9. Dec, 2021

Christmas Waste 2



We can all minimise our Christmas carbon footprint by not wasting food and by reducing and recycling other Christmas waste.

 Baubles   Glass and plastic  baubles are not usually recyclable so do not buy them even if they are reduced on  Christmas Eve. If you have Glass  baubles keep them to be used again next year. If broken they should  be wrapped up and placed in the  general waste.

Most  Plastic baubles are not recyclable (check the label), will have to go to landfill but they should last for years before disposal. If  plastic or glass baubles are in good condition, and you have to get rid of them   they are  best to donated  to a local charity shop.

  Cardboard  is compostable, with  corrugated boxes being a particularly excellent source of carbon rich “browns” they should be torn or cut into smallish pieces and scrunched up when added to the bin. If the cardboard is being sent to be recycled  flatten the boxes to save space and keep them dry if they get wet and go mouldy, they cannot be recycled. Plastic film and sticky tape should be removed from paper and card packaging before recycling.

 Christmas cards      Buy cards that  are Forest Stewardship Council certified. This ensures the paper used has been sustainably and ethically produced.  When Christmas is over cards should  be reused or recycled. Reusing There are many crafting activities using cards  for children interested in reducing waste e.g.  As gift tags. paper chains or cut  out the images to make cards for next year.

 Card recycling. As a composter the first choice should be composting, or a charity collection, or they  can be  put into recycling bins in the  local a supermarket or car park,  local household recycling centre. If the card looks as if it is metallic or contains plastic or laminated materials do a scrunch test. The initial test as to whether a card can be recycled is the scrunch test. If it does not stay scrunched the card cannot be composted or recycled.

 Do not buy cards with glitter as they have to  be sent to landfill as, most glitter cannot  be processed in recycling plants as it clogs up the equipment, but the backs of paper Christmas cards without a coating or glitter can be composted or added to the L.A. bag or box recycling collection

Christmas cards are also recycled by councils via the paper recycling bin.  However,  if, as mentioned above ,they have foil or glitter on them they should be sent to landfill.  The volume of waste wrapping can be reduced by giving presents in bags that can be reused next year and save on paper and waste. Paper cards can be cut up to make gift tags for next year.

 Christmas trees  rooted trees can be planted in the garden and reused. Others  can be composted but it is advisable to shred them first to increase the surface area exposed to the composting microbes and speed decomposition. If a shredder is not available   branches can be cut into small “thumb” size pieces, but these will be slow to compost, and it is easier donate the tree to the Local Authority to be shredded into chippings which are then used locally in parks. Local authorities often arrange drop-off points or special collections of 'real' trees in early January. Check your local authority website for more information. If the council does not offer a system for dealing with Christmas trees they can be cut into small pieces and put in the garden waste bin.

Pine needles can be composted or turned to leafmould, but they will be slow to decompose, and any significant quantities are bested treated separately form deciduous leaves.

Unfortunately, artificial trees, most of which are made from the dreaded plastic face only one possible destination when their final day arrives: landfill. If you have an artificial tree, the best thing to do is use it for as many seasons as possible or donate it to someone else who will. I think they need to be used for at least 5 years  to reduce their footprint to that of a real tree. My artificial tree is about 12 years old and will probably outlast me.

The photo shows the scrunch test for paper. That shown is compostable