SIt’s something most of us won’t give a second thought while wrapping our presents during the festive period – but is there a more sinister consequence to using Sellotape, and should it be banned for the good of the environment?
The UK’s waste management service, BusinessWaste.co.uk, has delved into this sticky subject as Christmas – and with it, the enormous increase in purchases of sticky tape – approaches. It found that, alongside wrapping paper and plastic bows, sellotape was one of the most-purchased items during December, with 6 million rolls sold in the UK in the run-up to Christmas.
Of course, by the time the Queen’s Speech begins on Christmas day, eager families will have long since opened their presents, and it is the aftermath of this wrapping bonanza which BusinessWaste.co.uk is concerned with.
Sellotape, or sticky tape, is non-recyclable – generally made of a type of plastic called polypropylene, and one which many people may mistakenly believe can go in their recycling bin. Incidentally, many types of wrapping paper are also non-recyclable – meaning that Christmas day can create an enormous amount of waste headed directly for landfill.
Even the more eco-conscious amongst us who seek our recyclable paper may see their efforts thwarted, as paper with sticky tape on it causes problems further down the line at recycling centres – meaning that, with an average of 1.1 billion presents bought each Christmas, the implications for landfill sites are enormous.
Mark Hall, Communications Director at BusinessWaste.co.uk, commented:
“While it’s easy to get lost in the twinkling lights and excitement of Christmas, we have a very real responsibility to consider the impact millions of rolls of non-recyclable plastic have on the environment every year. With over a billion presents being given each year, consumers must act to reduce the unnecessary landfill totals each December.” We will use some 6+ million rolls of sellotape, more than enough to go to the moon and back.
It’s not all doom and gloom for December’s environmental impact, however. There are plenty of alternatives to this sticky problem – with the rise in eco-friendly entrepreneurs meaning there are now a number of biodegradable tapes on the market. Of course, you could also go back to the more traditional string or ribbon methods – string, particularly, has had a renaissance in recent years for its rustic look, and it’s cheaper than plastic tape.
Shoppers who are the ultimate in thrifty – and environmentally conscious – gifting, could consider giving gifts which don’t require any wrapping at all, such as concert tickets, charity donations or experience days.
“When it comes to this time of year, people are often caught up in the consumerism and the desire to buy (and wrap) huge numbers of gifts for their families – but we should remember that gifts that contribute to damaging the environment are hardly in the Christmas spirit! Turning to recyclable or biodegradable wrapping methods will leave you with the warm glow of knowing you’ve done something good for the environment, as well as from your favourite Christmas tipple.”
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