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Spread Christmas Cheer Sustainably: 3 Ways to Recycle Your Festive Staples

As the first snowfall settles across the land, we welcome the festive cheer. Decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping gifts, and sending out greeting cards are some of the most cherished Christmas traditions that we can’t wait to indulge in.

After the festive holidays, however, we tend to dispose of our Christmas memorabilia, but that doesn’t have to be the case. 

Here, Gabriella Peace, Marketing Communications Manager of UK Greetings, a UK greeting card supplier, offers her take on how you can give your Christmas items a second life by recycling or reusing them. Afterall, if we all focus on doing our bit for the planet whilst sharing the festive love, we can make a difference this Christmas.

  1. Gift wrapping paper: reuse, recycle and repurpose

What’s a gift without wrapping paper? It adds sparkle to the festive season and builds up excitement for the gifts within. And the great news is, most wrapping paper is recyclable so, you can still enjoy beautifully designed Christmas paper and remain sustainable!

First and foremost, you can reuse your paper from last year’s gifts as long as it’s in good condition. You can also shred it into tiny pieces and use it as protective packaging around gifts. Alternatively, boost your cleaning inventory by repurposing your wrapping paper as a cleaning cloth for your windows and mirrors.

It’s important that your paper passes the recycling test if you’re taking it to the recycling depot. To find out if it’s suitable for recycling, make sure the paper stays in a ball shape when your scrunch it. Shiny metallic and glittery wrapping paper is usually not suitable for that. Also, make sure that all tape, ribbons, and other decorative elements are removed.

  1. Christmas cards: turn them into gift tags, decorations and more

Christmas cards are at the heart of the festive holidays. It’s expected that each person in the UK will send and receive 17 Christmas cards each year, with a whopping 150 million cards being delivered by the Royal mail during the Christmas period. Clearly, Christmas cards are the perfect way to show some goodwill during the holidays.

“We send heartfelt sentiments of love to family who are close or miles apart and friends new and old. Festive greeting cards are special, so it’s great to see people repurposing their cards. Many choose to keep them if they have sentimental value, or in more recent times, recycle them to make way for new ones to adorn your fireplace”, says Gabriella Peace, Marketing Communications Manager of the greeting card supplier, UK Greetings.

Recycling your Christmas cards is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy. Make gift tags for next year’s presents by cutting your old cards into triangles or rectangles. You can also make them into Christmas tree decorations, gift boxes, badges, or decorative matchboxes. Cut them into tall thin strips and you’ll have festive bookmarks. All of these make for heartfelt DIY Christmas gifts that both your loved ones and the planet will be grateful for.

  1. Christmas trees: make pine-scented potpourri or add to your compost heap

The Christmas tree – the centrepiece of the festivities – guards the coveted presents and brings about the Christmas spirit. Sadly, when January comes around, we’re prompted to let go of our Christmas decorations. But our Christmas tree doesn’t have to go to waste. 

Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can breathe life into your used Christmas tree, whether it’s a real or a fake one.

A typical real Christmas tree takes between 10 and 12 years to grow, so why not replant it in your garden and capture the jolly spirit forever? If you don’t have enough space in your garden, you can give it to a local organisation that replants trees in the woods or donate it to your local zoo.

Council-run tips often offer the opportunity to recycle Christmas trees into groundcover for public parks. The Recycle Now website has detailed information about what can be recycled, as well as your local council website.

If you’re in the mood for DIY, use the needles of the tree to make pine-scented potpourri, compost, and stuffing for cushions. 

Fake Christmas trees can be reused as many times as you want to. But if you want to give your Christmas celebration a fresh tree, you can donate your old one to a charity, a school, or a care home.

Christmas is the time to spread love and kindness not only to our loved ones but to the whole world. This year, why not include the environment on your Christmas list and gift it a little love by recycling your festive staples?

Sources:

https://www.phswastekit.co.uk/blog/posts/20-11-2018/how-much-waste-does-the-festive-season-create
https://www.countryliving.com/uk/homes-interiors/interiors/a29887345/can-recycle-wrapping-paper/
https://www.gwp.co.uk/guides/christmas-packaging-facts/
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/high-environmental-price-of-a-very-merry-christmas-429635.html
https://www.christmas.co.uk/how-many-years-does-it-take-to-grow-a-christmas-tree/
http://www.recyclenow.com/
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