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Over the Christmas period the UK generates 30% more waste than usual. According to Wildlife and Countryside, around 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown into general waste rather than being recycled in the UK this Christmas.
Defra has recently estimated that the UK throws 80 square kilometres of wrapping paper in the bin at Christmas – that is enough to wrap up the entire Island of Guernsey.
While many wrapping paper brands brand their products as ‘paper’, many varieties are incredibly difficult to recycle, thanks to the additions of glitter, shimmering foils, and not to mention the endless layers of cello tape, strings and ribbons.
Thanks to a clever hack we like to call, ‘The Scrunch Test’, it is now so much easier to find out how to properly dispose of your paper.
Simply, scrunch the wrapping paper in your hand and squeeze it into a tight ball. Open your hand back up to see if the paper has stayed in that tight ball, or if it has bounced back open. If the paper has remained in its tight ball, then it can be recycled. However, if it bounces back to its original state, then it can’t be recycled.
So your wrapping paper has stayed in a tight ball, great! But before you pop it into your recycling bin, make sure you have removed the cello tape, bows, strings, ribbons and any other decorations. If you can, avoid using them all together!
Most Christmas cards are paper based and can be recycled, along with their envelopes in your kerbside recycling. However, batteries should be removed from any musical cards and disposed of separately. Similar to the wrapping paper, ensure you also remove any glitter, bows etc that may contaminate your recycling. Check if your local authority accepts batteries in your kerbside recycling (some do). If they don't, you can dispose of them at battery recycling points, such as your local supermarket.