The Christmas season is an exciting one, but it’s also one of excess and waste, especially when it comes to food and gifts. Much of this is sadly sent to landfill, releasing methane gas as it slowly decomposes, contributing to climate change. A lot of the wrapping paper we now use isn’t even recyclable, thanks to the pretty glitter, shiny texture or metallic detailing, and those that are recyclable often end up in landfill regardless. You can tell whether yours is by scrunching it up – if it springs back, it likely isn’t recyclable, probably due to a plastic coasting. If it stays firmly scrunched, it may be recyclable, but keep an eye out for glitter and metallic detailing, which clog up recycling plants, and thus aren’t able to be recycled.
According to the waste-collection service Biffa, in the UK we produce around 30% more waste over the festive season. In 2016, Brits threw away 227,000 miles worth of wrapping paper, more than enough to stretch to the moon! And when it comes to Christmas cards, if we placed all our Christmas cards alongside each other, they would stretch around the world 500 times. When thinking about the world as a whole, that is an almost unimaginably large amount of waste.
There are many ways to reduce waste at Christmas, but one major way is by paying more attention to the way we wrap our Christmas presents. Buying from small, sustainable brands is likely to also reduce the amount of packaging on a present before you wrap it, and is a good place to start. After choosing your sustainable gifts, check out these more eco-friendly wrapping ideas.