Tis the season to be aware of recycling

9th December 2015
  • A staggering 300,000 tonnes of card is used in UK households during the festive season 
  • Card packaging used at Christmas could cover Big Ben almost 260,000 times
  • Recycling charity is urging people to recycle as much card and paper as they can this Christmas

The UK is estimated to use almost 300,000 tonnes of card packaging at Christmas, according to leading recycling campaign Recycle Now – a staggering amount which, when laid out, would cover the return distance between London and Lapland  103 times – and would wrap Big Ben almost 260,000 times. 

Card packaging plays a really important role in preventing damage to our products and as Christmas is the busiest sales period of the year, a lot more of it is used. So much in fact that it could cover the London Eye almost 50,000 times, wrap the Angel of the North a shocking two million times, or cover the Eden Project biomes in Cornwall over 11,000 times.

The Christmas campaign is urging people to recycle this card rather than put it in the bin and play their part in creating a greener Christmas.

Wrapping paper plays such a huge role in creating the excitement on Christmas morning. This year Recycle Now is asking us to help extend its usefulness by recycling it, so it can be turned back into packaging which can be used throughout the year.  All paper, including wrapping paper, is recyclable. The only types of wrapping paper that can’t go in the recycling bin are the shiny metallic and glitter varieties.  If in doubt, test it out with the ‘scrunch test’ - if you literally scrunch the paper in your hand and it stays in a ball, it can be put into the recycling. 

To demonstrate the sheer scale of card and paper levels that are being used during the Christmas period, Recycle Now has created a series of compelling images showing famed UK landmarks wrapped in both cardboard and festive wrapping paper.

Alice Harlock, recycling expert at Recycle Now, said: “Card and wrapping paper are Christmas icons just like the UK landmarks images we have ‘wrapped’ to highlight the scale of recycling people can do in the UK this Christmas. Recycling them can be your gift to the environment.

“All councils in the UK accept paper and 98% accept card. If in doubt as to whether your wrapping paper can be recycled, we encourage people to do the ‘scrunch test’, just to be sure.”

Here are six festive recycling tips from Recycle Now:

1. Save space at home by dropping items at your local recycling centre – you can find your nearest stop on Recycle Now’s Recycling Locator at www.recyclenow.com

2. Flatten cardboard boxes before recycling to save room in the recycling container

3. Remove ribbons, bows and other adornments before recycling wrapping paper

4. Make sure all food is out of card and paper packaging before recycling

5. Keep card or paper packaging with glitter out of the recycling container

6. Remember the scrunch test!

Recycle Now aims to help make recycling as simple as possible for people by providing information, tips and advice at www.recyclenow.com. 


The Scrunch Test:

Shiny metallic wrapping paper is made from metallised plastic film and this type of material is not currently recycled. The scrunch test is a simple way to determine whether wrapping paper is made from metallised plastic film. 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.

At Christmas we use an estimated 289,171 tonnes of card packaging, this is enough to:
cover Big Ben nearly 260,000 times (supporting image available)
cover The Gherkin over 230,000 times
wrap the The London Eye nearly 50,000 times (supporting image available)
make a cardboard motorway stretching from London to Lapland and back 103 times with all the card packaging we use at Christmas
make a cardboard motorway stretching from Leeds to Lapland and back 111 times with all the card packaging we use at Christmas.
make a cardboard motorway stretching from Birmingham to Lapland and back 110 times with all the card packaging we use at Christmas
cover The Eden Project biomes over 2,000 times (supporting image available)
cover the Clifton Suspension Bridge nearly 650,000 times (supporting image available)
cover the Millennium Stadium pitch nearly 140,000 times
cover the pitch at Old Trafford over 180,000 times
Gateshead / Newcastle
cover the Angel of the North over 2 million times (supporting image available)
cover the Giants Causeway over 1,800 times (supporting image available)
If we recycled all the card packaging used at Christmas it would save enough energy to light 340 Blackpool Illuminations
About WRAP:
WRAP’s vision is a world where resources are used sustainably. We work with businesses, individuals and communities to help them reap the benefits of reducing waste, developing sustainable products and using resources in an efficient way.
Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Recycle Now is a campaign to encourage people in England to recycle more things more often. Six out of ten of us now describe ourselves as committed recyclers, compared to less than half of us when the campaign began in 2004. 
More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk and for more information on the Recycle Now campaign visit www.recyclenow.com

Stephanie Campbell

Consumer Campaigns PR & Project Manager – Recycling
01295 817859