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Eco friendly wrapping: how to minimise waste this Christmas

In the UK alone, Brits dispose of an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper every year at Christmas, according to waste management company Biffa. That is enough to wrap the whole Earth more than eight times and on Christmas day, we consume enough box packaging to cover Big Ben nearly 260,000 times!

However, with all our online shopping and the overwrapping on the big day – it can be hard to know what and how to recycle Christmas wrapping paper, cards and boxes. So, Beauty Daily by Clarins has put together these helpful tips on how to be more eco friendly this festive season and beyond.

Is Christmas wrapping paper recyclable?

You might think all Christmas wrapping paper gets recycled. However, this is only sometimes the case. Even though it is branded as ‘paper,’ Christmas wrapping often contains much more than simple paper.

Always check their make up. Some are dyed, laminated, and contain non paper additives such as glitter, plastics and more. Unfortunately, these can’t be recycled because they are made with microplastics and will have to go to landfill. So, try to avoid this when choosing your seasonal wrapping.

The same goes with Christmas boxes and tags; if it has shine, they can’t usually be recycled. So, opt for a brown paper box, tags or wrapping paper instead. It has a more rustic, natural feel and is more sustainable.

Do the Christmas wrapping paper ‘scrunch test’

An easy test to make sure your Christmas wrapping paper passes the recycling process is the ‘scrunch test.’ Simply – if it scrunches, it can be recycled.

It is also important to make sure you remove sticky tape, bows, ribbons, or Christmas stickers and labels. As if they remain attached they will be considered non recyclable and sent to a landfill. If they do get through – then they have the capability of breaking and clogging the machines.

Are Christmas cards recyclable?

Royal Mail delivers around 150 million cards during the pre-Christmas period. It is estimated that one billion Christmas cards end up in the bin after the holiday season.

A heartfelt Christmas card is a simple yet touching way to send love to your family and friends. But unfortunately, they can easily add to the January waste pile once the festive season ends.

The good news is that most Christmas cards are paper based and can be recycled, along with their envelopes. Just put them in your recycling bin.

However, some effort is needed to recycle the glitzy and sparkly ones with glitter or fancy embellishments such as ribbons or gems.

Remove them first by tearing off that section. Christmas musical cards with batteries should also be removed and disposed of at battery recycling points. UK’s leading supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury, and Asda have collection bins in-store for used household batteries. These bins are often located near the checkout or exit. Or simply drop them off at one of Cancer Research UK’s stores.

You can also check your nearby recycling points here.

Sustainable Christmas cards

Better yet, try making your cards at home or supporting local and sustainable handmade cards, and avoid buying any cards with glitter, sequins, or plastic decorations on them.

Look for the FSC or PEFC logo.

Another option to investigate is plantable Christmas cards. These cards have become popular in recent years, and the cool part is each card is embedded with wildflower seeds which you can plant in your garden and help support bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

It is also worth checking if the Christmas cards you buy are printed with vegan friendly ink. Most store bought cards are printed with standard inks which contain chemical components such as carbon and contain micro granules of plastic. Both of which pose serious environmental issues. Whereas vegan friendly inks are made from plants and vegetables, the same ones that are often used in food colouring.

By taking note of these simple tips and tricks, you will be doing your part in creating a more sustainable Christmas which in the long term benefits us all! Happy Gifting!


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