Now that Christmas is a distant memory, we can start looking forward to the new year ahead. What better way to start than to dispose of your Christmas waste in style!
It's important to know that not all recycling paper can be recycled, especially those with glitter. This is one of main reasons to avoid non-recyclable wrapping paper, luckily if you have used recyclable, paper-based wrapping paper, you can add it to your recycling bin, composter, or wormery. If you compost it, just make sure to add some green materials (grass clippings, food waste, etc.) to balance it out.
Much like wrapping paper, Christmas cards are commonly produced using unrecyclable materials, although manufacturers are becoming much better at addressing this issue. Always check on the card whether or not it can be recycled before adding it to your recycling box or composter.
Some councils offer services for collecting Christmas lights, alternatively some charity shops will accept electrical goods, always contact them before as some stores have a strict set of policies regarding electrical items.
If all else fails you can always see if friends or family can make use of them.
Since 2019, 65% of wreathes produced in the UK are now made with sustainable materials. Unfortunately there are still plenty of decorations made from unrecyclable plastics, for these sort of items it's best to try and make use of them for as long as possible before disposing of them. Tinsel is notorious due to it's unrecyclable nature.
Of course, it's best to use sustainable Christmas decorations wherever possible.
Commonly produced using glass or plastic, baubles will have varying degrees of recyclability. Some councils will offer glass recycling, but again this will depend on what else has been mixed with the glass that the bauble has been produced with.
Most plastic baubles will be made from polystyrene, which isn't widely recycled, however there may still be options for them, so if you are unsure always check your local recycling website.
Your ability to recycle your Christmas tree will be entirely dependent on what type of tree you have. Most artificial trees are made from PVC, which is unrecyclable, so the only option is to keep making use of it as long as you can, or to donate it. If you have a tree with roots, you can plant it for next year. If you have a real tree without the roots you can break it down for composting, some councils will offer a tree collection service, so make use of this if you are unable to compost it at home.
Many people don't realise that there are different grades and types of plastic. When it comes to food packaging, these materials (as well as certain types of cardboard) are not always as widely recycled as you might think. Always check your councils recycling guide for clear instructions on which items can be recycled, and how to prepare them too! Some items won't get recycled if they are contaminated by food waste.
If you've bought way too much Christmas food, you can also recycle your food waste by using a composter or wormery. Not only does this stop waste going to landfill, it also provides usable compost for your garden! However, there are limits to what types of food you can add to your composter. For most composters, putting meat and dairy products in is not a good idea, as it is the perfect recipe to attract pests and vermin. Using a hot composter is one way to avoid this problem, their accelerated aerobic decomposition process allows these type of foods to break down quickly, before problems can arise.
We also have a guide to help you avoid Christmas food waste here.
Christmas can make us realise just how many items are and aren't recyclable. It's always great to try and improve our efforts to become more sustainable. If you want some ideas about how to make your next Christmas more sustainable, check out our guide here.