Once Christmas is over and the excitement has died down, there’s no denying you’re left with a lot of clutter to clean up and tidy away. There’s wrapping paper overflowing from every bin in the house, Christmas decorations that need taking down, copious amounts of food packaging and drinks bottles from parties, you can sometimes feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin.
Well why not get greener for 2014 and recycle as much Christmas waste as possible? This way you still benefit from a clearer, cleaner house and help the environment at the same time!
We’ve come up with our top 10 Christmas recycling tips that tell you exactly what can be recycled, what you need to do and how it will be recycled – and you’d be surprised by how much of it can actually be recycled.
1) Real Christmas Trees
Remove all the decorations from your tree and take it out from the pot or the stand that it is currently standing in, now it’s ready to take to a collection point. These tend to be in communal areas such as leisure or community centres -you can find out exactly where by contacting your local council. The tree is then recycled by shredding it into small chippings to be used in parks and country/woodland areas.
2) Christmas Wrapping Paper
Check the type of paper and whether it is eligible to be recycled first. Once you’ve established this, remove any sticky tapes, bows and ribbons from the paper. You can either take it to your local recycling bank, or check whether your local authority does a kerbside collection as an alternative.
3) Food Packaging
Any plastic food packaging such as plastic pots, trays, tubs or bottles need to be washed out and squashed into a compact, flat shapes ready for the weekly collection by the bin men.
4) Fairy Lights
If you have fairy lights that you don’t want to re-use next year then some centres do accept small electrical items to be recycled. If the lights have a plug, use batteries, need charging or have a picture of a crossed out wheelie bin (see image to the right), then they can all be recycled.
5) Toy Packaging
An impressive 72% of toy packaging is able to be recycled and collected by your kerbside collections. Plastic bags, cardboard boxes and plastic films (if separated from the box) can all be recycled. Wire ties that keep toys secure in packaging are NOT recyclable so remember to remove these from the boxes.
Also remember to take out any instruction leaflets or safety information from the packaging in case you need them for future reference.
6) Glass Jars and Bottles
You may have collected a stash of glass jars from cranberry sauce, mincemeat etc. as well as glass bottles, maybe alcohol from Christmas parties, and they’re all recyclable! Wash them out to get rid of the remains and remove the lids and tops. If you use a bottle bank, make sure you put them in the right bank depending whether it is clear, green or brown glass.
7) Biscuit, Chocolate & Sweet Tins
With 70% of all steel packaging being recycled, once the contents has been emptied (or eaten!) it can be recycled, so once you’ve had all the delicious treats, leave it out to be collected by your bin men or take it down to your local recycling centre.
8) Christmas Cards
Marks and Spencer have set up a Christmas card recycling scheme. Simply drop your unwanted cards off in one of the boxes at your local stall and for every 1000 cards that are recycled, Marks and Spencer will plant a tree in the UK! This scheme is running between 2nd and 31st January so you have plenty of time to sort through your cards and get recycling!
9) Chocolate Coins & Foil
Foil is commonly used for chocolate wrapping at Christmas, such as chocolate coins and advent calendars to name but a few, and it can all be recycled too! Just make sure the foil is clean and detach it from any other material such a card board.
Plastic baubles are not widely recycled in the UK yet (if they’re covered in glitter this can make the process harder). But if you have unwanted baubles then donate them to charity or pass them on to friends and family.
Wreaths that contain natural materials such as ivy, tree clippings and holly can all be recycled as compost. Just detach it from the base and remove any ribbons or other decorations to be reused again.
Paper chains cannot be recycled as such because most of them are dyed bright colours, but they can be home composted. Just pop them into your compost bin when you’re taking down your decorations and if you don’t have a compost bin, get in touch with your local council.
If you live in Croydon, Sutton or the South East London area then get in touch with your local recycling centre, Hinton’s Waste today to find out more about our professional recycling services. We also offer skip hire and other waste management services.