BRITAIN throws out around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper over the Christmas period, which is enough to stretch 90% of the way to the moon, according to government figures.
On top of that, the New Year sees over one billion greetings cards go into the bin, along with the boxes and wrappings from countless toys and gifts, much of which ends up in landfill.
One of Britain’s leading waste management companies is leading calls for the country to cut down on its Christmas waste and to turn the 2014 festive period into one of recycling and re-use.
With so much wrapping paper going straight into the bin, it’s time for families to think green at Christmas and do something to help knock down these shocking waste figures, the Business Waste company says.
“Christmas is the time of year when we forget ourselves and let all our bad habits run riot,” says Business Waste spokesman Mark Hall. “From over-eating and getting drunk in front of the Queen’s Speech, to wasting food and packaging, we’re all guilty in some way or another.”
One of the major problems with Christmas wrapping paper is that large amounts of it cannot be easily recycled due to high plastic, glitter and foil content. This being the case, Business Waste suggests that families think green when making their choice, and go for wrapping that is 100% paper and therefore easy to recycle.
Business Waste says people could consider:
- Recyclable wrapping paper
- Recycled wrapping paper – a greener product that will take off if there’s a public demand
- Reusable gift bags and boxes
“We hate to be the Scrooges of the season,” says Hall, “but there’s so much wrapping for sale that can’t be recycled back simply because while it looks great, it’s a dead-end product that can only be thrown away or burned.”
It’s hard for the consumer to know what exactly is in their wrapping paper and whether it’s recyclable, says Business Waste, which is calling for clearer labelling and a reduction in products that end up in landfill or so-called energy recovery.
The rise of energy recovery in the United Kingdom (the burning of waste to provide heat for power stations as opposed to sending it to landfill) means that vast amounts of Christmas waste will meet a fiery end, but Business Waste argues that this misses the point.
“Energy recovery is an impressive advance in cutting landfill, but it’s also a dead-end as far as recycling goes,” said Hall. “It should only be a last resort for waste, and it’s down to waste producers such as households and companies to make sure they always use recyclable goods as often as possible.”