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Clearing Up Christmas Recycling Confusion

22 • December • 2020

Clearing Up Christmas Recycling Confusion

Biffa is helping baffled Brits understand what they should put in their recycling bins this Christmas, with advice on what to do with common festive waste this season.

22 December 2020

From Glitter to Turkeys to Bubble Wrap: Biffa Clears Up Christmas Recycling Confusion

Biffa is helping baffled Brits understand what they should put in their recycling bins this Christmas, with advice on what to do with common festive waste this season.

Biffa research shows that although most of us want to be more environmentally friendly at Christmas,  one in three feels confused about what they should and should not recycle. With an extra 277,000  miles of wrapping paper and 74 million mince pies estimated to be thrown away after the festivities*,  Biffa wants to make recycling as easy as possible, so that waste is treated sustainably and converted  back into useful material.

Steve Oulds, National Commercial Manager for Biffa Material Recycling Facilities, said: “We know it  can often be tricky working out what should go into our recycling bins, especially at Christmas when  there is lots of extra waste – Biffa recycling centres receive about 40% more material than usual during the  first two weeks of January, including a lot of  things  that can’t actually be  recycled. Our simple  guide of what to do with typical festive waste will help people have a greener Christmas this year and  our number 1 tip is: always double check packaging to see if it can be recycled.”

Guide to Christmas recycling: 

1. CHRISTMAS CARDS: Simple Christmas cards are recyclable – but those with embellishments such as glitter and plastic are not, so need to go in the general waste.

2. WRAPPING PAPER: Not all wrapping paper is recyclable. If it has glitter or finishing effects like gloss it isn’t. A good test to tell if it is recyclable is to scrunch it in a ball – if it doesn’t stay  scrunched after opening your hand, it cannot be recycled.

3. POLYSTYRENE: While cardboard and paper packaging can usually be recycled, polystyrene,  which is often used to protects toys and presents, cannot.

4. BUBBLE WRAP: Unfortunately, because bubble wrap is made of complex plastic, it cannot go  in the recycling bin.

5. ELECTRICS: If you are replacing  tree lights  this year,  please do not put the old ones in the recycling – for electric goods to  be recycled,  they need to be sent to specialist electrical recycling centres.

6. CRACKERS: Crackers can be recycled if they are made from simple card – any decorations and contents should be removed before the rest is recycled.

7. FOOD WASTE: If you have a food waste bin, all unwanted food at Christmas such as turkey  carcasses, vegetables or stale mince pies can be put in these.

8. CHRISTMAS TREES: Christmas trees can be recycled – but not in your household recycling. Make sure you  find out  the  right place to send your  tree, or the date your council collects them where you live.

Cory Reynolds, Corporate Affairs Director at Biffa, added: “At Biffa we are committed to contributing  to a sustainable future built around a circular economy in the UK, with recycling being a vital part of  this. 

“We are significant investors in recycling infrastructure.  Earlier this year we opened a £27.5 plastic  recycling facility in County Durham capable of recycling over 1.3 billion bottles annually and our plans  don’t stop there – we expect to quadruple our recycling capacity by 2030.

“Whilst having the right infrastructure is key, it is vital that we promote awareness around how waste  can be disposed of responsibly and recycled wherever possible. Christmas is a time when there is a  significant amount of extra waste produced by homes and businesses, and we want to help address Christmas recycling confusion this year by supporting people to make the right decisions around their  waste and recycling.”

*Source: Research by TFL Panel for Biffa (1,000 UK consumers surveyed in December 2018)


For enquiries, please contact:

Houston / +44 (0)204 529 0549

About Biffa 

Biffa has been at the forefront of the UK’s waste industry for over a hundred years, with operations that span  the entire breadth of  the waste management process including collection, recycling,  treatment, disposal and  energy generation. We exist to change the way people think about waste; to help people see the opportunities  that exist when we manage our waste in the right way, and to make that happen. We understand the vital role  we must play in helping the UK to address the climate emergency and deliver sustainable growth. This involves  an ambitious investment programme in green economy infrastructure and low carbon collections, alongside an  ongoing commitment  to  sector leadership in  the health,  safety and wellbeing of our people. Biffa is a Great  British company. In FY20, the Group's total revenue was £1,102.8m and its Underlying EBITDA was £174.0m. We  have been listed on the London Stock Exchange since October 2016 under the ticker "BIFF". In March 2020, Biffa  entered the FTSE-250. 

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