Post-Christmas recycling campaigns kick off

As millions of people head back to work and take down the Christmas decorations this week, many organisations are urging people to remember to tackle the environmental legacy of the festive period.

The Environment Agency and Oxfam are among those provoking the public conscience in a bid to reduce thousands of extra tonnes of waste ending up in landfill in January.

The environmental watchdog and charity are encouraging people to donate unwanted items to charity this month.

Barney Tallack, deputy director of trading at Oxfam, said: “Every January, people around the UK clear out their homes and Oxfam can make good use of many of these unwanted items to make money to tackle poverty.”

The Environment Agency said that the recent downturn in the market for recyclables means that this is even more important time to reuse goods, even though the market is now stabilising.

Head of waste Liz Parkes said: “People can be confident in using the recycling service provided by their local authority, but at the same time they need to ensure quality items are reused, producing an even better outcome for the environment.”

Unwanted Christmas presents can also find a loving new home thanks to the website, which has been doing brisk business since it allowed people to start trading their presents on Christmas morning.

Luke Taylor, head of parent company PlayTrade, said: “We never expected the site to be so popular – it was set up more as a gimmick.”

The Woodland Trust is again running its scheme which collects used Christmas cards for recycling at branches of WHSmith, Tesco, TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer throughout January (see related story).

Recycling the cards generates money which the charity uses to plant new trees. It said that if everyone in the UK recycles just one card through the scheme, it could plant 15,000 trees.

Sue Holden, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: “I would like to ask as many people as possible to recycle their Christmas cards with the Woodland Trust, as the more woodland you help us plant, the more vital habitats we can create where endangered species can thrive.”

Kate Martin

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