As we enter the final furlong of our Christmas preparations and the number of satsumas and mince pies required is calculated, it seems that this year, more than ever, we are turning our attention to the cost of Christmas not just financially but environmentally and the impact the festive season is having.
YouGov have given estimates of there being approximately 3 million tonnes of waste created and disposed of as a result of our celebratory behaviour but without wanting to be Bah Hum Bug the good news is that we are recycling more than ever and while this is a positive we need to be mindful that the amount of wrapping paper thrown away at Christmas in the UK will stretch to the moon and enough tin foil to cover the county of Suffolk.
Recycling is being made easier but much more can be done to help ease our conscience and our burden on our natural resources.
Real Christmas trees are recyclable and most councils now have special collections in the month of January. The trees are shredded and used for composting in local parks or woodland. Please remember artificial trees need to be used for up to 9 years in order to have less impact than natural alternatives, depending on how they are disposed of.
Christmas cards and wrapping are largely paper based but with the use of tape this makes for product which cannot be recycled. When it comes to wrapping, give foil and glitter a wide berth. The ‘scrunch test’ will tell you if you can recycle. A simple test is to crumple a piece of wrapping paper in the hand and if it unfolds it becomes general waste but if the paper stays scrunched up in a ball it is safe to put in the recycling.
A staggering 300,000 tonnes of card is used in UK households during the festive season, but much of that can be recycled; cardboard should be flattened and put in the recycling bin (though not if it’s dirty or covered with food or paint).
The all important saying “it is far better to give than to receive” is no more prevalent than at Christmas where the pressure to please comes at the expense of delivering unwanted gifts which sit on a shelf, back of the wardrobe or straight into the bin.
Now is the time to be imaginative, there are so many other opportunities to show love and care without a tonne of packaging to prove the point. Be mindful that 300,000 tonnes of card is used in UK households at this time a point which will resonate with all those who have the task of clearing away the Yuletide debris.
Enjoy the holiday take comfort that we now recycle more waste than we send to landfill. Christmas is a time to be green and not blue.
Happy Christmas from Fifty One Apparel