As the holidays are coming closer, Christmas trees are being decorated, lights lit, cards written and presents bought, for young and old.

The traditional Christmas cards and wrapping paper are as much part of the festive season as turkey and mince pies, and both young and old enjoy the thrill of unwrapping presents on the big day!

How many of us give thought to the sheer volume of cards and paper that are used this time of the year? And who thinks of ways to actively recycle them after the big day has taken place?

According to the leading recycling campaign, Recycle Now, The UK is estimated to consume almost 300,000 tonnes of card packaging during the Christmas period. A staggering amount which, when laid out, would cover the return distance between London and Lapland 103 times, and large enough to wrap Big Ben approximately 260,000 times. Adding that Big Ben is currently covered in scaffolding, that may look quite good, but still requires a lot of card that, if it’s not properly dealt with, would need a big hole in the ground to bury. And that’s not sustainable, or certainly not a good prospect for our world!

However all card and paper are by and large easily recyclable and could be reused for packaging the chocolate eggs at Easter. Most councils in the UK accept paper and card for recycling – so we have no excuses!

Paper and card with glitter on the surface are more challenging to recycle than wrapping paper with large amounts of sticky tape attached to it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to remove all the tape you can and avoid glitter as much as possible.

The scrunch test

The “scrunch” test will serve as a guide to indicate which paper and card you can throw in your recycling bin. Shiny metallic wrapping paper is made from metallised plastic film and this type of material is currently not recycled. The scrunch test is a simple way to determine whether wrapping paper is made from metallised plastic or not.

How does it work? You can simply scrunch the item in your hand and if it remains “scrunched”, it can be recycled. If on the other hand, it springs back, then it’s probably metallized plastic film and thus generally not recyclable.

To conclude, enjoy the magic of the moment when unwrapping your presents and then do the right thing with the packaging to recycle and reuse it.

Could be a 10 minute job for Boxing day to cure any overindulgence from the day before !


Enjoy your holidays!

Steve Penney