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Green January: Pick Through All That Packaging

Posted: Wednesday 11th January 2017 by Community

Envelopes and Trees (c) Grundon Waste ManagementEnvelopes and Trees (c) Grundon Waste Management

Paper, film, ribbon, cardboard, foil everywhere. Sound familiar? Resolve to make the most of the unnecessary extras that come with Christmas by recycling into homemade wrapping and learn exactly where the rest of it can and can’t go. Among other eco-friendly effects, you’ll be reducing the pressure on our planet’s trees, in turn saving the lives of many precious species.

Top tips for recycling packaging

(Image courtesy of Grundon Waste Management)

1. Christmas Cards
Did you know every year we throw away 1 billion Christmas cards? They can all be recycled – either with your household waste or revitalised and crafted into something new. Put some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ in the bank for next year by crafting homemade Christmas cards and tags for next year. This can be as simple or as complex as you like – cutting out tag shapes of all different colours and patterns or crafting elaborate cards with cut-outs, quilling and calligraphy! Whatever you do, if you’re making use of this year’s cards instead of throwing them away, you’ll help save the planet and a few pennies next year. (Image by

2. Wrapping Paper
Once wrapping has been torn from its precious load, strewn across the carpet and bundled away until we have a minute to think about it, it’s easy to just ‘get rid’ without a second thought. But, with a little patience, you can give it a new lease of life – even the crumpled bits! Cut or tear strips of different wrapping paper leftovers then tie around a cardboard ring or wire coat hanger bent into a circle for a homemade wreath or table decoration. Using cardboard means the whole thing can eventually be recycled; using wire means it’s trickier to recycle but can be used again and again with fresh paper. (Image by

3. Household Recycling
If you’ve made all you can make, it makes a huge difference to decipher just which of your leftovers are recyclable and where they go. The Recycle for Gloucestershire website will enlighten you as to what your local services are and your nearest specialist centre.

Make a List of Alternatives for the Future

(Image courtesy of Grundon Waste Management).

While it’s great to recycle what we can, it would be even better if we could save it to begin with! Those 1 billion cards come with 1 billion envelopes that are trickier to reuse – this equates to around 300,000 trees per year. So considering alternatives to sending cards and wrapping could be high on your list for next year.

Top Alternatives to Traditional Wrapping

1. Postage stamps and store-bought cards can be expensive – donating the money you would normally spend on them to your favourite charity or joining a new one and making time to give friends and family a call or arranging to meet up is a great alternative. Most will really appreciate the effort and support your goodwill. You’ll save trees, help a charity and reconnect with loved ones, all at the same time!

2. Wrapping paper is usually recyclable, but the plastic film it comes in isn’t so great. So does that awkward bottle of wine/football/model train really need to be wrapped? A sprig of holly or a foraged pine cone on a piece of string looks incredibly chic – and can be put on the compost heap post-Christmas.

3. Another wrapping solution for your nearest and dearest is to use part of the present to dress. A scarf, fastened with ribbon or string, can make the perfect wrap and doubles up as part of the present – or can be reused for future wrapping.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog – moving on from Christmas, just how many uses does a plastic bottle have??

Let Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust help you keep your resolutions by becoming a member today - for a limited time only, you'll receive a free calendar when you sign up.

Tips courtesy of Grundon Waste Management.

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