Christmas is a time for giving and as you’re wrapping presents, you might be wondering if the paper and packaging can be recycled. We’ve asked the experts to give us the rundown and some tips for the greener festive season.
Moreton Bay Region Mayor Peter Flannery says one of the first steps is to ask questions and check Moreton Bay Regional Council’s detailed guide to recycling and waste.
“Could you recycle more? Are you using the correct bin?” asks the Mayor, “can you compost food scraps at home? Are you refusing or reusing plastics, not throwing it out after one use?
“These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself each day in order to make a difference.”
Here’s how we can all help:
#1. Across the Moreton Bay Region, millions of festive cards will be received and millions of presents wrapped in reams upon reams of wrapping paper - most of it recyclable.
Tip: Avoid plastic or multiple material cards, including ones that play music. If in doubt, try the tear test. If it does not tear easily it is more than just paper or card and not recyclable, as some wrapping paper and gift cards are made of soft plastics and laminated foil.
#2. Packaging in and around presents will account for a huge percentage of ‘waste’ this Christmas, so start thinking of alternatives.
Tip: Tea-towels, pillowcases and scarves make excellent wrapping for gifts and can of course be reused. Avoid polystyrene, which breaks easily, disperses in the environment and cannot be recycled. Avoid balloons, streamers, plastic cutlery and individually wrapped lollies – they are one-use items which go into landfill.
#3. Check what can and cannot be recycled. Some people ‘wish-cycle’ and put items they want recycled into yellow-topped bins without checking if they can actually be recycled. In the past, these have included Christmas lights and decorations, toys, deflated blow-up Santas, pool accessories, cutlery, camping equipment and even tents!
Tip: Check first. Go to mbrc.qld.gov.au/bin-items for a comprehensive list.
#4. Mobile phones will be a treasured gift for many this Christmas. But remember, old phones are equally sought-after as 95 per cent of each unit can be recovered and used to make new products.
Tip: Recycle your mobile through programs such as the MobileMuster campaign. Ask a mobile phone store if it has a collection bin or check your new phone box for a MobileMuster pouch to mail your phone for recycling at no cost. If disposing in general waste, residents must remove the battery and delete all personal data.
Season to make a difference
“We all have the ability to make small changes to our daily routines that will have a huge impact on the environment we live in and the futures of our children,” Mayor Peter Flannery says.
“Many people already live sustainably, but we all need to work together as a community if we’re going to make significant change.”
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