Recycling Christmas Rubbish

26th December 2013 by Alessandro Maccioni

With Christmas nearly upon us you may be looking at the tree, the Christmas decorations and all the wrapping paper covered presents that are filling your front room and be dreading the prolonged clean-up process. This post should help to put your mind at ease with some helpful advice and tips on how to minimize waste and encourage you, in the spirit of giving, to recycle.

Christmas decorations are getting fancier and more extravagant every year but we recommend that you avoid buying any Christmas decorations that will go just end up going straight to landfill. I’m afraid to say that this means that you should not buy glass baubles! Bear in mind that tinsel is also non-recyclable. We would recommend you buy sustainable decorations or those that can be recycled after use such as cardboard and paper tree decorations. You could even make your own.

Although it’s almost guaranteed that every edible decoration will have been eaten by the kids, the pets or even Santa himself, those remaining need not end up in landfill. Instead of throwing away half eaten treats we advise you to put them in any food bin provided by your local council.

Picture taken by Randy Robertson and titled 'Wee Westie Christmas 2007':

Most of what you see here can be recycled.

Christmas wrapping paper can come in many forms and the truly ecologically minded will reuse old wrapping paper. Obviously this meant they had planned to reuse it the year before when they managed to restrain their excitement and carefully unwrap all their presents. Alternatively, you don’t even have to wrap your gifts. You could present them in other interesting ways instead. You could place them in a gift bag, you could cover them in some funky second hand fabric or even place them in a beautiful box.

If you have bought a fully-fledged real Christmas tree – just like the magnificent public ones in places like Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth and Westminster – and if you do not wish to wait until the local council collects it then you should get a private rubbish contractor to remove it appropriately for you.  They should make sure that the tree is ultimately recycled via shredding. However, if you have bought a plastic tree because you didn’t like the idea of hovering up pine needles and getting pricked every time you had to replace a broken light bulb, then you will only have made a sensible decision from a sustainable point of view if you reuse that plastic tree again and again. If you want a change from it then ideally you should make sure that you donate it to someone else so that they can enjoy it.

By the time you’ve managed to unravel the lights from the tree and detangled them from all four of your limbs you may have grown to have an irrational hatred of them. After all this frustration you may just decide to throw them out but be warned that these electrical items may be hazardous if not recycled properly. Get in touch with someone licensed to deal with WEEE waste and they will dispose of your Christmas lights appropriately.

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