Recycling your Christmas waste with ORCA

Posted on 14th December 2017

Christmas is just around the corner and it's important that after all the festive fun we remember to recycle and dispose of Christmas waste appropriately. A staggering amount of materials that can be recycled are missed due to being put in the incorrect bins or contaminated, some are even ending up in the ocean. An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic make its way into the ocean each year, the equivalent of a rubbish truck full every minute!

We hope that by giving you some easy, simple and stress-free tips that Christmas waste can be reduced year on year.

Simple things like remembering to take re-usable plastic carrier bags with you when you go Christmas shopping. This can make a huge difference all year round as an astounding amount end up in our oceans, causing pollution and harming wildlife. For example, a Cuvier's beaked whale died and was found to have 30 plastic bags in its stomach! AMA along with ORCA urge you to please dispose of any plastic bags responsibly. Some local authorities are beginning to collect carrier bags as part of household recycling schemes although, this is not wide spread so please check with your local councils first. Also, many large supermarkets often have collection points for used carrier bags and other plastic films near the main entrance.

To recycle your real Christmas trees please check with your local authority on their recycling dates. Local authorities often arrange drop-off points or special collections of real trees in early January. Christmas trees are often composted or chipped which are then used in local parks or woodland areas. Just remember that all decorations must be removed and to remove any stands or pots. Christmas tree lights can also be recycled at your local recycling centre with the electrical items. Some councils are even collecting small electrical items with the household collection (the item needs to be bagged and kept separate from the rest of your recycling) but check your local authority website for more information.

Most wrapping paper is also recyclable but be aware that shiny, glitter varieties are not. If you are unsure then try the 'scrunch test', if you scrunch the paper in your hand and it stays in a ball then it can be put in the recycling bin. Most cards can be recycled along with their envelopes but any embellishments like ribbons and glitter cannot be. Glitter is not recyclable as it is hard to contain and is too small. In the treatment process glitter often ends up in the finished product and is rejected by the final company. If you put glitter in the recycling bin whether it's on cards, wrapping paper or decorations it can contaminate a whole load of recyclable products. Therefore, place anything with glitter in your household bin. Other non-recyclables include tinsel and most baubles, therefore if they can't be re-used they need to be disposed of in the general waste bin. It is worth noting that unwanted decorations (in good condition) can be donated to charity shops.

We believe that it's the quality, not the quantity of presents that counts, rather than buying lots of small trinkets and gifts, it will be a lot more meaningful to friends and family if you give a thoughtful present you've spent time choosing. AMA have partnered with ORCA and ask that you dispose of your waste in the most environmentally friendly way possible, all year round.