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Festive Recycling Tips

Don’t waste your waste this holiday season.

Let’s be real… the holidays generate a lot of waste.

From cooking packaging to toy boxes, chocolate wrappers and paper, there is no shortage of rubbish to haul away once the bins get collected again.

Thankfully, the importance of recycling is becoming recognised more every day.

But, even with our hearts in the right place, we can all still get things wrong.

Many plants and depots often find items with no place in the recycling.

If your council follows a commingled recycling policy, this is especially bad as it means a whole batch has to be sent to a landfill site anyway!

We’ve compiled a handy guide to help you know what festive items are recyclable and which are destined for landfill.


General Tips

Before we get too into Christmas crackers and sweetie wrappers, there are some rules of thumb to follow:

  • Put lids back on jars and bottles
  • Make sure any packaging is empty before binning
  • Keep items separate
  • Ensure items are clean and dry
  • Flatten cardboard

Different councils across the UK will have different approaches and guidelines regarding recycling.

You can use Recycle Now to get information on your local policy and recycling facilities.


Food waste

Now, this is a big one. What goes on your plate is a big part of any festive celebration. But, so is what goes in your bin.

When binning food waste, make sure you follow the aforementioned best practices.

You can recycle:

  • Glass bottles and jars – but not drinking glasses or Pyrex, as these have different melting points and are recycled differently.
  • Drinks cans and food tins
  • Milk cartons
  • Biscuit trays and tins
  • Crisp tubes (Pringles)

You can’t recycle:

  • Black plastic – the black pigment cannot be picked up by the laser technology used in the sorting process.
  • Metal tubes (tomato puree)
  • Cooking oil tins
  • Sweet wrappers
  • Crisp packets

Wrapping paper

For getting rid of wrapping paper, you may have heard of the scrunch test. Our tip here is: try it!

By scrunching wrapping paper into a ball, you can tell whether or not it can be recycled.

How does this work? Simple: if the paper stays in a ball, it is recyclable. However, when the paper is filled with too much glitter, foil, or sticky tape, it is non-recyclable.

When this happens, the paper will bounce back if you try to scrunch it, and it must go into general waste.

For eco-friendly wrapping:

  • Try to avoid wrapping paper that is dyed, laminated, or has glitter on it.
  • Choose eco-friendly paper, like 100% recycled paper, fabric, scarves, newspapers, maps, or old magazines.
  • Because sticky tape is not recyclable, try a specialist recyclable Washi or masking tape. Or try using things like string or ribbon instead.

For wrapping ideas in this vein, check out furoshiki – the Japanese art of wrapping gifts in fabric.


Un-Recyclable items

As you may have gathered, you cannot organise materials by de-facto can and cannot be recycled.

Some items must not be recycled and need to be disposed of differently.

  • Nappies cannot be recycled and need to go into general waste
  • Not all plastics are recyclable. You cannot recycle plant pots, tubs, trays (think toothpaste), or rigid plastics like toys, Tupperware or CD/DVD cases

Some items can be recycled or disposed of economically, but not through your recycling collection.

  • Batteries thrown away alongside general waste/recycling can become punctured or crushed. This can cause them to explode and start fires. So, dispose of them safely by taking them to your local recycling plant or supermarket.
  • Fabrics and textiles cannot be placed in with other recycling and should be taken to a collection point, clothes bank, or charity shop to be gotten rid of.

Need more help?

We hope that these tips help you recycle responsibly this holiday season.

Should you run into trouble during this period, like a stain on your carpet or rug or even damage to your upholstery, contact your nearest ServiceMaster Clean business or book online for help from our experts.