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Christmas is, for most of us around the world, a time for seeing family, eating good food and giving presents, but there is a catch. Christmas tends to leave us with a lot of waste materials. Wrapping paper, food, boxes, plastic packaging, and surprisingly quite a large amount of this is not recycled. Business in particular need to be doing more to ensure that their products are providing an effective solution for an eco-friendly Christmas, which can be worked in with all of your seasonal marketing to give an excellent result. For example; making packaging thinner, including less packaging, reducing the glossy effect on wrapping paper, reducing the use of hard plastics and so on can help to reduce the amount of waste that isn’t recycled. What a lot of people don’t know is that wrapping paper isn’t always recyclable, it requires more specific, high standard machinery to break it down and recycle it because of the glossy finish, and attempting to recycle it in an area unable to do so can result in a fine, and this fine isn’t exactly a small one – in some areas it can cost you £1000, just for your attempts to recycle your wrapping paper. So, before you try sticking the paper in the recycling bin you should check with your local council to ensure that they are able to process and recycle the wrapping paper, rather than you ending up with a problem. What do you do if you can’t recycle it? Well – personally I’m all for reusing, which is particularly easy to do if you have kids; after all they’re happy to do crafts with an bits of scrap paper or material you might have lying around; so giving them something pretty and shiny like wrapping paper will open a whole new range of creative possibilities for your children. Of course it isn’t great that more than half of our Christmas fails to be eco-friendly, and even if you are able to make up for the failings of the companies responsible there should be more done to ensure that our annual festivities aren’t creative a problem for our environment. Companies producing wrapping paper should be making moves to make them a more eco-friendly, biodegradable solution, as well as packaging companies doing more to produce environmentally friendly packaging and reduce the amount of packaging that their product do use. These efforts would help to reduce the amount of waste materials in our homes during the Christmas period, and drastically help to promote recycling during this period. There are of course things that you can do at home – keeping wrapping paper that is still usable and using it to decorate boxes, workbooks and so on, reusing it to wrap gifts or even shredding it to use as a protective padding for small or fragile presents during transit, and this makes for a more attractive solution than plain shredded paper, but is not as secure as bubble wrap. There are plenty of options for crafts using wrapping paper, with the range of colours, designs and materials offering a perfect and basic solution for decoration, with the material offering a generally more durable option than some of the alternatives. They make a great option for protecting workbooks, notebooks and sketchbooks as well as a selection of other things. Try creating some interesting crafts with your left-over wrapping paper this year and share with me what you’ve done – I would be very interested in seeing it!