you want your guests to get something they really want, be it a sweet treat or something more special, Lakeland offers a luxurious-looking six pack of pretzels to ‘fill your own’ for £ 14.99. Place your chosen little treat on the cookie, add one of the included brooches, hats, and jokes, then fasten with the gold tie. They are made from recyclable cardstock with no glitter.
Another option that is becoming more popular is reusable fabric Christmas cookies, available on sites like Notonthehighstreet and Etsy.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism