A plastic free Christmas is quite a big ask, here are a few things to consider to try to make this dream come true.
When making your wrapping paper purchase consider the environment. Wrapping paper that contains foil or glitter decorated paper cannot be recycled! Glitter is manufactured from tiny pieces of plastic. Check the tubes for recycling information before you buy.
Alternative options could be to use pages from your previous copy of THAT LEEDS MAG (other magazines are available) as wrapping paper as this is fully recyclable.
Soft plastics from standard sticky tape can contaminate the recycling process. Zero plastic, plant based alternative sticky tape options are now available from stores, they are slightly more expensive than the plastic versions, but a roll will last ages. The tape is anti-tangle and easy to tear so there is no need to use scissors, or your teeth. Plus, you won’t have to make sure all the tape is off the paper before putting it into the recycling bin. If you are unsure you can check it by trying to tear the tape, if it will not tear then it is plastic and cannot be recycled.
Even better – consider saving your wrapping paper so that you can reuse it next year.
Unfortunately, we cannot help the type of wrapping paper that the gifts given to us come in, regardless of the quality of the wrapping paper (and the gift) it’s important to be grateful.
Consider that the giver maybe using up old wrapping paper or even re-using, it’s probably not the best time to bring up the ingredients of glitter.
If you are unsure when it comes to binning the paper (hopefully not the gift) then the SCRUNCH TEST is brilliant.
Does your wrapping paper pass the SCRUNCH TEST?
The scrunch test is a simple way to determine whether wrapping paper can be recycled. Simply scrunch the item in your hand – if it remains ‘scrunched’ it can be recycled; if it springs back it is probably metallised plastic film and not recyclable.
This could even become a great activity for children to get involved and appreciate what wrapping papers are made of.
You will also need to remove ribbons and bows before adding the paper to the recycling bin. These could be stored and reused next year.
Chances are, despite your best efforts, you still had to revert to the internet to finish off your Christmas shopping. Consider reusing the cardboard boxes, or flatten them, remove any plastic sticky tape and pop them into the recycling bin.
I’ve been sent a lovely photo example, from Uma Kathirgamanathan (@ASenseOfUma), of a reusable gift box, this works every year, with no waste at all!
As you have the boxes and ribbons etc., Boxing Day really could become a day for making gorgeous and unique gift boxes for next years gifts.
If you are buying crackers this year, there are now lots of eco-conscious options, some have no plastic on show but still contain the usual plastic tat. Check the boxes carefully and find out what’s inside (it’s only you that has to know). When you are done cracking remove the ribbons before binning, you can reuse them later.
If your recycling bin is full – Leeds City Council will collect any extra recycling if you leave it in a clear or green plastic bag at the side of your bin on your collection day.
Please do not use black or white sacks, as they will not pick these up.
“Why not make your own paper crackers to avoid the awful plastic tat that just ends up in the bin from cheap crackers.
You could even personalise them so that family and friends actually get something useful.”
Kirsty Tucker – Plastic Free North West Leeds
Follow Plastic Free North West Leeds on socials for more inspiration on a plastic free Christmas and all year round.