Recycling Tips for your Christmas waste
After Christmas, you almost always end up with waste bins overflowing, but not everything can be recycled...
Before you start separating your Christmas waste, we offer some recycling tips that will ensure you sort everything properly. Because there really is a right way to recycle Christmas waste and it is so easy to overlook certain items and end up throwing them in the wrong recycling bin.
Recycle Paper Waste
While you would think that everything paper would go into the paper recycling bin, there are cases where you should not put paper waste into this bin.
• Christmas cards and wrapping paper
In most cases Christmas cards and wrapping paper can be tossed into the paper bin, the exception being if Christmas cards - or envelopes for that matter - have any glitter or foil finish. In this instance, these items should not go into the paper recycling bin, as the glitter or foil finish cannot be recycled.
Wrapping paper with any type of foil finish should not be recycled. A simple test if you're unsure is to scrunch the paper into a ball; in most cases, paper that stays scrunched can be recycled. The same applies to ribbons and bows and these should not be placed in the paper bin. And don't forget to check out our article on things you don't have to throw away!
• Christmas packaging
Cling film, tin foil, plastic or cardboard packaging; treat this type of waste as you normally would. And the same applies to any plastic cutlery, plates or cups that you used over the festive season. But always check for a recycling symbol on the base, or make sure items don't have any glitter or foil embellishments before tossing them into the recycling bin.
Keep in mind as you sort that plastic film, clear plastic or black plastic items should not be recycled.
Polystyrene blocks or peanuts are unfortunately not destined for the recycling bin. These items take too long to degrade and must be included with general waste. At this time, polystyrene is one of the worst forms of packaging on the planet and it is hoped that manufacturers still using this material will change to a more eco-friendly alternative.
• Christmas ornaments and decorations
If you need to toss out broken or damaged ornaments and decorations, give some thought as to how these might be used again for next year. There are plenty of ideas in our Craft Section for upcycling old decorations and Christmas ornaments and by giving them a new life you are reducing your waste.
Where items are too damaged to keep, treat items according to their material, and scrub off any glitter finish before popping them into the recycling bin.
Broken Christmas lights or electronic goods should be taken to your nearest recycling depot since many of these items can be recycled. This also applies to batteries for electronic goods or decorations. It is important to carefully wrap and store Christmas lights - both indoor and outdoor - to extend their life and be used for longer.
If you prefer a live Christmas tree for your festive season, don't just dump this with the trash and hope for the best, since this is not considered general waste. You can either take this to a local recycling point or chop up and add to your compost heap. The greenest solution for a live Christmas tree is to keep this in a pot and place outdoors in the garden until the next time it is needed.
For those that have an artificial Christmas tree that is looking a bit sad, keep in mind that non-profit organisations would welcome this, so keep an eye out for local campaigns and ask if they accept Christmas trees. Alternatively, take your artificial tree to a recycling centre after removing any / all decorations, however, most artificial trees are manufactured using a variety of materials that are non-recyclable.
GOOD TO KNOW: If you are looking for ways to recycle an artificial Christmas tree, consider cutting down branches to make garlands and wreaths for the next festive season.