So the big day is finally here, and by now you are most likely to be sat in a room filled with used wrapping paper and empty toy packaging, and you have relatives coming round in less than an hour! Aargh!
Tidying up after the wrapping paper explosion on Christmas morning, is as much a part of the festive season as mince pies and mulled wine. But in reality, there can be much more waste to contend with after Christmas than just wrapping paper. In todays blog we run through a quick list of suggestions as to the best way to recycle your festive waste.
1. WRAPPING PAPER
Contrary to popular belief, most wrapping paper is actually completely unsuitable for recycling and should therefore be placed in a black bag to be disposed of, and not a recycling box or bag. Gift paper is often coated with plastic or foil which makes it impossible to recycle. Sticky tape, ribbons, bows and greeting cards are sometimes still attached, and these can damage recycling machines. Traditional wrapping paper that does not have a metallic or plastic-coated finish, or flashy hologram effects, can be recycled. But sticky tape, bows, ribbon and cardboard cards must be removed first. Most of us, would think that wrapping paper can just be put out with our normal paper recycling, but this is very much not the case – with some councils being so concerned about this issue they have even warned residents that they could face up to £1000 in fines in they don’t carefully separate their gift paper prior to putting the refuse out for collection. So check twice that you have binned the right bits.
2. BOXES AND PACKAGING
As online shopping increases, so does the amount of boxes and packaging we need to dispose of. Most cardboard boxes are high-value recyclables, but the sheer volume of them means that the recycling boxes are often overflowing by Boxing Day. If you receive gifts by mail this year, break down the cardboard boxes to save space and make sure they end up in the recycling pile. The same applies to boxes for packaging toys and gifts. Remember though, cardboard is ok to recycle but plastic covers, ties or polystyrene packing pieces aren’t – so keep those bits separate. But you don’t need to remove every piece of tape – Boxes with tape are OK as it can generally be removed!
If you would rather just take all your packaging direct to the Tip than force it all into recycling bags, be sure to check out the festive opening hours of your local recycling centre and make sure you have flattened all your boxes prior to arrival.
3. USED BATTERIES
At this time of year, we can get through batteries like there is no tomorrow. Providing you were well prepared and remembered to get batteries to go with presents before the big day, within a week you could find you have more used batteries than you know what to do with it. Used batteries should not be put out with the usual rubbish. You will be able to find special containers for collecting them at supermarkets, high street shops, schools, libraries and other public places.
It is important that used batteries do not end up in landfill sites as they can leak dangerous chemicals over time. Keep this in mind when recycling your used batteries, and take them with you next time you are in town.
4. FOOD WASTE
Undoubtedly this is the biggest time of the year for pigging out and eating more than usual. Add to this the number of visitors that can descend on us over the festive period and this can mean we all go a bit mad with the food and drink that we buy and consume.
Of course, festive food waste is no different to any other time of year, there is just generally more of it. Be sure that you put all of your food waste in your food waste bin and put it out in good time for collection (you don’t want to miss is and have it hanging around for a whole other week!). Separate your food packaging into recyclable and non-recyclable, and ensure that all your jars and bottles are cleaned out and ready to be popped out with your glass waste.
Of course, the very best way to deal with left over food items is to be thrifty and refuse leftovers where you can – colds meats, bubble and squeak, or even freezing unused and uncooked food items if they are suitable is a great way to reduce waste and make the contents of your fridge go further.
5. HOUSEHOLD AND ELECTRICAL ITEMS
Thinking of treating yourselves to some new large items or electrical appliances in the sales this year? Well, don’t forget to think about how to dispose of your old ones.
Most electrical items can be taken to a special bin at your local recycling centre. Large pieces of furniture can usually be collected by your local council for a fee. Of course, many retailers will offer to take away your old fridge or sofa when they deliver the new one – this can be more convenient and ensure that your rubbish is properly disposed of.
However you manage to make more mess and rubbish this Christmas Day, we hope you have a great time doing it. Happy Christmas from everyone here at Maid In Essex