Most of us like to send greetings to friends and loved ones in the run up to Christmas, but do we really consider the environmental impact of sending cards? According to research from Green People, approximately 1 billion cards are thrown away after Christmas each year and those that end up in landfill can take as long as 30 years to decompose.
So what can we do to help turn this around? RECYCLE is the obvious answer. However, shiny, metallic cards (and wrapping paper) or those with glitter cannot be recycled. Furthermore, glitter can contaminate otherwise recyclable paper and card, meaning it could all end up in landfill or being burned.
What else can you do?
- Buy recycled cards if you can. We acknowledge that these can be expensive, so…
- …How about getting creative and making your own? This can be great fun, especially with children. You can use: pictures cut out from magazines; stencils; wooden or card embellishments; spices such as star anise; twigs; raffia; old ribbons or cloth. With a little imagination, the possibilities are endless. Handmade cards also add a more personal touch to greetings.
- There’s always the option of sending e-cards. While this is less traditional and personal, it is much more environmentally friendly (and cheaper!)
- At the very least, don’t buy cards with glitter or metallic elements which cannot be recycled.
After Christmas, recycle or re-use but don’t throw cards away!
Cards (and wrapping paper) without glitter or shiny bits can be recycled locally. You could introduce a mini recycling scheme at your workplace to encourage colleagues to recycle as well.
Cards which cannot be recycled could be cut up to make gift tags, decorations or to stick on handmade cards for next year.
What do you do with your Christmas cards?