• 52 Small Steps

Christmas Cards

This Week’s Small Step – Christmas Cards


I’m not going to sit here and say you should not send any Christmas cards but just ask that you are mindful of the impact of the ones you do send and receive. A YouGov survey commissioned by Royal Mail has shown 55% of people think sending Christmas cards is more important than ever amid the pandemic.


In the UK we create around 30% more waste than usual in the Christmas period and Christmas cards are obviously a big part of this. The figures range from 900 million to 1 billion Christmas cards being thrown away after Christmas with about 400,000 tonnes of both paper and card packaging that wasn’t collected for recycling from households in 2014 - even though they could have been.


Any cards with glitter, ribbons or shiny foil are not able to be recycled. You should firstly avoid buying any cards with these on and if you receive any tear off these bits to put in non-recyclable waste before putting in the recycle bin. To check what your council will accept you can use this link to check your local rules… https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling…


Be mindful of the paper used in the cards you buy. Choose cards that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certified. This ensures the paper used has been sustainably and ethically produced. Try not to buy cards in plastic packaging. Particularly individually wrapped cards.

How about making your own (or farming the job out to your children!)? You could buy recycled paper blank cards and can then ensure they are suitable for recycling. Have a look on my pinterest board here for some ideas.


Are there any areas you can reduce sending cards? My bug bear for a few years has been the cards sent in my children’s classes. If 25 children send each other cards it is 600 per class. Multiply this out by a school and it is 4,200 cards that often don’t even make it out of the school bags. This is a perfect year to approach your school as in a pandemic passing cards around is perhaps not the most hygienic. I have approached 2 schools this week who will be making the change to each child receiving 1 card as a keepsake from the whole class (this can be done in different ways).

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