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Post-Christmas clear out – recycle, re-gift and reuse

Wrapping paper

We spend many months preparing for Christmas, but what do we do with all the packaging when the big day has been and gone? I’m lucky with my local recycling facilities, but what do you do with your festive fodder?

At Christmas we apparently use enough wrapping paper to wrap the circumference of the equator nine times. That’s an incredible amount of paper!

I spent Christmas Day with my boyfriend’s family who were very conscientious with their wrapping. His mum had been very efficient and gave us some recyclable bags with goodies inside. She didn’t individually wrap each item, but we still had the fun of discovering treats in our individual packages.

His aunty used canvas bags to house some of her gifts, which meant no extra wrapping to dispose of and packaging ready for Christmas next year.

Fit to burst – belts and bins

Everyone’s bins get full up at this time of year, but how many of us reuse materials form one year to the next? I was impressed to see the Recycle Now website find ways to recycle envelopes by using them as gift wrapping, and even embracing the Japanese technique of Furoshiki – wrapping up gifts in pieces of cloth that can be used again and again.

But it’s not just paper that mounts up. In small dwellings – as is the case in my little flat – every little bit of space is accounted for. So when we are lucky enough to receive a few goodies at Christmas, I try and do a clear out to make room for it all.

I take a load of clothes to the charity shop (and if you shop at M&S you might want to take advantage of the company’s Shwopping scheme), send off any electrical goods (like old mobiles) for recycling and see what other household items can be given a second innings. It also helps me feel ready and prepared for the New Year ahead.

Recycling Christmas cards

You might want to enjoy your Christmas cards a few days longer but, for those ready to recycle, it’s worth seeing what your local supermarket can do with them. M&S has a scheme to help the Woodland Trust plant more trees and Sainsbury’s uses the cards to support the Forestry Stewardship Council.

And if Santa’s sent you something that isn’t quite right, remember there’s always the chance to re-gift it next year!

Do you have any recycling Christmas tips you can share with us? Or did you cut back on waste this year to avoid the post-Christmas clear out?


M&S Shwopping scheme items end up at an OXFAM shop but if you take them direct to an OXFAM shop you get a £5 M&S voucher ( with restrictions) if there is any M&S items in the donation.

My New Year’s resolution will be to have a good clear out and to recycle everything possible.

Reuse is the ultimate way of recycling
Sell it – Ebay, supermarket advert
Give it direct to a charity shop
Freecycle, Freegle or whatever your local group is called.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. The first of those is reduce. There are some great ideas to reduce spending on gifts. For example:
* decide the priority is gifts for children – most adults can make do with something small
* have a secret santa scheme
* defer buying of expensive presents till after Christmas – give something cheap on Christmas just to mark the day

catwomanliz says:
17 January 2013

I have for a number of years re-used Xmas paper and used old Xmas cards cut as gift tags. Use gift bags too as they are easy to use a few years. I will try and Ebay some goods that I no longer use, or have space for.