By Charlotte


Green Christmas: Festive Recycling Tips

At last - 2020 is drawing to a close. It’s been a pretty dreadful year, and we think it’s safe to say that we’ll all be glad to see the back of it. There’s still Christmas to come, and while it will look a bit different this year, we’re pleased to see that there’s been no shortage of Christmas cheer in our neighbourhood.

Everyone seems to have got their decorations up nice and early, and all the twinkling lights and animated snowmen are really lifting our spirits here at We Shred It HQ.

Christmas is a time of goodwill to all, and that includes the planet as a whole. We’re all hoping for a white Christmas, but let’s make it a green one, too!

Here are some festive recycling tips to help you and your family can celebrate Christmas with minimal environmental impact.

Getting rid of gift wrap and other Christmas trimmings

Christmas cards, crackers, wrapping paper, gift tags, gift bags, envelopes, cardboard delivery boxes… Christmas sure does generate a lot of paper and cardboard waste.

Some things (such as gift bags or boxes) may be reusable, in which case you can save them for next year. Others, such as Christmas cards, you may want to keep for sentimental reasons.

For everything else, you’ll need to work out whether or not it’s recyclable.

It may seem confusing that even if something is made of paper or card, it may not necessarily be recyclable, but it’s because festive things are often jazzed up with glitter or other decorative elements that may mean it’s not suitable for recycling.

For this reason, you’ll need to check items individually to see whether or not they can go in the recycling bin. 

When you’re going through your cards and gift wrap, keep the following in mind:

  • If the wrapping paper has a thin film or foil in it, it’s probably not recyclable
  • Christmas cards with foil details, ribbons or glitter can’t be recycled, but you can tear these details out and recycle the rest
  • Remove the battery from musical cards before putting it in the recycling

If you don’t have a use for big cardboard boxes that your online deliveries arrived in, don’t forget to collapse them before you put them into the recycling bin. 

Shred Christmas shopping receipts

As we talked about in our last post, identity theft is on the rise, and that means it’s important to be extra vigilant about making sure you don’t have any sensitive information lying around or put out into the recycling over the Christmas period.

One potential source of concern is invoices or receipts for your Christmas shopping, some of which may include your name and address (especially if you’ve ordered online).

While you’ll probably want to keep your receipts until after Christmas in case the recipient of one of your gifts wants to exchange something, it’s important to make sure that you shred them when you’re able to do so, and store them securely until then. 

Once they’ve been shredded, they can safely go in the recycling along with your other paper waste.

If you want to make things nice and easy (because who needs yet another job on the To Do list around Christmas?), you can always enlist the help of our home shredding services and let us take care of it for you.

Christmas food waste

We all like to eat a lot of food over Christmas, and inevitably a fair bit of it will go to waste. Food waste apps such as Olio are a great way of distributing unneeded food to those who can take it off your hands, while making use of the food waste bin is a good way to ensure your food isn’t ending up in landfill.

Just make sure you only put food in the food waste caddy - don’t let any stray wrappers or other packaging end up in there. 

We’re sure you don’t need us to tell you that your Christmas food packaging can be handled in the same way as you do with your food packaging the rest of the year.

Of course, there may be a few extra bottles at this time of year, so just make sure you give them a quick rinse inside before you put them in the recycling.

Disposing of your Christmas tree

If you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy the sight and smell of a real Christmas tree this year, you might be wondering how best to get rid of it once the festive season is over.

One option is to plant it out into your garden and keep it alive for reuse next year, but if that’s not possible, your best bet is to look up Christmas tree recycling schemes near you.

Christmas trees can be used for making wood chips for use in local parks and nature trails. Many local councils run schemes that allow you to drop off your Christmas tree, while others may even offer a collection service.

Of course, if you have a fake Christmas tree that you’re wanting to get rid of, the procedure is a little different. Unfortunately, artificial trees are typically made from a range of materials and this means they’re not recyclable.

If your artificial tree has outstayed its welcome in your home, why not give it to a charity shop instead of consigning it to the dustbin or tip?

Replacing old gadgets

Finally, if you’ve received a new gadget for Christmas and it replaces an old one, don’t just chuck the old one in the bin.

If there’s still life left in it, a charity shop is a much better destination for it than landfill - and if not, taking it to the dedicated electric appliances section of your local recycling centre will ensure it’s dealt with in an environmentally responsible way.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and here’s to a much better year in 2021!

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