Dream of a Green Christmas with these recycling tips

The presents are open - but what do you do with the boxes and wrapping paper?

It will be a familiar scene in living rooms across the land on Christmas morning – boxes, bubble wrap and shiny wrapping paper strewn across the floor.

Many of us are keen to get things right when it comes to disposing of the material which made the presents look so promising under the tree.

But it’s not always easy to remember what goes in which bin, so we asked recycling firm Viridor for their top tips to ensure a ‘green’ Christmas.

Steven Don, head of local authority contracts for Scotland at Viridor, said: “If everyone does their bit to identify items to be recycled, and ensures they are presented in good order, we can avoid additional strain on recycling and renewable energy operations across the country, safeguarding Scotland’s circular economy ambitions.”

Christmas cards and envelopes: Paper-based cards can be recycled in your home collection or can be taken to local recycling centres. But, extra decorations on cards such as bows and glitter cannot be recycled so simply tear off that part of the card and recycle the remainder.

Wrapping paper: The golden rule here is the ‘scrunch test’ – if you can scrunch the paper in your hand and it stays in a ball, it can be recycled (but remember to flatten it out again after performing the test!). If the paper springs out as soon as you release it, or it is the shiny metallic and glitter varieties of wrapping paper, then this can’t be recycled.

Cardboard: Most cardboard is recycled universally, but any with glitter cannot be recycled. Ensure cardboard is free of food, tape, polystyrene, dirt and paint and flatten any boxes. Try to keep it dry prior to collection.

Other food packaging and food waste: Cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles are widely recycled. Local authorities usually accept food waste in specified bins.

Christmas trees: Real trees can be recycled and turned into wood chippings, just ensure there are no decorations or pots/stands. Many councils arrange special pick up points where you can leave your tree. Most artificial trees cannot be recycled. Artificial decorations such as wreaths can’t be recycled and should be put into general waste. Natural wreaths can be composted so long as they don’t include ribbons or glitter.

Christmas decorations: It isn’t possible to recycle glass or plastic baubles, so wrap them in newspaper and put them into general waste. Same with tinsel.

Christmas tree lights: Electric fairy lights can be recycled at your local recycling centre. Some councils collect small electrical items.

Batteries: All types of batteries can be recycled including button batteries for watches, lithium-ion batteries from mobile phones, cameras, laptops, vapes and car batteries. Don’t add batteries to general waste as they are a fire risk.