We have had to change the way that some of our services operate to meet the guidelines set out by the government in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and to provide additional support for those affected.

Torbay is helping residents get paper and card recycling all wrapped up this Christmas!

Whether eating, gift-giving or celebrating with family and friends; you can guarantee that up and down the country lots of paper and card will be exchanged along the way this Christmas. Just think: buying a gift could involve online delivery card packaging, wrapping paper, the Christmas card and tag you sent with it and the cardboard packaging containing the gift itself. That’s just one gift for one person! Plus when we consider that 20% of the whole year’s sales are made at Christmas that’s an overwhelming amount of paper and card potentially going in the bin.

You should know:

  • Last Christmas in the UK, we consumed close to 300,000 tonnes of card packaging
  • 300,000 tonnes of card is enough to cover Big Ben nearly 260,000 times!
  • To get a better idea, it takes 24 trees to make just 1 ton of newspaper, which means last year, the UK alone consumed 7,200,000 trees worth of card packaging at Christmas time.
  • We could make a cardboard motorway stretching from London to Lapland over 100 times with the card we use at Christmas.
  • Producing recycled paper uses up to 50% fewer chemicals than virgin paper.
  • Paper Fibres can be recycled up to seven times!
  • It takes just seven days for a recycled newspaper to come back as a brand new, recycled newspaper!

What you can and should recycle:

  • Christmas cards (Without glitter)
  • Cardboard packaging (Eg - from the post)
  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Food and drink cartons
  • Takeaway pizza boxes (Only if the cardboard is clean)
  • Glossy magazines and Newspapers
  • Cardboard toothpaste boxes

What you can't and shouldn't recycle:

  • Anything with glitter on it
  • Wrapping paper and gift bags
  • Tissues
  • Kitchen roll
  • Wet wipes
  • Cotton wool
  • Soiled or greasy card
  • Anything that isn't card or paper

Wrapping paper

The materials that go into making some wrapping paper means that is can't be accepted for recycling:

  • Wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated and/or contains non-paper additives such as gold and silver coloured shapes, glitter, plastics etc which cannot be recycled
  • Some wrapping paper is very thin and contains few good quality fibres for recycling
  • A lot of wrapping paper has sticky tape attached to it which makes it very difficult to recycle.

Alternatives to wrapping paper

There are loads of alternatives to using wrapping paper, from using fabrics, to wrag wraps, brown paper, reusing newspaper, or making your own gift box.

For these and other great suggestions, have a look at the Recycle Devon website.

You can check what materials can be recycled on our recycling boxes page.

Why you should recycle

The amount of rubbish we throw away is increasing due to things like lifestyle changes and an increasing population.

We need to increase the amount of rubbish that is recycled because we cannot continue to landfill or burn it forever. This is recognised by Government who are thinking of ways we can reduce the amount of rubbish that we produce and increase the amount of rubbish we re-use and recycle.

The UK alone recycled one million tonnes of paper and card packaging last year. That is the equivalent of 24 million trees, but it's still not enough. That's why you need to do your bit for both the environment and the people that live in that environment to recycle as much and often as you can!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!